Paul Ritchie is the Managing Director of All England Gas. Here, he shares his expert advice to help us save money on our family heating bills.
So, we’ve just come out of a long winter and you’re probably looking at your recent utility bill wondering how it could possibly get that high. In this article, I’ll be giving you my top tips for saving on your family heating bills, because there’s more to cutting costs than just turning down the thermostat.
Install a Smart Meter
We’ve all heard this advice, and it’s hoped that, by next year, every household in the UK will be issued with a smart meter. These are small machines that record the amount of energy you use and communicate with your energy provider to give you accurate readings and billing (usually daily). These are great for saving money because you can regularly monitor how much energy you’re using and what it’s costing you. That way, you can cut back when you think your bill is getting a bit too high.
Check Your Insulation
This requires more work than simply installing a smart meter but it’s worth doing. Sometimes, the heat our boiler produces is lost through the roof and walls, which then means it’s taking more energy to heat the house and make up for the loss. Installing insulation into roofs and walls reduces the amount of heat that is lost and you can save up to 20% on your heating bill with loft insulation alone (National Energy Foundation).
Properties built after 1930 have cavity walls, which means that there is an empty space between the inner and outer structures. This makes is a lot easier for heat to escape, so cavity wall insulation, which is usually small foam beads or fibre insulation, can be injected into this space by a specially trained cavity wall technician to trap the warmth. With it, you can save up to £225 a year (Which?).
You can also invest in other types of thermal insulation, such as insulation rolls. This is the soft fuzzy material you might recognise and it can be fitted onto the inside of your roof through the loft or inserted into walls. It traps heat in the same way as cavity wall insulation. Sometimes, heat is also lost through gaps around doors and windows, so using a simple draught excluder in areas where you feel the cold air coming through can make a big difference in the long run.
Replace Your Old Boiler
If your boiler is getting a little old, it might not be as efficient as is should be. The efficiency of your boiler is usually based on two systems, but they’re both pretty similar and, for simplicity’s sake, I won’t discuss the ins and outs of the scoring process. What you do need to know is that the closer to A (or A+++) your boiler is rated, the more efficient it is.
Most modern gas boilers now have an A rating, which means they’re highly efficient, but a lot of older ones may have a much lower score. Replacing your boiler with a new A-rated one will save you money in the long run by providing your home with more heat per gas unit.
Switch Energy Providers
A simple way we could be losing a lot of money on our heating bills is by possibly being with the wrong provider. I’d definitely advise you to shop around and find the best deal by going through one of the many comparison sites out there. This is also where a smart meter comes in handy. Because you get up-to-date information, you can find out which options would be cheaper than your current plan. You might even find out that you’re already with the cheapest provider.
Heating bills can cost a small fortune, especially if you’re losing valuable warmth through walls, roofs and windows or you’re with the wrong energy provider. But, by following my four simple tips, you can significantly reduce your family heating bills.