10 October 2016
Energy Saving Tips
It’s that time of year when temperatures start dropping and the mornings feel much fresher, that we reach for the central heating dial and start using more hot water than we might have done just a few weeks ago. And it will only increase as Christmas creeps closer. So before getting back into old habits, Principality Building Society’s Head of Product Management and Pricing, Naveed Mohamed, shares his top tips for energy saving around the home, busting myths and offering useful tips for living efficiently this autumn and winter.
- Radiators or electric heaters?
When it comes to deciding between using radiators or electric heaters, the answer is simple: electric heaters are one of the most expensive forms of heating. In general, an efficient gas central heating system is the cheapest to run, controlled through a thermostat and timer, meaning you can carefully pick and choose the most effective time for your heating to run.
- I’m going away for the weekend, do I leave the heating on?
With the temperature likely to drop over the next few months, setting your heating to come on for a short time every day even when you’re not in the house should help to avoid any risk of pipes freezing and bursting. This could save you hundreds of pounds in the long run, so it’s well worth getting into the habit if you’re often away during the winter period.
- I’ve left my heating on low all day because I’ve heard this is more efficient. Is this true?
This is a classic myth that catches many people out. As a general rule, leaving your heating on at a low temperature all day will not save you money in the long run, and also mean you’re wasting heat when you’re not even in the house. It’s recommended to set a thermostat which turns your heat on and off when needed and at the right temperature for you. A good tip is setting your heating to come on 30 minutes before you arrive home so your house is well on the way to being cosy and warm as you walk through the door.
- Will I save money turning the hot water boiler on only when I need it?
Well, it depends what water system you have. For gas or oil central heating systems, the answer is yes. Time your hot water to come on when you need it during the day – usually in the morning and evening time. But if you have an electrical immersion heater, it’s actually cheaper to heat water during night, which will stay in a hot water tank, ready for use during the day. But remember, the water tank needs to be well insulated to prevent it cooling during the day and becoming inefficient.
- My house is cold, should I turn the thermostat up high to heat it quicker?
The answer here is no. Your thermostat is there to turn the heating system on and off at a set time, so it doesn’t actually affect the rate your house heats up. If you’re struggling to heat your house quickly, try installing better insulation which will decrease the rate heat leaves your home. Be aware, this won’t be a cheap measure but could be a great investment in the long run.
- Should I get a combi-boiler? I have heard they are cheaper to run.
This really depends on your lifestyle and how much hot water you use. A standard boiler heats water and stores it in a hot water tank for when you need it, whereas a combi-boiler heats water automatically when you need it. Essentially, small households that don’t use much water should consider a combi-heater which doesn’t have water sat in tank potentially not being used and losing heat. Large households however could be better off with a standard boiler with a well-insulated tank.
- Do I need thermostats for each radiator in my house?
Not necessarily every radiator, but as many as controls as possible will allow you to be fully in charge of how your home is heated. Use a thermostat to control the heat in your main living space at the very least. But consider installing thermostatic radiator valves for rooms you spend less time in. The Energy Saving Trust suggests using both in tandem could save you between £20-50 every year.