When talk turns to how you can save money on your home energy bill, you will usually find someone who comes up with the idea that it is better to leave your heating on with a low boiler temperature all the time, than to run it in shorter bursts on a timer.
The always on theory
The theory behind this is that if you allow the fabric of the building to cool down, it takes time to heat it up again; therefore, you are burning more fuel before the property starts to feel warm. The room thermostat will turn the boiler off when a comfortable temperature is reached anyway, and you will need to turn it down overnight. There is also an argument that by keeping the house warm all the time, there is less potential for condensation to form in wall cavities, thus improving insulation – dry walls are more effective in this regard than damp ones.
The timer argument
The argument for using a timer is that you are not heating the office when you are out or at night, which obviously means you are running the boiler for fewer hours during the day. There is also the argument that you are losing heat all the time; therefore, you should heat your home only when you need to. Measures such as adding a Grundfos home booster to improve circulation can ensure your heating runs more efficiently, although it is not possible to control the boiler temperature independently with some modern condensing boilers.
Obviously these two approaches conflict and there is little hard evidence in favour of either; therefore, you really need to experiment with what works best for you. This needs to take into account factors such as how you use your house and whether you work from home and are in for most of the day.
Staying in control
Whichever path you choose to take, it is important to keep your heating system operating effectively. Understanding the controls is a good first step. By using a combination of the timer, room thermostat, boiler thermostat and thermostatic radiator valves, you can ensure you get heat where and when you need it.
Having the boiler serviced regularly keeps it efficient; meanwhile, with older systems, it may be worth having the system flushed to ensure that water can circulate freely through the radiators. Installing a booster pump such as a Grundfos home booster can ensure the efficient flow of both hot and cold water throughout the property.
Regardless of your heating strategy, you can save money by making sure your home is energy efficient. All homes lose heat and you should aim to reduce this as much as possible. Insulating your loft is a good first step, as warm air rises and a lot of heat is lost through the roof.
Cavity insulation is also worth considering, but be aware that not all houses are suitable due to the way in which they are built or their location. If you have older windows and doors, replacing these with modern double-glazed alternatives can help you to cut heat loss. If you can’t afford to do this, don’t dismiss simpler and cheaper alternatives such as draught-proofing, which can make a surprising difference.
There are lots of things you can do to reduce your heating bills and still keep your home warm and comfortable. If a particular method has worked for you or if you have tried any tips that we haven’t mentioned, do let me know.