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Four ways to lower your heating bills

By Marta Moses | Posted December 11, 2019

As we head into winter you can practically hear the rumble of boilers firing up across the country... After all, there’s nothing nicer than a warm, cozy home on a cold day. But did you know that heating and hot water make up nearly half of the average monthly gas bill? With gas prices on the rise, the thought of your winter heating bill might be enough to make you turn the heating off again.

The good news is there are plenty of things you can do to take control of your energy and save money on your heating bills this winter.

Easy DIY tips for reducing your gas bill

First things first – turn your thermostat down. (It almost sounds too simple, but hear us out…)

A recent study showed that 2.7 million households are turning their thermostats all the way to 25°C! If everyone in the UK lowered their thermostats it could add up to a combined saving of £1.4 billion (billion, with a B) on heating bills, not to mention a huge amount of carbon.

The ideal temperature is somewhere between 18°C and 21°C, but the general principle is that for every degree you turn your heating down, you could save around £80 a year.

Heat your home only when it needs heating

We’ve all heard the theory that it’s cheaper to leave the heating on all day at a low temperature. Well, the results are in - it’s definitely a myth.

The truth is that having the heating on only when you need it is the best way to save energy – why would you heat an empty house? Setting a timer or using the programme function on your thermostat means it’ll turn the heating on and off for you, so you can set up a schedule that works around your day.

You might also be tempted to crank the thermostat right up to warm your house quicker, but that’s another heating myth! Turning your thermostat up doesn’t change the temperature of the water flowing through your radiators. It just means the thermostat won’t turn your boiler off until it reaches a higher temperature. Your heating will simply stay on for longer, using more gas and costing you more money.

Once you’re warmed up, keep it that way

Draught-proofing plugs the gaps in your property to help keep warm air in and cold air out. If there’s cold air coming in under your front door, a rolled up towel or blanket will do the trick. If you’re feeling handy you could fit a brush or hinged flap draught excluder. The same goes for your letterbox – a flap or brush will keep the cold out. Even something small like a key hole cover will help.

Don't heat the rooms you're not using

Again, it may seem simple, but if you rarely go into a spare room then why waste energy heating it? Turn the radiator down (or off completely, though beware of the risk of frost) and you’ll use less energy heating a room you rarely use.

Reduce your heating flow temperature on your combi boiler

Your heating flow temperature handles the temperature that your boiler heats water up to, before sending it off to your radiators. This is usually set too high for most combi boilers to run at maximum efficiency.(1)

Lower flow temperatures result in a more efficient combi boiler. Reducing your flow temperature from 80℃ to 60℃ could mean an annual saving of up to £112 for the typical household.(2)

However, you must have a combi boiler and a flow temperature reduction isn't right for all systems and everyone. Find out more in our heating flow temperature post

Small changes can add up to a big difference

If you’ve ticked off everything on the DIY list, there are still plenty of things you can do to take control of your energy this winter and reduce your gas bill.

Keep your boiler in tip-top condition with a yearly service

Breakdowns can mean expensive repairs, but a well-maintained boiler will also work more efficiently at delivering heat and hot water. By keeping your boiler working smoothly and efficiently you could save on your heating bills.

Get a smart meter to see what you’re using in pounds and pence

A smart meter comes at no extra cost to you and sends us your meter readings, so you don’t have to. Plus as an EDF customer, you'll get access to our free, unique Energy Hub, complete with tips and tricks on how to reduce your energy use and save money. Book your smart meter install today.

A smart thermostat and smart heating controls let you control your heating from anywhere using your phone

You can boost the heating when you want to come home to a toasty warm house, turn it off if you’re going to be home late and still set up schedules and programmes just as you would with a normal thermostat.

Bleed your radiators

Trapped air in your radiators will stop the warm water circulating properly – if your radiator is cold at the top and warm at the bottom, it probably needs bleeding. All you need is a radiator key (or screwdriver for more modern radiators) and a rag to catch any drips of water.

  • Turn the heating off and wait until your radiators are cold
  • Use your key or screwdriver to turn the valve at the top of the radiator until you hear a hissing noise – this is the trapped air escaping
  • Once the hissing stops and water starts to trickle out, re tighten the valve

Job done! Next time you turn the heating on your radiator should be toasty warm from top to bottom

Heat reflecting radiator panels can also make things more efficient

Installed on the wall behind the radiator, the reflective surface reflects heat back into the radiator keeping the water in the radiator warmer for longer. They can also create a thermal barrier between the wall and the radiator, so you don’t lose as much heat through the wall.

It’s not just about gadgets and tech though. Behavioural changes can bring your bills down too. Making sure your dishwasher is full, taking shorter showers and dropping your washing machine down to 30°C will all make a dent in your bill over time.

Want to cut down on your gas use altogether?

80% of UK homes are gas heated – more than a lot of countries – mostly because of convenient and relatively cheap gas reserves in the North Sea. But if we want to reach our Net Zero target, we have to move away from fossil fuels and find alternatives to traditional gas boilers. Plus the government’s Future Home Standard bans installs of gas boilers in new homes from 2025. So the question is, what are the alternatives?

If you’re ready to make the switch, here are some of our favourite options;

· Heat pumps capture heat from air and ground and rely on electricity, not gas. A recent government report shows that a hybrid air source heat pump could reduce boiler usage by up to 80%, so if you’re renovating your home or want to invest in a future-proof heating system, heat pumps may be for you. Find out more about our air source heat pumps.

· Electric storage heaters could cut your energy bills by 27%, and we have partnered with Dimplex-approved installers to bring you the best electric storage heating for your home

· Electric radiators are energy efficient, easy to control and could save you money and carbon. With slow heat release, advance programming, easy to control settings (all from your phone) and a 30 year warranty, they’re a great alternative to gas. Learn all about SmartFluid and SmartCore electric radiators.

Whatever your home-heating set up, we’re here to keep you warm and cosy this winter. Whether you’re thinking about upgrading to an air source heat pump or want to make sure your boiler is working as efficiently as possible, we’ve got options for you.

Make sure your boiler is happy and healthy with our great range of boiler service and maintenance plans, and home emergency insurance.

Get a boiler care plan