As the temperatures begin their predictable autumnal fall, most families across the UK have already, or will very soon be considering, turning that thermostat once more. If you are like a third of Brits, perhaps you’re still arguing about it. When you do finally reach consensus however – then another argument begins – where to set the thermostat? Until recently the official advice has been to set your thermostat to 21C and leave it well alone. If it’s already warm enough the heating stays off, and if it’s colder it will spring to life and return your dwelling to a more appropriate temperature.
Things are changing.
According to The Daily Mail, one in 20 thermostats are set at 23C. Now even discounting for the highly prized and much exalted nature of The Daily Mail, there is probably a wisp of truth in that. If we take a leaf out of our parents books and “put a jumper on” instead of cranking up the thermostat to a few degrees from nuclear there are savings to be had.
But just how much?
For an ‘average’ sized home that is ‘averagely’ insulated, ‘averagely’ occupied, with an ‘averagely’ efficient boiler, and all round generally quite average each degree your thermostat is lowered is calculated to save £75 a year. On average, you understand. That could swing in both directions but if like me you like fresh air even if it’s practically baltic outside you stand to save even more than that.
If we take on board the latest advice from a recent study we can see that actually we’re all just as comfortable at 18C (with that jumper on) as we are at 21C in a t-shirt and flip-flops. That 5C shaving from your thermostat – as well as reducing your carbon footprint by 3/10ths of China for the eco-warriors amongst us – it will also on average axe £375 a year off your heating bill.
That’s worth repeating – so I will. Set your thermostat to 18C and throw on a jumper – and save £375 a year.
One of the biggest things you can do to cut your energy bills and heat your home more effectively is to review your insulation. Cavity walls, lofts, double-glazing, and so on. Without a pleasantly insulated place in which to put your home heat it’s a tragic waste to then see it come out of your radiators, whistle past your ears, up into the loft and straight out to melt the snow on your roof, rather than staying in the room and keeping you warm.
Don’t heat the street
Radflek recently got in touch about their line of radiator reflectors. As part of their #WinterWarmup campaign they sent me one of their products to test out. The premise is quite simple and looks appealingly easy, even for the most frigid of DIY avoiders and the numbers they quote and thermal images they present are quite scary. Up to 45% of the heat energy radiated by your radiators goes into heating up the wall and the street rather than you and the room you’re in. By simply reflecting this potential wasted heat back out in to the room, you will reach the desired temperature both more quickly, and more cheaply, as your boiler won’t have to fire for nearly as long.
I will be reviewing Radflek more fully in a future post so stay tuned. They reckon you’ll earn back the cost of buying their product in a year and with a very long predicted life span for Radflek you’ll soon be quids in.
Don’t “put the thermostat up”
The Telegraph recently conducted some research and it reckons 35% of Brits turn up the thermostat to heat the room more quickly. It doesn’t. It just wastes energy and probably makes you too hot. Your heating system isn’t like your car in that the harder you push the accelerator the faster you go. Your heating system will plod away at the same speed bringing up your home temperature whether you set it at 18C or 188C. It just takes longer and uses more energy to get there.
Learn your programmer
There are some excellent ‘smart’ products coming onto the market and growing in popularity (Hive and Nest being just two of them) that make programming your system a breeze and they even learn your schedule by noticing when you’re home or away and adjusting accordingly. For the slightly less techno-geek amongst us it can really pay to learn how to use your heating programmer effectively. Take the time and tell it your schedule if you work 9-5 Monday to Friday. Why pay money to heat your home when no one is home? Just tell it to come on an hour before you get home.