17 – 23 January is National Big Energy Saving Week
In December we looked at how we might insulate our homes to save energy, and this month we’re considering other ways to cut bills and save fuel….
Get an annual boiler service – a healthy boiler will save you money in the long run – and check the pressure gauge regularly. If the pressure is too low (anywhere between 1.0 and 2.0 bars is the ideal) the system will be inefficient and you’ll need more energy to heat your home.
Your boiler flow temperature determines how hot the water in your radiators is and might be set too high. You can turn down standard boilers (with separate hot water tanks) to 65 degrees to save money, but no lower – you must kill the harmful bacteria in your tap water. Ensure your hot water cylinder is fitted with a thermal jacket – this can reduce heat loss by up to 75%.
With a combi boiler, you can turn the boiler flow temperature to the radiators down to whatever feels comfortable to you, without it affecting your tap water temperature. Check whether the boiler is set to ‘pre-heat”. If you’re out a lot, or only need hot water a few times a day, it’s worth changing this. The hot water will take longer to come out of the taps, but it can save a lot of money.
Regularly check your radiators for cold patches at the top and listen out for gurgling! This can mean air is trapped inside and they will not be as effective so it’s time to ‘bleed’ them.
Curtains and blinds really make a difference. Tuck them behind radiators so you don’t lose heat via the windows. It’s tempting to leave them closed on cold, winter days, but you’ll benefit from the natural heat of the sun if you open them.
Consider investing in heated throws or blankets – they only use about 2p of electricity per hour – ensuring they have a UKCA/CE safety mark or both. If your blankets are too old for these or show signs of damage or loose wires etc, new retailers should now be able to recycle them or check out https://www.electric-blankets.co.uk/www.recyclenow.com.