Get your heating working for you
Heating your home can be a waste of energy and money - follow these simple measures to help you make sure you get the best out of your boiler and central heating.
Go hi-tech and let gadgets work for you
- Besides from fitting individual radiator thermostat valves that allow you to make sure radiators are only switched on when they’re needed, you can install state-of-the-art devices that make this kind of energy-saving and cost-cutting even easier.
- One example is British Gas’s Hive Active Heating (shown above). It connects a wireless thermostat to the internet to allow you to program your heating and hot water by text message or from any smartphone or tablet, and you don’t have to upgrade your boiler. It won’t save you oodles of cash, as it’s essentially a thermostat upgrade, but it will allow you to use energy more efficiently. For example, it’s geolocation function allows you to program your heating to come on when you get close to home.
Make sure your boiler’s in good shape
- There’s no point investing in the latest technology if you’re boiler’s on its last legs. Get it serviced regularly – emergency repairs can cost a fortune, and servicing will catch problems before they occur.
- Most boilers last for around 10 years then they start to become inefficient and waste gas as well as money – so read on if you think you need a replacement.
Get a replacement boiler from your energy company
- Energy companies are giving away boilers to those in certain groups, usually those on tax credits and with a household income of less than £15,860 or are on income support or pension credit and you’ve either children, a disabled person living in the household or are over 60.
- It’s not just you that needs to qualify – your boiler needs to be checked for eligibility too. As long as it is inefficient, old or broken you can call any of the energy providers for a free assessment – you don’t need to be a customer.
- Contact the Energy Saving Advice Service. Once you get through on their phoneline (0300 123 1234) they can help you through the process with the energy supplier. For Wales call 0800 512 012 or Scotland 0808 808 2282.
Get your radiators and pipework working more efficiently
- Make sure there aren’t any cold spots, which are caused by build up of debris in radiators. You can fix these with a “Powerflush” using a chemical solution that breaks down the build up. It costs around £500.
- You can also have a Magnaclean installed to prevent the pipes from becoming blocked again. This should cost around £200 on top of the cost of a new boiler.
Shop around for the cheapest energy provider
- If you haven’t switched energy providers for a year, the chances are you will save money by switching today. Switch now in 3 easy steps with the HomeOwners Alliance. Just click here to get started.
- According to the Energy Saving Trust, the average household spends £1,300 a year on gas and electricity. The same three-bedroom semi-detached home could save more than £500 a year with better insulation. Double glazing improvements and expensive cavity wall insulation can all lead to a more energy efficient home. But one of the biggest savings can be made by making sure you have at least 27cm thick loft insulation in the attic as this can knock £140 off your annual bills.
- In the first instance though simply insulating where drafts are coming in – the letterbox and cat flap using a brush draft excluder– will also help keep you warm. DIY draft excluding foam strips stuck around windows and doors offer a quick fix. And heavy curtains closed against the cold night will act as insulation.