4 October 2018

7 money-saving tactics for winter weather

Temperatures are starting to drop, the mornings are feeling much fresher, and we are reaching for the central heating dial. Yep, winter is on its way.
But before sliding back into those old habits, we have the answers to some cold-weather conundrums that will ensure you keep warm throughout the colder months whilst living efficiently.

1. Radiators or electric heaters?

When it comes to deciding between radiators or electric heaters, the answer is pretty simple: electric heaters can be pricey business and 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 pick and choose the most effective time for your heating to run. 

2. I’m going away for the weekend, do I leave the heating on?

With the temperature likely to keep dropping over the next few months, it is a good idea to set your heating to come on for a short time every day even when you’re not in the house. This should help to avoid any risk of pipes freezing and bursting. 

You could save 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. 

3. I’ve left my heating on low all day because I’ve heard this is more efficient. Is this true?

As a general rule, leaving your heating on at a low temperature all day will not save you money in the long run, and it will also mean you’re wasting heat when you’re not even in the house. 

It’s recommended that you set a thermostat, which turns your heating on and off when needed and at the right temperature for you. 

A good tip is to set your heating to come on 30 minutes before you arrive home, so that your house is well on its way to being cosy and warm as you walk through the door. 

4. Will I save money turning the hot water boiler on only when I need it?

This depends what water system you have. For gas or oil central heating systems, then the answer is yes. You can time your hot water to come on when you need it during the day, which is usually in the morning and evening time. 

If you have an electrical immersion heater, it’s actually cheaper to heat water during the night, which will stay in a hot water tank ready to be used during the day. But remember, the water tank needs to be well insulated to prevent it cooling during the day and becoming inefficient.

5. 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, it may be worth looking at 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.

6. 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 unused water sat in tank and losing heat. Large households, however, could be better off with a standard boiler with a well-insulated tank.

7. Do I need thermostats for each radiator in my house?

Not necessarily every radiator, but the more controls you have, the more you will be 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.

Published: 04/10/2018

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