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. 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.