Guide to Reducing Winter Heating Costs
Ways and amounts of heat loss a home can suffer.
Heat loss breakdown
Your heating bills are not just down to your boiler! they are mainly down to heat loss! If you can prevent your home losing heat, your boiler wont need to generate as much to put the heat back into your home.
- 35% of your heat is lost through your walls.
- 25% of your heat is lost through your roof.
- 15% of your heat is lost through your doors.
- 15% of your heat is lost through your floor.
- 10% of your heat is lost through your windows.
During winter, heating your home comprises the largest portion of your total energy consumption and cost. Is your boiler among the 95% of 800,000 of homes that have no manual or programmable controls? Consider, too, that over 70% of these lack the minimum controls needed to meet building regulations, such as a timer, room thermostat and thermostatic radiator valves. This guide aims to provide up-to-date information and practical tips to help you reduce your winter heating costs.
Top sources of household heat leaks - and how to find them
Outside Inspection of your home
Finding out exactly where you're losing heat is the first step toward saving up to 30% per year on your heating costs. Begin by inspecting the outside of your home at every place where different building materials meet, including exterior corners, outdoor garden taps, where outside surfaces and chimneys meet, and where the building foundation and exterior brickwork meet.
Check around windows, pipes and cables entering the house where draughts can get in and heat can get out!
Outside taps, it may seem a small point, but did you fill round the hole for the pipe? There may be lots of little things entering your house building up to a bigger heat loss than you realise!
Seems obvious, but are you double glazed, a big window like this, that isnt double or even triple glazed could give enough heat loss to need another radiator in the room just to balance it.
Inside Inspection of your home
Inside your home, check for cracks and gaps around electrical outlets, switch plates, door and window frames, electrical and gas service entrances, skirting boards, draught excluders around doors, fireplace dampers, loft hatches, cable TV and telephone lines, air conditioners, vents and fans, the area surrounding pipes and wires, letter boxes, and the condition of sealant. Windows and doors deserve close attention when you're looking for leaks. If they rattle, check seals and sealant or consider replacing them. If new windows are too costly, you might install secondary glazing, which can be fitted over existing windows.
This socket is neatly fitted, but some can be badly fitted with gaps to cold walls and no insulation.
Check up inside your fireplace, is the damper fitted correctly?
Have a good look round your windows, no point in having double glazing if there are gaps or badly applied sealant.
Check the insulation in your home. Reduce heat loss through ceilings and walls by increasing the level of insulation, use sealant and draught excluders around all ductwork and outlets, and make sure that a vapor barrier is in place under the loft insulation. Wall insulation is sometimes difficult to check, but can be measured by removing the cover plate from an electrical outlet and using a thin, long stick to pull out a bit of insulation for examination. (Make sure the outlet isn't "live.")
Check your loft insulation. is it being compressed by years of belongings being piled up on it?
After you've conducted your own energy audit, consider following up with a professional home energy audit. The information you've already determined will help a professional assess all the possibilities to save on your energy and heating costs.
Timers, thermostats, and radiator valves
Mr Central Heating has great options to help you take control of your home heating use and expense. The best right now include the UV Gold unvented heating control pack with all the controls you need for a single pumped installation of a heating and hot water system from an unvented cylinder. The pack consists of a 24-hour or 7-day programmer, 2 port motorised valve, an electronic dial room thermostat and 12-way wiring centre. Another choice is the Salus 2-Port Motorised Valve Control Pack. Both are priced under one hundred.
A thermostat may be your best choice and we have a full selection of models for every need and budget. Honeywell's 1 Day Programmable model is our most popular, priced under fifty-five, and a favorite Salus model is among several compatible with your PC or smartphone though an existing broadband connection. Vaillant's wireless programmable room thermostat offers 3 independent time settings per day and is suitable for use with Vaillant ecoTEC boilers.
Radiator valves are indispensible for regulating room temperature and Mr Central Heating has a full range of the most functional and most decorative models anywhere. The Bentley Gothic antique brass TRV (thermostatic radiator valve) twin pack from Evolve has a reversible valve and a matching lockshield valve. To select the desired room temperature, simply rotate the wheel handle clockwise or anti-clockwise. The Elegance Wave antique copper TRV twin pack with lockshield is a stylish alternative to regular white and chrome sets without breaking the bank. Manual radiator valves are very economical and we stock a full line of Evolve models for every configuration.
Home energy upgrades to reduce heating costs
If your heating system or boiler is over 15 years old, consider replacing it with a new and more energy efficient model. Mr Central Heating has a system for every budget with prices starting under six hundred. Change packs include the reliable and efficient Heatline Capriz Plus 24kw combination boiler, with thermostatic radiator valves and a room thermostat - so you can upgrade your heating system with confidence that you are meeting building regulations part L. Other choices are the Vaillant Ecotec Pro 24he part L boiler change pack ; Potterton Gold 24he part L combi-boiler change pack ; Baxi Duo-Tec 24HE part L boiler change pack ; and the popular Baxi Platinum 40HE part L boiler change pack.
Selecting a heating system
Before selecting a home heating system consider four questions: What is your budget for a new heating system? What is the efficiency rating of the boiler you're considering? Do you plan any building or remodeling that would require the boiler to be moved in future? Do you plan to insulate your home or replace the windows? We'll examine these questions in the following guides.