Simple ways to save on heating costs

Last updated: May 2024

Whilst the temperatures outside are dropping drastically, the direct opposite can be said of our energy bills. Creating a cosy recluse from bitter winter weather is undoubtedly going to be more costly in the current climate, and many households are rethinking their heating habits in line with this. From those more inexpensive, short-term solutions like sealing an unused chimney, to more permanent changes like loft insulation, we’re here to suggest 7 tried-and-tested ways of reducing your home’s energy usage in winter.

1. Turn your thermostat down

Simple but effective, turning your thermostat down is one of the quickest and easiest ways of reducing your heating costs. Changing your standard setting from 23°C to 22°C can be actioned within seconds, and can end up saving around £145 a year - for a very minimal, likely unnoticeable change in temperature. For every degree, you can expect to see the same savings - so reducing your heating from 21°C to 18°C can minimise costs by an impressive 15%. These extra degrees can usually be made up by adding extra layers - so make sure those thermals are brushed off and ready to go. For a deep dive into how turning your thermostat down can do wonders for your energy bills, take a look at our blog on the matter.

2. Prime your home for the winter chill

The influx of cold weather is good for something - it’s able to highlight those parts of your home that are notorious for heat loss, so you can minimise them as much as possible. Draught excluders for windows and doors, chimney balloons and pipework insulation are all inexpensive ways to keep cold gusts and heat loss at bay. Draught-proofing your home can save around £60 a year according to the Energy Saving Trust. Every little helps, and seeing as draught-free homes are more comfortable at lower temperatures, you’ll likely turn your thermostat down in reflection of this - accumulating some more substantial savings in the long-term.

3. Never heat empty rooms - switch to zoned heating

It seems painfully obvious - only heat the rooms that are in use. Unfortunately, with many centrally-heated homes, this is easier said than done. With an interconnected system, warming only one or two rooms at a time is impossible, as turning the heating on triggers the whole network to spring to life. Whilst using individual radiator valves can allow you to turn off radiators in unused rooms, it’s worth thinking about the efficiency of an interconnected system as a whole.

As electric heaters act as standalone, independent units, they are able to be switched on or off individually in relation to your specific needs. If you’re hunkering down with a novel in the conservatory, there’s no need for the spare bedroom upstairs to be getting warm - and with electric heating, it’s simply a case of turning off any units not in use, whether that’s manually or through a separate controller.

4. Integrate smart-controlled heating

Making sure your heating system is as easy to control as possible will increase its efficiency tenfold. Being able to implement changes quickly and intuitively will keep your home comfortable whilst minimising any excess energy usage. Smart control is the answer.

WiFi heating element

App control

Voice control

Motion sensor

Adaptive start

Geolocation

Open window detection

Energy usage statistics

Putting all of your heaters’ energy-saving features in the palm of your hand, smart control delivers lightning-fast alterations when connected to WiFi or Bluetooth, so you don’t even need to be in the same room to manage your heating. Opting for an electric radiator with in-built WiFi compatibility, like Ecostrad’s iQ Ceramic, means there’s no extra controllers or hubs to pay for - simply install the unit and download the Ecostrad Ecosystem app on a smartphone. Setting precise temperatures, choosing a specific mode or manufacturing a personalised heating schedule is all done in-app - so keeping an eye on your energy bills has never been so effortless.

Watch to find out more about how smart controls can help to trim running costs. 

5. Consider loft insulation

The UK notoriously has leaky homes - their energy-efficiency is some of the worst in Europe due to poor insulation. The Energy Saving Trust estimates a well-insulated loft can save up to £355 a year for a semi-detached house, rising to £590 for a detached house. As it costs about £590-£890 to insulate a loft, it will pay for itself in two years or so. Considering loft insulation has a life expectancy of around 40 years, it’s definitely a worthwhile investment, and can even be done DIY if your loft is easily accessible.

6. Heat people, not the room

Rather than instantly turning your heating on when there’s a chill in the air, try using more cost-effective methods like electric blankets and hot water bottles to warm yourself directly - instead of the room at large. Electric blankets typically cost between £25-50, and use just 3p an hour of electricity - even on their most powerful setting.

Going one step further, choosing a heating system with some form of infrared radiation output will ensure when the heating is turned on, the people in a room benefit directly from it - rather than the air. Infrared warmth travels in a straight line towards people and objects, warming them thoroughly, rather than heating the air.

When looking to cut costs on your heating bills, steer away, if possible, from convection-only heaters. Convection heats the air in a room, and if your home is particularly draughty, they will need to work harder to ensure the cooler air at the bottom of a room is warmed adequately. Heaters that emit infrared radiation - like electric radiators, infrared panels and electric patio heaters - heat up a heat retentive material, like ceramic stone or thermal oil, and stop drawing power once that material has been warmed. This heat is then radiated out into a space, keeping it warm without actually using energy - making infrared heaters some of the most efficient heating options on the market.

For a quick rundown on how infrared heating keeps running costs low, check out this video.

7. Rethink your hot water usage

Heating water makes up around 20% of household gas consumption. If you’re a fan of unwinding in a hot bubble bath at the end of the day, switching just one of these a week with a 4-minute shower can save £20 a year on heating costs and £11 on your water bills.

In fact, that 4-minute limit is a handy barometer in general. Reducing the amount of time you spend in the shower will reduce the amount of water you’ll use, and in turn, the energy needed to heat it. Having speedier 4-minute showers can save an average household £95 a year on their bills, and a further £60 on their water bill.

Other quick bathroom fixes include replacing any inefficient shower heads, switching to low-flow shower heads, and fitting tap aerators. All work to minimise the amount of hot water required, without impacting the wash and rinse effect - it’s a change you’re unlikely to notice on a day-to-day basis, except once those monthly bills roll in. Replacing old shower heads and fitting aerators can save between £50 and £100 respectively per annum, and fitting a low-flow shower head can reduce water consumption by a pretty striking 40%.

Make permanent savings by switching to electric

Whilst we’re all stocking up on simple changes we can make to reduce our energy bills, making a more permanent change to your home’s heating and insulation levels will ensure it relies less and less on gas consumption in years to come. Electric heaters are primed to trim energy usage and keep bills low without impacting on your everyday comfort, and with a range of designs, styles and sizes available, there’s a model perfect for every budget. Feel free to contact our friendly customer service team today if you’re planning on making the switch.

Key learnings

  • Small changes like draught-proofing, switching to a low-flow shower head and turning your thermostat down can have noticeable effects on your energy bills.
  • More permanent changes like loft insulation, switching to zoned heating and smart control can save energy substantially, so are a great option if you’re serious about improving your home’s energy-efficiency.
  • Switching to a heating system that emits some form of infrared warmth is a great step in reducing your energy bills. Heating people rather than the air, infrared heaters use around a third less energy than other forms of heating, without any sacrifice on comfort.

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