Five hot tips to keep warm and save you some pounds
It’s beginning to get colder and that means the time to whack on the heating again is looming. But how do you keep the bills under control and your system energy efficient? Julia Gray reports.
1 Many older radiators can't be adjusted, so they're either on or off, which isn't flexible or energy efficient. Fitting adjustable valves to the radiators, preferably thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs), can give you more control over the output of each radiator.
"I would always recommend fitting TRVs, as they offer individual room comfort and save energy by not allowing rooms to overheat," says Martyn Bridges of boiler manufacturer Worcester, Bosch Group (www.worcester-bosch.co.uk).
"They regulate or cut off the flow of hot water to individual radiators, while the programmer and room thermostat control the heat to the whole house."
There are some rooms where TRVs aren't usually fitted, including bathrooms, halls and landings - here try chrome Verona valves instead (£10.99 for an angled or straight pair, Screwfix). These valves look more attractive than most, are very reasonably priced and come with a three-year guarantee.
2. If your central heating system hasn't been updated in years, replacing the radiators and pipework can be a good idea. Most modern radiators are more efficient than old ones, so you should be able to get smaller ones that produce more heat.
"Replacing the pipework or radiators doesn't happen that often, but is, perhaps, a sensible move if the system is 30 or 40 years old, depending on the condition of the pipework and radiators," says Bridges.
3. It may sound obvious, but if you cover radiators with curtains or put furniture in front of them, you'll block much of the heat and stop it circulating around the room.
If you can't move the furniture, consider moving or changing the radiators instead - vertical radiators are ideal when there's little free wall space.
4. A simple, but effective way to get more out of your radiators is to fit radiator foil behind them - the foil reflects heat back into the room, so you benefit from more of it.
This is an especially good idea on external walls. Also, central heating and hot water pipes that give off heat should be insulated to reduce the amount of heat loss, to save you money.
5. Did you know that turning down your room thermostat by just one degree celsius could reduce your heating bills by as much as 10%?
Setting the thermostat to between 18°C and 21°C should ensure your home maintains a comfortable temperature, and your central heating system won't have to work as hard to reach the desired temperature.
Home comfort: some simple steps can keep your house energy efficient
If you love a brilliant gadget, check out the Bosch PLR 50 C laser measurer (£119.99, John Lewis).
This compact, lightweight and very clever digital measurer takes the hard work out of measuring and calculating, by doing it for you.
The PLR 50 C has a useful spirit-level function and measures up to 50m in multiple ways, including area, volume, and single and continuous distances.
It has an easy-to-use touch screen to guide you through the different functions, plus a free PLR measure&go app, which gives lots of added extras, including transferring your measurements via photo to your smart device within seconds.
If you're already thinking about Christmas gifts for a keen DIYer, this is one device to add this to the list.
There's no need to call in a handyman to foil-back your radiators - in fact, you don't even need proper foil-backing from the DIY store, kitchen foil will work just as well.
Cut the foil into a sheet the size of the radiator you're backing and daub wallpaper paste onto the not-so-shiny side.
Position directly behind the radiator and fix to the wall.
It might be worth using a large piece of cardboard or wood, slotted down between the wall and the back of the radiator, to make it easier to press the foil into place.
Your house will be feeling toastier in no time.