With the price cap increase due on the 1st of April 2022 families across Staffordshire and Cheshire are about to feel the pinch on their fuel bills. Paired with the increased cost of installing energy efficient measures its all about heating smarter and saving money.
The simple advice to help customers to lower their gas bill has always been to upgrade to a new energy efficient boiler. This fact still remains true.
However, with the cost of installing a new boiler rising, lower income households may not be in a position to replace their old boiler- no matter how much they want to.
We are working hard to keep our costs fair and offer our customers options that suit their needs and their budgets. Click here for a free estimate of what a new boiler could cost
It is even more important therefore to heat your house as efficiently as you can. Here are a few tips to help you save money on your fuel bills with either no costs, DIY friendly or affordably fitted by your local heating engineer.
Turn Down Your Thermostat
Simple energy saving tip number one… turn down your room thermostat. We have a full article dedicated to this here. However, very simply, turn down your thermostat by 1 degree and you will save money on your bills.
Close Your Curtains
It is just as important to keep the heat in your house as it is to create it efficiently. Closing your curtains at night could help to reduce the heat-loss through your windows by up to 20%! Just be sure not to cover your radiators with long curtains and block the heat from entering the room.
Unblock Your Radiators
Sometimes your radiators can be in the most inconvenient locations, meaning sofas and furniture can sometimes cover them. Wherever possibly you want your radiators open to heat your rooms efficiently. This includes not covering them with clothes, curtains or radiators covers. Try removing your beautifully painted radiator cover and see how much more quickly your room heats up; we are trying to save money remember!
Boiler Or Fire?
Is it better to use the boiler and heat the house or use the fire and only heat the room you are using? The answer: it depends.
If you have a new energy efficient boiler and up to date radiators, chances are it is much more efficient to use the boiler the heat the entire house than to run a super inefficient fuel effect gas safe all evening only heating one room.
However, if you have an old gas guzzling inefficient boiler and antique-age radiators you may find this is just as inefficient as your fire with a higher output.
A good test would be to use the fire for one night and monitor your gas usage, either with a smart meter or by taking meter readings. Then the next day keep the fire off and use the boiler. One will use less gas than the other- or if they are the same, we would recommend the boiler to spread the heat through the house.
Don’t Let Your House Go Cold
Everyone has heard the old wife’s tale: “it’s cheaper to keep your heating on low all day”. Our version of this would be: “don’t let your house go cold”.
If you only use your heating for an hour in the morning and then another hour in the evening, for older houses, you will find that the property loses all of this heat and goes cold through the day. Worse, over time you will then find the fabric of the building (brickwork) will then loose its retained heat; meaning it will take more energy to keep the house comfortable and actually cost you more money in the long run- not to mention be very chilly.
Don’t believe us? Put the back of your hand on your walls.
It is far more efficient for most households to keep your home at a low maintainable temperature through the day. This is easiest with the use of a programmable room thermostat where you can pre-program a low temperature between 10-15°C throughout the day will make it much easier to give you the 20°C average most people require for the evening.
For most homes the most expensive part of the gas bill is used on heating hot water. If the average family shortened their showers by 1 minuet, they could save the equivalent every of over 100 showers per year! Find our more here.
Insulate Your Hot Water Cylinder
The only thing worse than using too much hot water is wasting it.
If you have a hot water cylinder in your airing cupboard or loft and it doesn’t have any insulation. You could be wasting hundreds of pounds per year! New cylinders are wrapped in foam insulation at the factory for the best fuel savings. However, if you can’t afford that you can buy insulation jackets from your local DIY shop. If all else fails wrap your hot water cylinder in an old duvet and secure it tight with string.
Heat Reflector Foil Behind Radiators
There are mixed theories on the savings heat reflector foil can have on your heating bills. The idea is that if your radiator is on an outside wall, the heat reflector foil will deflect the heat from the wall back into the room to save wastage. Some claim myth, some sing from the rooftops. At the end of the day this is a cheap DIY purchase that could help to heat your house and save money.
Service Your Boiler
Unfortunately, this one is going to cost you. You must use a Gas Safe registered engineer to service your gas appliances. A well maintained and services appliance will keep running as efficiently as possibly for as long as possible.
Thermostatic Radiator Valves
We would advise getting your Thermostatic Radiator Valves installed by a competent professional. TRV’s are designed to control individual radiators to maintain a comfortable temperature in a single room.
They usually have settings 0-5, these have temperatures attached to them- see the manufacturers instructions. For example, 3 is usually around 18°C, so when that room reaches around 18°C the TRV will close the radiator valve and turn the radiator off in that room. Which number/ temperature is purely based on your own comfort level.
This can help you to save money by not over heating unused rooms unnecessarily. We find them most useful in bedrooms.
Newer boilers should be installed with at least a timer and electronic thermostat however these can be added to older systems too. These must be installed by a qualified electrician.
A room thermostat can be set to a target-temperature, so when your house is warm enough it will automatically turn off your boiler to save money. Once the house begins to cool, and the temperature drops back below your target-temperature, the thermostat will then tell the boiler to turn back on to keep you at a constant comfortable amount of heat. As a rule of thumb most people set their room thermostat to 21°C, however everyone is different and there is no “correct” temperature. Also bear in mind lower temperatures will help you to reduce your energy usage but may be less comfortable than you like, meaning you need to put on extra clothing.
When it comes to SMART Thermostats, these can be a luxury for most people. Remember we are trying to save money! If you are at home most of the day or tend to stick to set routines a standard time clock would be perfect for your heat usage. If you work shifts are tend to be away from home sporadically think school teacher, doctor, lorry driver. The ability to turn your heating on and off as you come and go could actually save you a lot of money, better yet with geofencing this can all be done automatically by your location on your smartphone.
If you have a hot water tank it may be possible to add a cylinder thermostat, so that when your tank has enough hot water the thermostat tells your boiler to stop heating more. This can have huge saving potential. However, very old 4-pipe boilers won’t be able to have these added due to system layouts.
New Convector Radiators
If you have old steel panel radiators you could benefit from replacing them for modern convector radiators. The difference between the two is that convector radiators have metal fins added to the rear of them to increase the heated surface area. This results in a faster room heat-up time reducing the time your boiler will need to run. Radiators should be installed by a competent person and your heating system water protected with suitable chemicals.
Upgrade To a More Energy-Efficient Boiler
Finally, one of the best ways to reduce your gas usage is to install a new condensing boiler. If you still have an old Back Boiler, Floor Standing or Balanced Flue Boiler the savings you could make by upgrading to a new A Rated Condensing Boiler could be huge! Coupled with the energy saving measures above you could help to get your bills under control and keep your family warmer.
For an estimate on a new Worcester-Bosch Boiler use our quick and easy tool. We have affordable We have 12 months 0% APR available or Payment Plans from 3 to 10 years at 7.9% APR Fixed. Meaning you can spread the cost of your new boiler to take the stress away.
If you have any worries about affording you bill after the Price Cap Rise please contact your energy supplier who can check to see what help is available.