Nobody loves a high heating bill, and life’s too short to shiver. At Dreamland, we understand you want to stay warm without spending a fortune on your heating.
In this helpful guide, we’ve put together everything we know about staying warm for less.
Stop heat from escaping your home
The more heat can escape from your home, the harder your heating system has to work. Here are some easy ways to keep warmth in your home, without racking up your bills.
Look for areas in your home where warm air escapes and cold air comes in.
Common areas include the gap at the bottom of your front door or the gaps between sash windows. Roll up blankets or towels to block draughts from under your door, or buy a draught excluder. You can also seal gaps with weather strips, caulk, or door sweeps.
Don’t forget any gaps and cracks between floorboards or a draughty old fireplace.
Close doors & curtains
If you want to keep warmth in your main living space, keep internal doors closed, so heat doesn’t escape. If you have old doors, a doorstop will help keep them tightly shut!
Unless the sun is shining (letting warmth into the room), closing your curtains helps keep warmth inside your home. Use heavy curtains, and tuck them behind your radiator when it’s on – this will help warm the room and stop heat escaping out through windows.
If your windows aren’t double-glazed, secondary glazing film is a cheap way to add an extra layer to help stop heat from escaping. It’s even cheaper to use cling film.
Insulate if possible
Adding boiler, loft, or wall cavity insulation, helps keep precious heat escaping your home. You can apply for help with the cost of adding insulation through government schemes.
Insulating your home can potentially save hundreds on your energy bills per year.
Turn down your thermostats and water flow
Sometimes, saving money on your heating bills is as easy as turning down a dial. Here are a couple of ways to instantly see a difference in your heating bills each month.
However, ensure you’re finding a balance that keeps you healthy and comfortable.
Turn your thermostat down to 18 - 21 °C
In this guide, we’ll assume you have a central heating system with a gas boiler.
Your thermostat keeps your home at a steady temperature, turning your central heating on if the temperature drops. If you can stand to, try turning your thermostat down a notch. An ideal temperature is between 18 and 21 degrees (or higher for some health conditions).
Every degree you turn your thermostat down could save around 10% on your bill.
Turn your boiler flow down to 55 - 60 °C
If you have a combi boiler, you can safely turn down your radiator flow to 60 degrees.
Combi boilers are often automatically set at 70, but 60 will help it work more efficiently. If your home is particularly well insulated, you may be able to turn it down to 55 degrees.
However, if you have a boiler with a separate tank, it must be over 65 to kill bacteria.
Turn down thermostatic radiator valves
You may be able to control individual radiators in your home if you have central heating and your radiators have TRVs (thermostatic radiator valves). Using these can help reduce heating bills, as you can turn down radiators in rooms you don’t spend much time in.
Avoid turning them down completely, as a cold room can get mouldy and damp.
Use your central heating more efficiently
Mastering your central heating system is a key way to save money on your heating bills. Here’s how to ensure it’s working efficiently and only when you need it running.
Ignore the ‘keep heating on 24/7’ myth
There are exceptions, but you’re not likely to save money by keeping your heating on all the time. If you’re not going to be in the house, it makes little sense to waste heating.
If your home loses heat and gets cold fast, look at improving your insulation, rather than making your heating work more than it needs to. Keeping your heating on at a low heat all the time avoids long periods of warming up, but using a timer works out cheaper.
Use timers to heat when you need it
The average home takes around 30 minutes to warm up, and 30 minutes to cool down.
If you’re on holiday, at work or asleep, you don’t need your heating to be on. Time your heating to come on a while before you wake up and a while before when you get home. Use a timer or programmable thermostat to stay warm and comfortable when needed.
You may need to experiment with your timer, as older homes with less insulation will take longer to heat up and will cool down faster. This is due to heat being able to escape.
Check and maintain your heating system
Regularly checking your central heating and bleeding your radiators ensures your central heating is working as efficiently as possible – reducing the cost of your heating bills.
If you have instructions that came with your heating system, give these a read. You’ll want to check your boiler pressure is not too low, as it can drop over time and means your home takes longer to heat up. British Gas has easy guides for fixing boiler pressure.
Air can get trapped in radiators, making them run less efficiently. If your radiator is cold at the top and warm at the bottom, it may need bleeding so the trapped air can escape:
It takes some experimenting, but tweaking your heating controls can save money.
How to ‘Heat the human, not the home’
If you want to save money on heating bills, setting it at a lower temperature or not turning it on as often is an option. However, you must always keep your health in mind.
Don’t stop heating your home
We’re all feeling the pinch on energy bills, but you shouldn’t turn off your heating.
A cold house is bad for your mental and physical health, particularly if you’re elderly, vulnerable, or have existing health issues. Not keeping your home warm and cosy enough can also lead to rooms becoming damp and mouldy, which in turn can make you ill.
However, there are plenty of ways to get warm without ramping up your central heating high. Here are a few ways to stay toasty if you feel the cold, or want to save money.
Electric blankets and heated clothes
An electric overblanket is a great way to warm up quickly if you need some extra warmth. They cost only pennies to run, and focus on heating your body, not the whole room. By staying snug in a heated throw, you don’t have to rely on expensive central heating.
There are also mains-powered items like heat pads, heated gloves and heated gilets. All help keep your body warm for a one-off initial cost and low running costs.
Hot water bottles and wheat bags
You can also use a kettle and microwave to keep warm! Microwave a wheat bag for 60 seconds in the microwave, or fill up a hot water bottle with water from your kettle.
It’s often cheaper to use these on-person heating methods than blasting central heating.
More tips for saving money on heating
As well as using your main heating more efficiently and using the above products to keep warm for less, here are a few other ways to help save money on your heating bills.
Try a portable fan heater
A fan heater can provide instant warmth in one room, without touching the thermostat.
They use an internal fan to quickly distribute warm air around a room, making them ideal for heating up small to medium-sized spaces. They’re designed to be energy efficient, helping you to reduce the cost of energy bills each month. Fast and money saving too.
Layer up clothing and thermals
As well as heated clothing, old-fashioned thermals can stop you from feeling chilly. Wear a thermal layer underneath your normal clothing to stay cosy, or put on a fleece or woolly jumper instead of turning up your heating and raising your bill.
Pay extra attention to your head and feet. Heat escapes from your head, so wear a hat or a hoodie to keep warmth in, and keep your feet up off of cold floors (or buy a rug).
Enjoy warm food and drinks
Feeling chilly? A warm drink or meal can help warm you from the inside out! Using your kettle to make a brew – or microwaving a hearty soup – can turn out cheaper than gas.
Not only will it warm you up, but nutritious meals will help your overall well-being.
Do some gentle exercise
Another way to save money on heating is to generate warmth from moving around.
There are thousands of free workouts available online, helping you stay healthy and warm. You don’t need a fancy home gym, just put on some music and get started.
Doing regular exercise can also help your immune system and boost your mood.
Saving Money on Heating: Final Thoughts
Now you’ve read our guide, we hope you’ve got some new ideas on how to reduce your heating bill. From turning down your boiler or radiators to using a cheaper portable fan heater or electric blanket in bed, these heating tips can combine to save you money.
Here’s a handy checklist of our ideas for reducing your heating costs at home:
- Block and seal draughts
- Keep internal doors closed
- Close curtains to trap heat
- Add loft or wall insulation
- Turn down your thermostat
- Turn down your boiler flow
- Turn down your radiators
- Use a timer on central heating
- Check your boiler pressure
- Bleed radiators (if needed)
- Try a heated blanket or throw
- Try a hot water bottle/bag
- Try a portable fan heater
- Layer up your clothing
- Have regular warm drinks
- Do gentle home workouts
What is the cheapest way to have your heating on?
The cheapest way to have your heating on is to set it on a timer. Then it’s only on when you need it, when you’re at home and awake. It’s also cheaper to turn your thermostat down, so your heating has to work less to heat your home to your desired temperature.
Is it cheaper to leave heating on low all day?
It is not cheaper to leave your central heating on low all day – this is a myth. In the long run, it works out cheaper to only have your heating on when you need it. However, having bad insulation means it takes longer to heat your home, and it cools down faster.
How can I reduce my heating bill?
You can reduce your heating bill by turning down your central heating controls and flow temperature. You can also insulate your home so less heat escapes, use energy-efficient heating items like electric blankets or fan heaters, or dress in warm layers or thermals.
How many hours a day should heating be on?
Your heating should be on for several hours every day during the winter. For the average person, this ensures your home is warm when you wake up, and when you’re relaxing at home after work or school. However, this depends on your schedule and insulation.