Five no cost tricks to make the most of your heating

Try these simple tips to stay warm and save energy this Winter.  

Read part two in this series, Five more ways to make the most of your heating

When the temperature drops, it's tempting to crank up the thermostat and keep rocking the beach wear all winter long.  But by mastering your heating controls and hunting down draughts, you can make sure it's only indoors that's warming up.

Here's five things you can do right now to save on heating without spending any money.

1. Heat your home to 18°C

18 is the magic number. With the thermostat at 18°C most people should be warm enough in jeans and a jumper. If that feels too cold, try bringing it down in stages, starting at a comfortable temperature and going down by one degree each week to give yourself time to adjust. 

Turning your thermostat down by one degree cuts your fuel consumption by up to 10%, so even a small change here can bring serious savings.

Don't worry if 18 still feels too cold though (older people tend to need higher temperatures) – each one-degree step cuts your fuel consumption by up to 10%, so even a small change here can bring serious savings.

2. Use your timer

If your boiler has a timer function, it's worth taking a minute to get the hang of it – with clever use of the timer, you can always wake up and come home to a warm house without leaving the heating on 24/7.

Remember that your house will take a while to heat up after you turn it on, and cool down after you turn it off, so try setting the timer so the heating kicks in 20 minutes before you wake up and switches off 15 minutes before you leave home.

In the evening, set it to come on 20 minutes before you get home from work, and turn off 20 minutes before you go to bed.

Not sure how to set your timer? There's a guide for that!

3. Don't heat what you don't use

This one's obvious, but easy to forget: only heat the rooms you use every day. If you've got a spare room, or any other bit of the house you don't spend much time in, turn those radiators down or off until you need them, and keep the doors closed so heat doesn't leak in from the rest of the house.

You can also keep temperatures a bit lower in hallways and corridors, as you'll never normally be in there for more than a couple of minutes at a time.

4. Revamp your radiators!

First of all, make sure that your radiators aren’t blocked with any furniture, and that you’re not drying clothes or towels directly on the radiator. A clear radiator will let warm air circulate around the whole room better.

Then, once they’re free and breezy, put tin foil or radiator panels between the wall and radiator to make sure as much heat as possible is going back into the room. Check out this guide if you need some help!

5. Hunt down hidden draughts

Draughtbusting time! Some leaks will be immediately obvious (if you can see daylight through it and it’s not a window, it could probably use some attention), but some are harder to spot. You'll often find big gaps where pipes or cables go into the wall: check behind the washing machine, under kitchen cupboards and around sinks and toilets. 

Check for draughts behind the washing machine, under kitchen cupboards and around sinks and toilets

These spaces can be a pain to reach, but because they're out of sight, you can get away with some improvised (ie ugly) techniques to block them up. Think scrunched up carrier bags, old socks, back issues of the Daily Mail – that sort of thing. 

Keen to do more to make the most of your heating? Take it to the next level with part 2 in our heating series

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Banner photo: Dan Goodwin, Creative Commons