Heating water in your home efficiently

Heating water isn’t something we can easily do without. Not only do we use water for our cooking - and of course, our legendary tea consumption - but there’s also our central heating system to consider.

For some consumers, heating water could account for more than half their total fuel bills. This means paying attention to how efficiently we run our heating systems and how we heat water in our kitchens, is very important when it comes to saving money on our energy bills.

What can I do to lower my water heating costs?

Most of us have a central heating system that uses a boiler and radiators. In such a system, the boiler heats hot water that is then pumped through our radiators, heating the house. The boiler also heats water for use through our hot water taps in the kitchen and bathroom.

While most systems will use gas, others may run on oil, LPG, coal or even wood.

The most important thing you can do to ensure you use no more energy than you need to is to understand your heating system. This might sound obvious, but to some, they’re far from straight forward to understand.

Make sure you only heat water when you really need it or use timed systems such as Economy 7 or 10 meters. Use timed systems properly so they’ll give you hot water and heating when you need it. For example, if you’re working or have children at school you may need hot water and heating in the morning and evening – but you might not want it on all day. Turn systems down if you’re going to be away for a few days (although be careful of doing switching them off in cold weather when pipes might freeze.)

Many systems allow you to control how you run your heating and hot water separately, allowing you to keep your house nice and toasty without necessarily producing a hot tank of water that you don’t use.

Turning the heating off as temperatures outside improve – or when we have warm spells, will also add up.

If you have a combi-boiler – a boiler which provides hot water directly, whenever it’s required, and does not need a hot water cylinder - these are often more efficient as they produce hot water on demand.

If you have an older boiler, using your immersion sensibly in summer months might be better than the whole system firing up. Just make sure you don’t leave it on as it will start to add up.

Another way that you could lower your water heating costs is to heat your water to a lower temperature. If you have a system that allows you to adjust the temperature of your water and/or a room thermostat for the central heating, turning these down, even just a small amount, could make a difference to your bills.

In the kitchen, only boil what water you need and when you need it. Don’t boil a whole kettle for one cuppa or a large saucepan of water to cook a few potatoes or to boil an egg.

Investing to save

There are many investments you can make that may save money on your energy. They range from the cheap and modest to much larger improvements. Here’s a sample:

  • Make sure your hot water tank is insulated with a jacket if it needs one and store bedding or towels around it for extra insulation.
  • If you have an old cistern (tank) that isn’t insulated, then fit a tank jacket.
  • Insulate any hot water pipes from tanks leading to your taps.
  • Get your boiler serviced regularly so that it’s functioning efficiently.
  • Fix any dripping taps and don’t leave them running unnecessarily, for example while washing up or brushing your teeth.
  • If your house has a very old boiler, it may be worth replacing it with a modern system. It may cost now but it could save you money in the long run!
  • Consider a solar powered system to run alongside your traditional boiler.

Saving energy helps reduce your gas and electricity bills. For more helpful tips on saving money, visit our energy hub for details or if you want to see if you can save when you switch supplier, have a look at our energy deals now