Winter Warming Tips

Well, winter is here again and many of us will be thinking about winter warming tips and energy saving. We are all switching on the heating and wondering how much it will cost this year. The rising price of fuel oil and gas is enough to make anyone pause for thought.

Many of you know the usual methods of making your home more energy efficient; loads of loft insulation, wall insulation, double glazing etc. What about the actual heating efficiency of your heating system?

gas bill winter heat

When it comes to comparing the energy efficiency of oil or gas heating systems, the difference is so small you need not worry.

The first component to look at when considering how to make your winter warmer is the boiler. How energy efficient is it? Standard efficiency boilers are rarely more than 80% efficient. Condensing boilers are never below 95% efficient. One customer we installed one for made a note of how many litres of oil they used before and after a new condensing boiler installation. They found they used 7 litres less a day. Over time they missed one whole delivery of oil a year.

This means in simple terms, that every 100 litres of oil you buy, 20 litres will be saved, compared with the old boiler. This will roughly give a year’s free heat every fifth year!

To add to this, it’s easy for you to buy the boiler and get a professional engineer to install it thus avoiding their mark-up. To find out more about buying your own boiler, click here.

With this in mind, have you considered how good your heating controls are? For instance an old fashioned room thermostat probably has a 3-5 degrees centigrade delay between turning the heat on and off which wastes fuel.

A modern digital room thermostat will control precisely to plus or minus ½ degree centigrade and also has a night set-back feature, so you simply press the night temperature button to give your required night temperature when you go to bed, or go on holiday in the winter. New heating controls are easily purchased online from many retailers. We list some below.

Also, do you have thermostatic radiator valves installed? This gives you the option of controlling all rooms, especially the bedrooms as there is little point heating the bedrooms to the same temperature as the rest of the house. These valves will definitely save you money.

Have you condidered how much heat your hot water tank is leaking? New hot water tanks have a much better heat retaining capacity. Some only needing one heat cycle a day. They save loads of energy and money.

Are all pipes in your house that are not visible insulated. We know this can be a nightmare if all the pipes are under the floors. For some it might just not be feasible. For those that can access their pipes and insulate them, it pays off in the future.

Another idea: Is your room thermostat in your hallway? Do you live in your hallway? Probably not! So a remote, wire-free digital control thermostat could be the thing for you as it can be taken to every room, providing it is not more than 25 metres away from the boiler controls. So, if you are slaving away in the kitchen all day, take it with you. And when you relax in your sitting room later in the day you can carry it with you, so you can control your room temperature wherever you are.

This video will guide you through a brief checklist of things you need to do to your heating system when turning it on for the first time that winter. We cover bleeding air from the radiators, making sure the TRV or radiator valve is not stuck and the lockshield is open to making sure the circulating pump is OK and the motorised valves work OK.