Wondering when to turn the heating on? Expert reveals how to save money during the energy crisis

Learning when to turn the heating on and other energy-saving tips could save you a fortune this winter

Wondering when to turn the heating on? Saving money on your energy bills, represented by a purse shaped radiator.
(Image credit: Peter Dazeley/Getty Images)

When to turn the heating on is one of those much-argued topics and this year it seems more relevant than ever. As the energy crisis is becoming more and more of a concern for the British public, it's absolutely vital that you take the time to consider your usage.

In light of the ongoing energy crisis and some of life's other expenses, like coffee prices, rising—now is the time to make changes where possible so you're not stuck with huge bills.

Woman&home spoke to Jordan Chance, a heating expert from PlumbNation (opens in new tab) , and he gave us expert advice to help you save your hard-earned dough this winter.

"Turning on your central heating is notably one of the sure signs that winter has arrived," he says. "Although there is no single temperature at which you should turn your heating on, many aim for the time when clocks go back, falling this year on October 31."

For those of us eager to save as much on bills as possible, Jordan says there are plenty of ways to avoid spending too much.

"Using a draught excluder is one of the quickest and cheapest ways to keep your home warm, preventing cold air from entering and warm air from leaving under your doors, " he says.

"Keeping your curtains closed, or investing in a thermal curtain lining can likewise help to prevent warm air from escaping—this trick alone can reduce heat loss by up to 25%."

Jordan adds, "Whilst a favorite saying of parents is to ‘put a jumper on’, this old age argument can certainly keep you warmer for longer, and save the big switch on for a later date."

Debunking a common money-saving myth he says, "It is also important to note that leaving your heating on low all day does not reduce your heating bills! Having the heating on only as and when you need it, is the best way to save energy. Using a thermostat with a timer offers a simple and speedy solution to controlling your heating effectively."

How To avoid huge heating bills

  • Upgrade Your Thermostat
  • Stop Draughts
  • Add an Extra Layer (or two!)
  • Introduce Soft Furnishings 
  • Turn Your Thermostat Down By 1°C 
  • Clean Your Radiators 
  • Don’t Dry Your Clothes On Your Radiator 
  • Check Your Radiator Cover 
  • Bleed Your Radiators
  • Get Your Boiler Serviced 

1. Upgrade Your Thermostat

Your thermostat controls your home’s temperature by communicating with your boiler. Thermostats, particularly in older homes with older heating systems, can degrade over time. Such degradation can lead to delays in your boiler switching on, or your home being heated at much higher temperatures than required. Upgrading your thermostat could provide for greater accuracy in thermostat to boiler communication, preventing energy from being wasted, and saving you money. 

2. Stop Draughts! 

Stopping heat from escaping through unwanted gaps is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to save energy and money. To draught-proof your home, you need to primarily identify the ‘problem areas’ where draughts are causing issues, these could include doors, windows, chimneys, and floorboards. You can block unwanted gaps by using draught-proofing strips around your windows and doors, or flexible silicone-based filler to fill the gaps in your floorboards. 

3. Add an Extra Layer (or two!)

Instead of heating your home to be warm enough to walk around in shorts and a t-shirt, why not turn your thermostat down and put on a jumper? Adding clothing layers will insulate your body and make it easier to regulate your body’s temperature. The more layers you wear, the less the heating will need to be on, reducing your heating bills. 

Why not check out the best winter coats and match warmth with style!

4. Introduce Soft Furnishings 

Soft furnishings, such as curtains, rugs, the best blankets can make all the difference in saving money on your heating. If you have a carpeted home then it will naturally help to boost insulation; however, if you have hard flooring investing in some good quality materials, such as a plush rug, will help to prevent heat from being lost. 

5. Turn Your Thermostat Down By 1°C 

An excessive heating bill can be easily rectified with the ‘step-down’ challenge. By turning your heating down by just 1°C, you can save up to 10% on your heating bill. The typical heating range is between 18- 21°C… so why don’t you see how low you can go? It is also important to avoid classic thermostat ‘faux pas’. Contrary to popular belief, turning up your thermostat does NOT heat up your room quicker. This method will only send your energy bills skyrocketing.

6. Clean Your Radiators 

If your radiators aren’t in your weekly cleaning routine, then it’s time to add them. A buildup of dust can affect your health, allergies, and your heating bill. Layers of dust in your radiator can prevent heat from escaping effectively, meaning your radiators will have to work harder to warm your room. 

7. Don’t Dry Your Clothes On Your Radiator 

Jordan recommends that you stop using your radiators to dry your clothes. The clothes that you place over the top of your radiators prevent the heat from escaping and heating your room, meaning that your boiler has to pick up the slack and work at a greater rate - increasing costs. Similarly, the increase in the air’s moisture can create condensation, leading to potential issues with mold and dampness. If you do end up with these issues, knowing how to clean mold is vital.

8. Check Your Radiator Cover 

If you have a radiator cover make sure to check that it is a good conductor of heat. Radiator covers made from materials such as wood are poor conductors and can prevent heat from being dispersed effectively—wasting energy and money. Also, if your radiator cover has a solid top then you may be losing even more heat, as it will be absorbed by the top of the cover.

9. Bleed Your Radiators

Bleeding your radiator is essential in preventing the efficiency of your radiator from decreasing, as a result of air entering your heating system. The quickest way to check if air has entered your heating system is to turn your central heating on and feel your radiator. If the radiator is warm at the bottom but cold at the top this is generally a sign that air is present. 

10. Get Your Boiler Serviced 

If your boiler is aging and has seen better days, there’s a strong chance it won’t be working as efficiently as it once was. Defective boilers can increase your heating bill massively as they will need to work significantly harder to bring your home up to the desired temperature. Jordan recommends that you get your boiler serviced every 12 months (preferably before the winter season), to ensure that your boiler is running efficiently and safely. 

Aoife Hanna
Junior News Editor

Aoife is Junior News Editor at woman&home.

She's an Irish journalist and writer with a background in creative writing, comedy, and TV production.

Formerly Aoife was a contributing writer at Bustle and her words can be found in the Metro, Huffpost, Delicious, Imperica, EVOKE and her poetry features in the Queer Life, Queer Love anthology.

Outside of work you might bump into her at a garden center, charity shop, hot yoga studio, lifting heavy weights, or (most likely) supping/eating some sort of delicious drink/meal.