James Elston

Published April 9, 2024

There’s little worse than that sinking feeling when your monthly energy bill arrives and it’s way higher than you thought it’d be. Even though it feels like you’ve been rationing the heating in your home, you’ve still been charged a small fortune.

Fortunately, there are plenty of steps you can take to make your home more energy efficient and start bringing those bills down.

Eco Happy is here to give you 10 tips for heating your home cheaply this winter. We’ll cover using electric heaters, replacing your boiler, and much more. By the end, you’ll have a plan in place to make sure the next bill isn’t so painful.

Top 10 Ways To Heat Your Home Cheaply

Here are our top 10 tips for keeping your bills as low as possible in 2024.

1. Use infrared electric space heaters

An infrared electric space heater heats you and the surfaces in your home directly rather than heating the surrounding air. This means they can be 100% efficient, as all the energy they use is being converted into usable heat.

On the other hand, the average combi boiler is around 92-94% efficient, meaning that 8-6% of the energy it uses to generate heat is wasted.

Granted, electricity is more expensive than natural gas in the UK, so you shouldn’t rely on infrared heaters too heavily. Yet, they don’t require prolonged warm-up times, making them far more efficient and cost-effective than traditional electric heaters.

2. Make the most of passive solar heating

If you have south-facing windows, you can utilise them to save money on your energy bills. On sunny days, open the curtains or coverings on these windows as soon as the sun starts shining through them in the morning.

You should keep the other windows in your home covered to reduce heat loss. As soon as the sun stops shining through your south-facing windows, close the window coverings.

This is a great way to maximise passive solar heating and reduce the need for central heating.

3. Close your fireplace’s flue

Many people are unaware of the fact that their wood fireplace removes more heat from a room than it adds. This is because a large amount of the heat generated by a fire escapes up the flue.

When your fireplace isn’t in use, warm air is still escaping up the flue, which means your heating system has to work harder to maintain the desired temperature.

So, when you’re not using your fireplace, ensure the flue is closed. Just remember to open it again the next time you use it!

4. Use a programmable thermostat

Using a programmable thermostat can reduce your heating costs in several ways, such as:

  • Energy-efficient features: A smart thermostat learns your habits and adjusts the heating schedule so that rooms are only warmed when you’re using them. Plus, they gauge the temperature outside and turn the heating down if necessary.
  • Smart scheduling: You can also programme a heating schedule based on your daily routine. This means the temperature is lowered automatically when you’re away from home or asleep, which can reduce your heating bill significantly.
  • Remote access: You can use your smartphone to control programmable thermostats when you’re away from home, allowing you to adjust the temperature and reduce energy waste.

5. Install solar panels

We’ve all heard about their many benefits, but are solar panels worth it?

Although installing solar thermal panels is a big initial investment, it can make it cheaper to heat your house compared to a traditional gas central heating system.

Solar thermal panels allow you to generate your own electricity which is used to heat water for your home’s heating system. The exact amount of money you’ll save on your bills depends on your energy usage, the size of your system, and the cost of electricity in your local area.

However, on average, a home with a 3.5 kilowatt-peak system saves around £160 to £420 per year.

Additionally, the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) enables you to sell the extra solar energy you generate to the national energy grid. So, you can generate money that can be used to offset what you pay for your energy.

6. Add or upgrade insulation

If your home is poorly insulated, it will be prone to severe heat loss and your gas boiler has to work even harder to keep it warm – a recipe for massive gas bills!

To save money, make sure your home is properly insulated by sealing your doors, walls, windows, and ceilings. If you have an attic, make sure you insulate it, as this is one of the biggest sources of heat loss.

Although the insulation materials will cost you, it’s certainly worth it in the long term.

7. Bleed your radiators

You should check your radiators regularly to make sure your gas boiler is circulating heat to them efficiently. If you can feel cold spots on your radiators, there may be trapped air in the system.

The best way to resolve this is to bleed your radiators to release the trapped air. Then, your gas boiler will be able to heat them properly again.

If you’re unsure of how to bleed a radiator, check out our handy guide.

8. Invest in rugs and curtains

Did you know that up to 10% of a home’s heat loss can be caused by uninsulated floors? However, the good news is that it’s pretty easy to prevent this.

If you have wooden or tiled floors, invest in some rugs to cover them up. This prevents a significant amount of heat loss and will help to keep those bills down. Likewise, a lot of heat is lost through a home’s windows – even when they’re closed. So, buying and hanging some curtains is a great way to minimise the heat that escapes through them.

This can make it cheaper to heat your home and should make your home even easier on the eye!

9. Rearrange your furniture

Rearranging the furniture in your home is a surprisingly good way to increase its heating efficiency. The most important thing is to ensure that there are no large pieces of furniture like media units, sofas, or bookcases blocking your radiators.

When these items are placed in front of radiators, they absorb the heat from them and reduce the amount of heat that’s circulated around the room. This can cause you to turn the heating up to achieve the desired temperature, leading to increased gas bills.

10. Replace your boiler

Of course, replacing a gas boiler or any other type of boiler is expensive. Still, after the initial investment, you could save plenty of money on your heating bills.

When your boiler isn’t running efficiently, it wastes a lot of energy, which means you pay more than you should for your bills. This is especially true if you have a boiler that’s 10+ years old.

For example, an old gas boiler might only be around 80% efficient, which means 20% of the energy it uses is wasted. On the other hand, a modern combi boiler is often around 94% efficient, meaning 94% of the energy it consumes is converted into usable heat.

By replacing your old boiler with a new one, you can drastically decrease your energy waste and make it far cheaper to keep your home warm.

Is It Cheaper To Heat Your Home With A Heat Pump Than A Boiler?

You’ve probably heard a lot of talk about air source heat pumps and ground source heat pumps in recent years. But how do heat pumps compare to traditional boiler systems?

The answer? They’re more expensive to buy and install, but far more efficient. In fact, an air source heat pump can achieve efficiency levels of 300% to 400%.

Plus, the Boiler Upgrade Scheme provides homeowners with up to £7,500 towards the cost of buying and installing heat pumps. This means installing a ground source or air source heat pump could be an excellent way to heat your home more cheaply this winter.

Are Space Heaters Dangerous?

Space heaters can pose safety risks if they’re not used properly within the home. Here are some guidelines for using them safely:

  • Space heaters should always be a minimum of three feet (one metre) away from combustible materials like bedding, furniture, and curtains.
  • The heater should be placed on a hard, level, and non-flammable surface.
  • Make sure you always turn it off whenever you leave the room.
  • Never place the heater near gas canisters, paint, or matches.
  • Don’t plug other electrical devices into the same outlet as the heater.

When buying a space heater, ensure the one you choose has safety features like an overheat sensor, a tip-over switch, and a touch sensor. These features are designed to minimise fire hazards.

Also, if you have children or pets in the home, place the heater somewhere where it can’t be knocked over.

Compare Boiler Installation Quotes With Eco Happy

If you decide to replace your boiler with a new one to reduce your energy bills, it’s not just the price of the unit you’ll need to consider. You also need to bear in mind that the installation costs will be pretty high.

That’s why you should compare boiler installation quotes with Eco Happy. Our online tool allows you to compare quotes from local installers within seconds, so you’re sure to get the best deal out there. This saves you money and takes the stress out of shopping around for the most affordable installer.

FAQs

Are electric boilers more cost-effective than gas boilers?

If you want to heat your home without gas, electric boilers are a decent choice, but they tend to be more expensive to run, as natural gas is cheaper than electricity in the UK. Electric boilers are also generally more expensive to buy and install than those running on gas.

On the plus side, they’re more efficient and environmentally friendly than gas boilers, with very low maintenance costs. Still, if you’re looking to save money on your monthly heating bills, a gas boiler is currently the best option.

How much does it cost to install solar panels?

The price of installing solar panels varies widely from around £5,000 to £11,000. The total cost is dependent on the size of the solar system and other factors like labour costs, the type of panels, and the inclusion of solar battery storage.

On average, it takes 9 to 12 years for homeowners to pay off their solar panels and start generating energy for free.

Who is eligible for the Boiler Upgrade Scheme?

To be eligible for the Boiler Upgrade Scheme in England or Wales, your property must be a home or small non-domestic building. Also, the commissioning date of the low-carbon heating system has to be on or after April 1st, 2022.

Additionally, your property must have a valid Energy Performance Certificate with no recommendations for cavity wall or loft insulation.

Final Thoughts

Although energy prices remain high, there are plenty of ways that you can heat your home more efficiently and cheaply. It could be as simple as investing in some rugs and curtains, or you may want to take a big step and install solar panels.

While some of these energy-saving tips require significant investment before you start saving money, others cost nothing or very little. Even rearranging your furniture can make it less expensive to heat your home.

James Elston

Boiler Expert


James Elston is the top boiler replacement and heating expert at Eco Happy. He has over 20 years of experience in the industry, focusing on Gas Safe boiler installations and offering home-heating and energy-saving solutions to homeowners across the UK. From sourcing the most energy-efficient combi boiler to providing specialist heating advice, James ensures that Eco Happy maintains the highest standards and best customer service.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *