Is it cheaper to leave the central heating on all the time or to switch it on and off so it’s used only when you most need it? Ultimately, you want your home central heating system to consume less energy so that your gas bill isn’t too high.

Table of Contents:

This article is for all of you who: 

  • want to become more energy-efficient;
  • save more than a few pounds on bills;
  • help the environment by reducing their carbon footprint.

“So, should I keep my heating on all the time or not?”

You could leave your central heating on all day, controlled by the thermostat. Or you could set your central heating to come on at certain times of the day with a timer. But which one is better? Well, this depends on a few factors that we will explore here.

Leaving the central heating on all day means that your boiler has to constantly burn gas to keep the temperature of your house at the required level that you have set.

By setting your central heating to come on only at certain times of the day, although your boiler won’t be constantly burning gas, it will have to work harder to heat your home when it does come on as heating up a cold house requires more energy.

There are a couple of factors that will determine which home heating option might be best for you and your family.

Home insulation

If you have double glazing, carpeted floors throughout your home, loft insulation and wall insulation, then we can safely say that your home is very well insulated.

Your home may be more energy efficient by keeping the central heating on constantly at a reasonable temperature setting. Only a small amount of heat will be lost throughout the day so the overall monthly cost might not be as much as heating a house from the cold state once or twice a day.

Older buildings and houses may not have double glazing, unused open fires, gaps and cracks and generally not capable to retain heat very well.

If this is the case, then you may be more energy-efficient if you only heat your home at certain times of the day. Most people are away from home during the day so heating an empty house just doesn’t make sense. Your boiler will have to work harder than in a well-insulated property to keep your home warm. This alone will impact energy consumption.

Gas central heating boiler model

If your home has an older model boiler, your energy consumption is going to be even higher. Modern boilers are very efficient whereas older models are likely to be much less efficient. Some reach as low as 65% compared to a modern condensing boiler that’s around 90% efficient.

If you are considering to upgrade or replace your old boiler, it is definitely worth contacting us to find out more about what type of boiler will best suit your needs.

As a starting point, you can read our boiler section, but it’s definitely worthwhile to speak to one of our Gas Safe registered boiler engineers who can perform a thorough analysis of your home and your requirements, and provide you with a free no-obligation quote for your new boiler installation.

If you do have a poorly insulated and/or an older boiler, it could be much more cost-effective if you only heat your home only at the times when you most need it. For most of us, that would be the early morning and throughout the evening during the week. If you set the timer for your heating to come on about half an hour before you are back from school or work, you shouldn’t even notice that the house has been cold.

Radiator efficiency

Unless a flow meter scrutinises for boiler control, you should leave one radiator without a TRV and keep it running all the time. You can fine-tune the rest of the heating system with self-regulating TRVs in every room where you have a radiator installed. This way, you will pay only for the heat when you most need it, and also minimise the risk of frost damage.

Yet, if you wear an extra pair of socks during the chilly months, chances are your radiators will become old and less efficient over time. Similar to boilers, outdated radiators – 15-20-years-old, to be exact – could be the reason for the “fading” efficiency and rising energy bills. So, it’s worth being conscious of their performance. 

For instance, sludge and dirt in the pipes may cause insufficient heating, meaning that it will take more time for the radiators to reach the set temperature. A central heating power flush is a valuable service that will solve this problem. If the radiators keep on working harder or all the time to heat your house, even after the service, then it’s time to consider radiator replacement.

Apart from ensuring central heating safety, the new radiators can boost your heating efficiency up to 50%. Expect your home to warm up faster, too. And the best part is that the absurdly high utility bills will become a thing of the past. 

tip

Installing the right radiators is the key to keeping your home at a comfortable temperature, without always fussing around the thermostat. But while most people look up radiator sizes first, this is not the only and most important factor to consider. For example, the latest units are smaller than their predecessors, yet they can deliver just as much heat (sometimes even more!).

To estimate how much heat is required for each room, we advise you to use a handy British Thermal Unit (BTU) calculator like this one. The BTU value gives you the required radiator output based on your room’s dimensions, window size, and wall material. And once you have the results, you can filter the radiators by BTU output and hone in search of the units that work best for your heating needs.

Related: Do You Need a Powerflush? How to Powerflush a Central Heating System

Test your energy consumption

The best way to test your energy consumption is to take regular readings from your gas meter. Smart meters make it even easier to monitor energy consumption in your home so you might consider investing in one.

Why not test both methods to see which suits you best and which uses less energy? Heat your home constantly for a week by setting the thermostat. Next week simply monitor heating your home by setting the timer and compare the results to determine what works best for you.

Is your heating system in need of some maintenance?

The heating system is complicated and a lot of things can go wrong during use. If you’re experiencing trouble with your boiler, or radiators, don’t hesitate to call a professional. The reliable boiler specialists from Fantastic Services are always here for you!

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Takeaways

  • Energy efficiency depends a lot on your home insulation;
  • Investing in a newer boiler would help you with saving energy;
  • If you’re not well insulated and you have an older boiler, it’s not recommended to leave your heating on at all times.

In our day and age, energy efficiency is important not just for your wallet, but also for the environment. You could reduce your carbon footprint and save some money on heating bills if you use your central heating system intelligently. And if you need to insulate, or replace your boiler, the Fantastic Services team is here for you.

Image source: Zvone/shutterstock.com

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Do you keep your heating on at all times? Tell us in the comments!

  • Last update: June 19, 2020

Posted in Plumbing Tips

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