This guide will help you understand the typical energy consumption and costs of gas heating and how to reduce them.
We are now heading into winter with the coronavirus restrictions increasing across Scotland and the UK. Many of us will be working from home or staying indoors more much than usual during winter. In fact, an estimated 16.8 million people will stay at home this winter amid the coronavirus outbreak.
In the UK, households used an estimated 15% more heating in March 2020 than at the same time in 2019. An increase of 15% is a significant increase across the entire cold season. The average annual cost for heating and hot water using gas in the UK is £542, based on using around 12,000kWh a year. So that’s an increase of over £80 for the average home.
This article takes a look at how you can reduce your gas heating costs while keeping your home warm and cosy this winter.
What affects energy consumption
Understanding what affects the performance of your heating is the first step to reducing your heating costs.
The age of your home, its size, the number of external walls, and the quality of your insulation will all affect the efficiency of your heating system and have a considerable impact on energy consumption and costs.
If your radiator is too small for the room, it will struggle to reach a suitable temperature, especially in the colder months, and this will use more energy. And if you get a radiator that is too large, you’ll probably pay more than you needed to.
If you live in a house with modern insulation, then controlling your heating in the winter is easy. You can set the thermostat to a comfortable 20-23℃ and let your system do the rest. However, if you take the same approach with an older home or a home with poor insulation and out-dated windows, your heating will cost you significantly more.
Another major factor in how much energy you use is how long you spend in your home throughout the year. For example, a young working couple may have different heating requirements compared with a retired couple. As we’ve mentioned, this winter will see the vast majority of us staying at home more than any other winter in modern history.
How efficient is gas heating?
Nearly all modern gas boilers are A-rated condensing boilers. Modern gas condensing boilers are very efficient (some more than 90%), so you get a good return on every unit of energy.
Of course, the cost for each of those units will depend on your gas tariff. It’s essential to shop around every year to ensure you’re getting the best possible deal on your energy.
If you have recently bought a new gas boiler or are planning to buy one, you can be confident that it will be efficient. Compared with an old G-rated gas boiler, you could save up to £650 per year on heating with a modern A-rated condensing boiler.
Replacing a standard gas boiler with a very efficient modern condensing boiler is surprisingly straightforward. You can contact us for some advice about replacing your old gas boiler.
If you will be working from home this winter or will just be at home more, a modern gas boiler is ideal for heating your home consistently and efficiently. But it’s important to make sure your gas boiler is serviced every year to keep it running efficiently and lasts as long as possible. Contact us about a service before winter sets in.
Controlling your costs
So what can be done to reduce our ever-increasing heating bills as winter approaches, especially since we’ll be spending more time living and working from home?
Upgrade to smart heating controls
Using the right controls in the right way can help you minimise energy consumption by ensuring each room is at the right temperature for comfort. This will keep your home cosy in all weathers and cut your energy bills.
Modern smart controls allow you to have greater control over your home’s heating. This gives you access to your thermostat when you’re on the move from any Wifi-enabled device like your phone – or simply from the comfort of your sofa. They make it easy to stay in control of temperatures and that means staying in control of costs.
Switch energy suppliers
Energy companies are looking for new customers at this time of year, so there’s likely to be lots of incentives on offer for switching. For example, using MSE’s Cheap Energy Club could save around £100’s a year by comparing and helping you switch energy suppliers without you having to do too much research online.
Turn your thermostat down by 1°C
The simple act of turning down your thermostat by 1°C can save you around £80 each year (based on the average household energy bill in the UK). This simple act can generally reduce heat loss by around 10%.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to endure a cold house. Simply lower your thermostat setting by one degree and see how you go. If you feel too cold, just bump it up. Every degree will help.
Reduce heating when while sleep
You don’t need a warm house when you’re sleeping. Reducing your heating to around 18 degrees is generally a comfortable level for sleep. Maintaining a day time temperature in your home at night will increase heat loss. You can then time the heating so that when you wake up, the house has been pre-warmed for you.
Only heat the rooms you use
By only heating the area where you are most active and closing the doors, the heat generated in that room will remain there.
Use localised heating controls
Turning the temperature down to a reasonable level (for example, 18 degrees) in the rooms you don’t use as much during the day and overnight will save money over the course of the winter.
Install effective insulation
Cavity wall insulation can cut around £115 off your heating bill each year, for example.
You can fit draught excluders to outside doors, windows, and letterboxes to help keep heat inside.
New double glazing
Replacing all your old windows with modern double glazing is a significant investment. But, if you plan to stay in your home for the long-term, you could save you around £135 each year by stopping heat from escaping.
Stay warm and comfortable this winter
This article has focused on cutting your costs this winter. But when you are making decisions about your home’s heating bills, always consider staying safe, warm, and comfortable first.
Staying warm and comfortable is especially important this year.
Need some central heating advice? We’re here to help
Our experienced heating engineers can perform assessments of your heating system to identify where you can save you money.
Call our friendly team on 0800 3899 463 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 5pm) for help, or use our online enquiry form.
We supply, service, and install new, modern and efficient gas boilers to customers right across the East Coast of Scotland.