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Eco-friendly ways to heat your home – 8 Top Tips from Kate @My_Plastic_Free_Home

The efficiency of home heating continues to be a high priority for homeowners and, even as the summer sun continues to shine, many homeowners still have one eye on the approaching colder months. That’s why we have once again teamed up with eco-influencer Kate from @my_plastic_free_home to share some of her favourite tips for helping to keep your heating system running as efficiently as possible. Kate says:

 

I’m guessing that you’ve already started thinking about ways to heat your home as efficiently as possible when the colder months set in, especially given the rising cost of energy. I know I certainly have! In light of this, Vaillant and I are bringing you some top tips to help keep your home warm when the cold weather starts, make our homes more energy efficient, and where possible, save on energy bills too.

1. First things first – have you bled your radiators? Bleeding your radiator involves relieving trapped air from your home’s heating system, and will help to increase heating performance. It can seem daunting if you’ve never done it before but it’s so important to regularly bleed them as it helps your heating system run more efficiently and can also help save you money on your heating bills long term.

Do you ever find that your radiators feel cool at the top when they are turned on? This is a sign that they may in fact need bleeding. But don’t worry as this is easy to do and there is plenty of helpful advice online to support you, including this article from Vaillant that tells you what tools you’ll need to do this and how to do it.

2. Secondly, have you had your boiler serviced? It’s important to get your boiler serviced every year. This helps keep your boiler running safely and efficiently (saving you money) and limits wear over time. Remember, only a certified Gas Safe Engineer can inspect and perform the service. You can find a Vaillant approved installer to service your boiler here (And if you rent – make sure your landlord books this for you!).

3. A third thing you can do is think about the placement of your furniture. Any heavy or large furniture placed in front of your radiators could make them inefficient and we do not want that my friends! Let that radiator do it’s thing! Also, if you have a radiator right under a window, thicker curtains can help prevent heat escaping as long as they don’t drape down over the top of, or covering the radiator, trapping all the heat behind them.

4. You can stop the heat leaving the room too quickly by having your curtains drawn when the heating is on and if you have draughty doors then draft excluders are also a great way to stop heat from escaping your rooms, plus they’re relatively cheap to buy (you could even roll up a towel and place it in front of draughty areas as a quick, inexpensive fix).

If you have draughty windows, consider adding some self-adhesive foam strips which are cheap and quite easy to install.

5. Another way to keep the heat in your room is to use radiator reflectors (which are inexpensive and available in most hardware shops). These bounce heat back into the room so you’re maximising every degree of heat produced by your boiler.

Even a 1-degree reduction in your room temperature could mean heating your home more efficiently and potential annual savings on your fuel bill. Every degree counts! By tweaking your central heating down by 1°C could result in a saving up to £128 a year on your heating costs.*

6. Smart controls. Smart heating controls are one of the best ways to keep your home at just the right temperature. They can also be retrofitted to your existing boiler, which is what we did when we had ours installed, and they ensure you only use exactly the right amount of energy your home needs.

Smart controls also allow you to control your heating remotely – so if you’re late home, you can delay the heating coming on. After all, there’s no point wasting energy and money heating an empty home. Furthermore, some heating controls, such as those made by Vaillant, use load or weather compensation, which is a feature that uses live weather data to tell your boiler how hard it needs to work to reach the right temperature without wasting any energy to get there.

7. When looking to make some energy efficient upgrades to your home, the best place to start is by making sure your walls are insulated with cavity wall installation. This is because the correct insulation can make a big difference to how much energy is needed to heat your home, and in turn, how much your energy bills are.

Whilst the costs of cavity wall insulation can vary depending on the size of your home, The Energy Saving Trust reports that homeowners could make back the installation cost in five year or less due to the yearly saving you could make on your bills.

Another important consideration is to ensure that if your condensate pipe (the pipe that carries the condense produced by your boiler) runs outside, that this is well insulated. Uninsulated condensate pipes have the potential to freeze in winter, which will stop your boiler from working altogether. Make sure that the condense can drain away freely, and where it runs outside, it is well insulated. Vaillant have a guide to help you thaw a frozen condensate pipe if this is an issue in your home.

8. Lastly, if you’re looking to upgrade your boiler this year consider looking into the boiler upgrade scheme. This provides grants to installers to help lower the upfront cost of upgrading your heating system from a boiler to a heat pump. This scheme has been open for grant applications and payments on the 23rd May so this is huge news if you are looking to upgrade your heating system upgrade your heating system and make it more eco-friendly. Depending on your eligibility you may be able to claim £5,000 off the cost and installation of an air source heat pump OR £6,000 off the cost and installation of a ground source heat pump. I’ve dedicated another blog post to this very topic so if you want to learn more, head here.

*USwitch https://www.uswitch.com/gas-electricity/news/2021/12/09/five-million-uk-households-set-thermostats-higher-than-lanzarote/