Saving on your Heating Bills

Despite Spring being around the corner, it’s not unusual for England to experience low temperatures well into April, meaning it’s not quite time for the heating to go into hibernation for the summer months.

With that in mind, we’re sharing some of the best advice we, Stoke-on-Trent City Council and our friends at Switchee have for reducing your heating bills, running your boiler efficiently and making sure your heating stays in your home.

Reduce your water temperature

Most of us, possibly without realising it, have our water temperatures set far higher than we need. Think about it: how many times have you run cold water in with the hot to reach the desired temperature? So, why not set that temperature lower? Not only are you saving water by not needing to cool it down, but you’ve also saved on not needing to heat that water in the first place. Turning your water temperature down to 40° could save you a significant amount and would still be the perfect temperature for baths, showers and dishes.

Insulate the tank

If you still have a water tank, insulating it to ensure no heat loss from the water in there will save you £££’s. You can use boiler jackets like this one and pipe foil like this to keep the warmth in the tank and pipes until you need it.

Use timers

It might sound obvious, but timing your water for when you really need it rather than leaving it on and running when you don’t can save you a lot of money. For example, your controls might be on an “eco mode” which intermittently heats water on the off-chance that you’ll need it, costing you money as it does. Turning this control off, means you’re in control and can programme the boiler to work for you and your schedule.

Heat the rooms you use

In a very similar way, consider if you’re spending money heating rooms you just don’t use. For example, are you heating the kitchen to the same temperature as your living room, when you’re only in there for an hour a day? Turning the radiators down in the rooms you don’t use and only heating the spaces you’re going to be in can have a really big effect. We wouldn’t however advocate turning heating off altogether in any room in your property, especially during colder months as this can cause damp, mould and condensation problems to worsen.

Bleed the radiators

Bleeding your radiators on a regular basis can get rid of any air bubbles and significantly increase their output. Check out this guidance.

Clean those radiators

Once the radiators are pumping heat effectively, you’ll want to make sure that nothing gets in the way of that heat. Dust and foreign objects at the back or bottom of the actual radiator can prevent the heat from flowing out effectively. A long hoover attachment, duster or a special brush like this one can ensure your radiator pumps heat like it’s supposed to.

Keep the heat in

Once you’ve optimised your controls and your radiators, you want the heat to stay where it’s supposed to. Insulation in your walls and roof space is going to be your best friend in this regard, but other methods such as chimney balloons or plates, draught excluders and methods such as keeping curtains closed on particularly cold days can also be a huge help. It’s important to note at this point that if you are a Stoke-on-Trent City Council property resident, you shouldn’t install any draught exclusion without permission from the landlord as some measures may be in violation of your tenancy agreement. Speak to your Housing Officer before making any purchases.

Reduce the temperature

This is going to sound counter-productive but go with us; reducing your temperature could save you money AND give you a warmer house. We’ve seen a lot of cases where customers think their boilers aren’t working effectively because the property isn’t reaching the temperature being set. When we look at this, we’re seeing that the desired temperature is far higher than it needs to be. The optimum temperature in your property should be between 18° and 22° but setting a desired temperature of 30° not only makes your boiler and system work far harder than it needs to (costing you a fortune in the process) but you’re fighting a losing battle. Even if it were to reach that temperature, it wouldn’t be able to sustain it as it’s so far in excess of what is needed. There is also a wealth of evidence to prove that temperatures of over 24° can increase the risk of a stroke or heart attack.

Leave the heating off

There’s a lot of debate about whether it’s more cost effective to leave the heating on a low setting all the time or not. The idea behind this is that it was thought that a system maintaining a temperature wouldn’t need to work as hard as a system which being turned off and on again. Experts at the Energy Saving Trust currently advise that this isn’t the cheaper option and it’s far more cost effective to use heating as and when you need to. Martin Lewis explains all here

If you need support with your heating bills, and you’re a Stoke-on-Trent City Council Tenant, contact incomeadviceteam@stoke.gov.uk.

If you’re not a Stoke-on-Trent City Council resident, you can still access support through any of the links above or contact the Citizens Advice Bureau by visiting Citizen Advice Bureau Stoke on Trent; Stoke CAB (snscab.org.uk)

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