The Most Efficient Way to Run Your Central Heating at Home

It’s a very popular question with a much sought-after answer, especially in the midst of the energy crisis in the UK as a result of soaring gas wholesale prices. So how can you get the most out of your central heating system, now more than ever? There are several things you can do in order to make your heating run more efficiently and effectively. Read on to find out how you can achieve this.

Ensure you’re on the cheapest possible tariff available

With the cost of living crisis and the exceptionally pricey energy price caps coming into effect on 1st April, with prices set to rise again in October 2022, according to The Scotsman, it has never been more difficult for the public to find cheap energy tariffs. But if you’re able to find the cheapest possible price relative to current and predicted price hikes, then this will help when it comes to the amount you’re paying for your energy, even if it’s marginally less than other providers.

However, advice from Martin Lewis in January 2022 states; “Sticking on the price cap has saved people large so far, but as we get nearer to 1 April, less time and therefore benefit remains of the current low rate. Switch now, and as moving firm takes an average 17 days, you’d lose just over two (high use) months’ cheap rate”

He also claims; “The market’s cheapest fix right now is an average 56% more than the cap – though some with very low or high usage may find it cheaper (do a cheap fix comparison to see). At that rate, fixing’s unlikely to be worth it. A few existing customer deals (especially from Scottish Power and Octopus) may get closer, so if you’re offered one, do the numbers to see what % the increase is. Though as in-house switches happen quicker, you’ll lose more cheap rate time.”

Lewis continues; “Of course, fix now and if wholesale prices drop rapidly, so fixes get cheaper in future, you would’ve unnecessarily lost out on the current cheap cap rate (you could always fix again then, just paying early exit fees – trivial in the big picture right now). Then again, don’t fix now, and if prices rise, fixes could get even more expensive. This isn’t easy.”

Even having imparted that advice to consumers, Lewis is still maintaining that the best thing energy customers can do right now is nothing; “I know this is complex. So to summarise, it looks like most people should do nothing (no certainty, I don’t have a crystal ball), it looks like only a few edge cases should be looking at fixing right now. So if in doubt, just stick on today’s cheapest price – which is the cap. And to be plain, the 40% figure is my best guess, not firm. Other assumptions I’ve needed to make are:

  • Neither the Government or Ofgem change the methodology, market or levies on firms.
  • The October 2022 price cap will be similar to April’s. Yet it’s based on future, unknown February-July wholesale prices. In fact, if wholesale prices don’t drop from where we are now, the cap will likely rise another 20% on top in October.
  • I’ve calculated based over the next year and not looked at longer-term fixes.”

However, since offering that advice in January 2022, the price cap will be rising by 54% from 1st April – 31st September this year, meaning consumers could be paying up to £1,971 a year – a record rise due to the wholesale gas prices, according to Sky News.

Get the most out of your radiators

Radiator reflectors are essential when it comes to making the heat travel further into a room without turning up your heating or investing in new, larger radiators. Unlike a replacement, radiator reflectors are easy to come by, relatively cheap and simple to install. Radifans are also an effective way of throwing more heat into a room and they’re also an affordable option for homeowners.

Bleeding your radiators is also part of maintaining your central heating system. This is the process of removing trapped air that sits within the radiator, resulting in cold spots. This allows hot water to fill the entire radiator rather than partially filling it. You’ll know whether or not your radiator needs bleeding by feeling for cold spots when the radiator is on. If you notice any, bleed your radiators for maximum efficiency.

Flush your central heating system periodically

Over several years, a standard central heating system will start to fill with rust, dirt, sludge and debris. Power flushing your central heating system on a regular basis will help to rid it of the aforementioned materials, thus helping it run far more efficiently. It helps to restore full circulation of the heating system, allowing hot water to freely run through the boiler, pipework and radiators.

After flushing your central heating system, you’ll notice that your radiators are getting hotter than usual and are heating up far quicker than they did prior to you flushing the system. You’ll also notice that there are no longer any cold spots present. This means that, in turn, your house will take less time to warm through meaning you’ll be able to turn your heating off sooner than you did previously.

Add an inhibitor to your hot water system

Inhibitor is a liquid that can be added to hot water systems and radiators that works to slow down the reaction that occurs when water begins to run through a metal radiator. That reaction is oxidation and it can cause sludge to accumulate in the radiator itself.

Adding an inhibitor will help the water to run more smoothly and efficiently as well as helping to reduce the rate at which sludge forms. In turn, this will also help to keep your central heating system to remain in top condition for far longer. Adding an inhibitor to your system will also help an old boiler system to run more effectively, thus saving you money in the process.

Understand the controls available to you

It’s important that you get to know and understand the heating controls that are available to you. You’ll be able to pre-programme your boiler to come on and turn off at certain times of the day, helping you to save money.

If, for example, you go out to work and do not need the heating on during the day, you’ll be able to programme it to come on about half an hour before you arrive home, meaning you’ll walk into a warm and cosy house at the end of a long, busy day.

Older boilers might not have this capability and the last thing a homeowner wants to do is have the heating on all day in preparation for a warm house in the evening. The best thing you can do in this case is to replace your boiler as soon as you’re able to.

Replace your boiler if it’s old

According to Green Business Watch, “A household switching from an older ‘G’ rated boiler will save on average £340 per year by upgrading to a newer ‘A’ rated boiler. The larger your home, the more you could save, with research showing that someone in a detached house switching from a G to A rated appliance could save as much as £570 every year.”

It might be a costly job initially, but the savings you’ll make as a result will soon equate to the amount you have paid for a new, far more energy-efficient, boiler. You might also qualify for a government-backed boiler grant, together with several other government-funded programmes, such as cavity wall insulation and loft insulation. Effective Home will be able to provide you with further details regarding this.

0800 Repair are experts in insulation installation, boiler repairs, boiler installations, heating care and more. If you’d like further information about how they can help you today, get in touch with a member of their dedicated, professional team – they’re always happy to hear from you.

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