5 tings to think about

Tip of The Month: 5 things you can do right now to improve the efficiency of your central heating

Wasting energy on anything is never a good thing. Just recently, I completed a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle, only to find that – right at the end – one of the pieces was missing. Now, that was a complete waste of energy.

But on a more serious note, when winter comes around and we begin to rely on our central heating to keep us warm and cosy, we want to make sure that we’re not literally going to be burning our money away. So here are my top 5 tips for increasing the output of your central heating whilst reducing your monthly energy bill.


1. Bleed your radiators
This is such a simple fix, but one that is so often overlooked.
First, check to see if the radiator is giving off enough heat. See whether the heat is consistent from the bottom to the top. If you find that the top of the radiator is noticeably cooler, you definitely need to bleed it.

It’s a simple job that requires a special key to turn the valve at the top of the radiator in an anti-clockwise direction. You are effectively releasing built-up air in the system, and this will enable the heat to circulate more effectively, increasing the temperature as it does so. If in doubt, learn more about bleeding a radiator.


2. Check your boiler pressure
Usually, in the right-hand corner of the control panel on your boiler, you’ll find a pressure dial. The numbering will go from 1 to 4. You want this to be around 1.5 to maintain the correct amount of pressure.

If it’s below 1, you need to increase the pressure. To do so, make sure that you turn the power off at the mains and allow the boiler to cool down.
Locate the key on the underside of the boiler (this might be contained inside a removable tray). You’ll see that it has two small lugs on the top and side.

Locate what looks like a small white cube, insert the key in the slot next to it and turn it until it is facing you. Then, very gently begin to turn the white cube anti-clockwise. You will start to hear the water flowing into the boiler. Whilst this is happening, keep your eye on the pressure dial. When the needle reaches 1.5, turn off the cube in a clockwise direction.

Your boiler is now at the correct pressure, so just turn the key back around and take it out. Place the key back into its original location, slip the tray back on, and turn the electric back on. Now you’re in business.


3. Reduce your thermostat temperature
By reducing your usual temperature setting by as little as 1 degree, you can save up to 10% off your heating bill. And the best bit is you are unlikely to even notice the difference in warmth.

If it’s not that cold outside, but not feeling overly warm in the home, would it really hurt to just put a jumper on for a few hours until it gets really cold?
It will not only save you a considerable amount of money in the long term, it’ll also go some way to reducing your carbon footprint.


4. Set your timer to the correct time
This is another overlooked, yet simple, little trick to save you money without compromising on comfort.

When we programme our thermostats, we usually base them on a familiar routine that involves getting up, going out, and returning at certain times. But, perhaps it’s time to have a rethink about the accuracy of those times, and to evaluate whether your routine has actually changed. If so, tweak your timer accordingly.

Also, you may currently have your morning timer set for an hour and a half before you surface. This is probably unnecessary, and simply setting it to come on 45 minutes before getting up could well suffice. This could equate to a huge saving over the winter months.


5. Turn down the radiators in rarely-used rooms
It’s easy to forget the rooms we don’t use too often. It is highly likely that the radiators are happily working away at the same temperature as every other radiator in the house, but with no one to benefit from them. In other words, it’s a complete waste of money.

Check the rads in the rooms you use the least and just turn them off at the valve.
And whilst you’re there, see if the heat they do emit is running efficiently. If not, refer back to No.1 on this list.

So, there you have it. I hope at least one or two of these tips will make this coming winter a little more comfortable for you. Remember, if you’re ever in any doubt, just get in touch.

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