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Heating on all the time or just when it’s cold?

Sep 14th 2021

An argument for the ages: is it more cost effective to keep the heater on low all the time or to turn it on and off as needed?

An argument for the ages: is it more cost effective to keep the heater on low all the time or to turn it on and off as needed?

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Which is the more energy-efficient of the two?

Those who prefer to keep their heating on say that it takes more energy to bring their home up to temperature compared to turning it on when it’s needed. Why would you waste time heating your home just to have it cool down again?

It’s self-evident that leaving your heater on 24 hours a day will result in increased fuel use. This is because some heat loss will always occur as a result of the difference in temperature between the outside and interior temperatures.

Therefore, if you leave your heating on all day, your heating system will continuously consume energy to maintain the indoor temperature.

However, the higher the heat loss from your house, the more energy will be required to maintain the inside temperature, which means that the expense of constantly running your heating will be very high.

That is why it is critical to ensure that your home is properly insulated and draught-proofed in order to minimise this heat loss. Insulating your home is an effective method to save money on your energy costs; this can include insulated hollow walls, a well-insulated loft, double-glazing, and draught-proofed doors.

The best energy-efficient way to heat your house is often to configure your heating system to turn on just when you need it.

Many more contemporary room thermostats also allow you to program various temperatures for different times of day, and some even allow you to design a separate plan for weekends.

When combined with radiator temperature controls (TRVs), the boiler timer and room thermostat provide the most energy-efficient method of heating your house.


Why not put it to the test?

If you’re still not convinced — and you have a well-insulated home — you may compare the cost of heating your home 24/7 versus the cost of setting your system to turn on at specific times of the day.

To get a sense of how much energy each option consumes, keep your heating on continuously for a week, followed by a week with your heating programmed to come on twice daily.

You’ll need to collect meter readings at the start and end of each week, and from the data, you’ll be able to determine which technique is the most energy-efficient for you, provided the weather and temperature outside are comparable during the two weeks.

Insulating your residence

Insulation is the easiest way to increase your home’s energy efficiency, but where do you begin?

If your house features a loft area, this is an excellent location to begin. Loft insulation is not only inexpensive and simple to install, but it also saves a significant amount of money on heating.

If you already have loft insulation but it was put some years ago, you may want to check the levels. Due to the fact that older loft insulation is generally less effective than today’s suggested levels, you may need to supplement your insulation.
Even if you already have loft insulation, you may save a lot of money by investigating wall insulation. While wall insulation is more expensive to install than loft insulation and will almost certainly require assistance, it will pay for itself within a few years.

There are two forms of wall insulation. If your home was built after the 1930s, it is likely that it has hollow walls. Cavity walls are made up of an inner and an outer wall, and cavity wall insulation simply fills the space between them. This is accomplished by drilling tiny holes in the walls and filling them with insulating material.

Although insulating solid walls is more complex and perhaps more expensive, it is nevertheless feasible. For additional information, see our guide to wall insulation.

Even if you do not choose insulation, there are some modest adjustments you may do to enhance your home’s energy efficiency. Draught proofing is the most fundamental method and entails sealing any gaps around the edges of doors and windows, but also includes chimneys and letterboxes.

The best part about draught-proofing is that it is very affordable and easy to install. Expanding foam, for example, is readily available at nearly any home improvement store and may be used to quickly fill gaps around windows.

The second apparent source of heat loss is through your windows, but this too is a simple fix. While double-glazing will ultimately save you money on energy costs, it is also rather expensive to install. You may, however, minimise heat loss by closing curtains when the temperature lowers and opening them when the sun comes out. Similarly, insulating coverings within curtains might aid in further heat reflection.

Changing your energy supplier

If you’re seeking additional methods to save money on your energy bills, conduct an energy comparison.

It takes only a few minutes and may result in hundreds of pounds saved on your energy costs – all without touching the thermostat.

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