What's the Most Efficient Way to Heat Your House?

Heating efficiency chart with money stacked on top

The internet is full of information, handy hints and ‘hacks’ on the most efficient way to run central heating and the cheapest way to keep a home warm. The advice changes on an almost daily basis and lots of the articles you’ll find are written by energy companies or product manufacturers who want to drive sales.

Here at Great Rads, we do sell radiators, but have nothing to profit from your central heating working anything but efficiently and to its optimal potential, so we can offer impartial advice on what’s really the most efficient way to heat your house.

Is it cost-effective to leave central heating on?

Public opinion seems to swing between favourite central heating working on a timer basis and leaving radiators turned on at all times on a low setting. The question should be rather than “is it cost effective to leave central heating on?” rather “is it energy efficient to leave central heating on?”. It is logical that the longer heating is on, the higher the bills will be – and so too the emissions will be higher. In order to be as energy efficient as possible, central heating should only be switched on when required.

If a timer system isn’t adequate enough to keep rooms a comfortable temperature as you need them, installing a thermostat in each room can help vary the ambience. This poses the question though; is it cheaper to leave your thermostat at one temperature? Not necessarily! Varying temperatures and thermostats between rooms can help prevent radiators working extra hard in rooms they don’t need to, so can even out the expenditure on energy bills. After all, why pay extra to heat a room you rarely use? Don’t forget that you can adjust the output of heat in each room by using your radiator settings. If you frequently find that your heating is stiflingly hot in a certain room, try turning your radiator’s output down in that room.

Do thermostatic radiator valves save money?

Thermostatic Radiator Valves, or TRVs, are self-regulating valves that can be installed onto radiators connected to a central heating system. Thermostatic Radiator Valves sense the air temperature in a room and adjust the flow of hot water within to achieve the optimal temperature for that space. Providing Thermostatic Radiator Valves are installed correctly and aren’t attempting to heat to a temperature that is too hot, they save money for homeowners or tenants by lowering energy costs.

Thermostatic Radiator Valves aren’t the only way of keeping your central heating energy efficient. There are also tips homeowners can implement:

  • Remember to turn your central heating off entirely when you’re out of the house for a prolonged period – there’s no need to heat an empty home!
  • Ensure your home is properly insulated so no unnecessary heat is lost through walls or ceilings. Add radiator insulation behind each radiator for an extra boost
  • Close your windows! If your heating is on and your windows are open, the air will just flow right out. While this sounds like common-sense, we all frequently forget this one!
  • If your boiler is over 10 years old, consider replacing it with a more energy-efficient model. There has been considerable improvement in this area throughout the last decade
  • Consider installing smart heating controls so that you’re able to turn heating on and off and turn it up and down even when you’re out of the house
  • If you have any visible pipework, insulate it! Pipes are often now incorporated in interior design but being out in the air means they can lose heat, fast
  • If you have a system boiler, buy a cylinder jacket for it. These give an extra layer of insulation and can save up to £20 a year in energy bills
  • Don’t be tempted by electric storage heaters for spaces that don’t have radiators in. These work well short-term but are very costly to use and are rarely very efficient
  • Switch providers! Don’t forget to compare energy company tariffs on a regular basis and use an online comparison tool to find which is best for you. Be aware that some providers will contract you for a certain time period within which you may be required to pay a lump sum fee for switching elsewhere.

Of course, as a radiator retailer, we must also advise you that newer radiators are designed to be considerably more energy efficient than older appliances. In order to calculate which new radiator may work best for your space, use a BTU (British Thermal Unit) Calculator. Or, if you’re not sure what you need or what will work best for you, get in touch with the Great Rads team! We don’t do home visits but we’re happy to review photos or floorplans, or just chat.


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