Heating my home

Here are some general hints and tips that’ll help you to stay warm and save you money

Keeping your home warm and saving money

  • Set your heating timer to come on a bit earlier than normal, but at a slightly lower temperature. It costs less to heat a home that is already warm rather than heating a home from the same temperature as outside. The boiler will not have to work as hard and so will save you money. A good temperature is 18°C - 21°C.

  • Use your timer to turn the heating up only when you need it. Not when you’re out

  • If you can, use your controller and set the hot water and the heating to come on at times when you need them, rather than having them both on all the time

  • Avoid drying clothes on your radiators as this cools the room and your boiler will use more gas to bring the temperature back up

  • Set your water temperature to 55°C

  • Move the sofa so it’s not blocking the heat coming from the radiator

  • Close your curtains to make the room cosy and keep out draughts

  • You can also get advice about switching your electricity supplier on our money advice page. This could save you hundreds of pounds every year


You could do even more if you understand the ​system in your home

Here are the different types of heating system. Find yours for more advice and information.


Storage heaters

  • Storage heaters are a type of heating that can be found in homes that don’t have gas central heating
  • They work using electricity and heat up overnight, letting the heat out slowly during the day


Here are our favourite hints and tips for getting the best out of storage heaters and keeping costs down

  • Make sure you’re on an Economy 7 electricity tariff
  • Economy 7 means you pay two different amounts for each unit of electricity you use. You pay less for any electricity you use late at night (normally between 11.30pm and 6.30am)
  • If you’re not sure which tariff you’re on, please check with your electricity company
  • You can control the amount they heat up and how the heat is let out during the day
  • The ‘input’ dial controls how much heat the heaters build up overnight
  • The ‘output’ dial controls how much heat the heaters let out


Tips on using storage heaters if it’s winter and you’re at home during the day

  • Overnight - Make sure the ‘input’ is set at maximum (level 6 on this photo of controls) and set the ‘output’ to the lowest setting or off completely. This will make sure as much heat as possible builds up overnight
  • First thing in the morning - Turn the ‘output’ up to 4 (or ¾ of the way up on your dial) until your home is warm, then turn it down to 2 (or ¼ of the way round). This will help make sure the heaters let the heat out slowly during the day
  • In the evening - As it gets colder, turn the output up to 5 or 6 until you go to bed. Remember when you go to bed to follow the overnight instructions (above) 


And also...

  • If you can, make sure your hot water isn't switched on all day. It’s cheaper to heat the water at night
  • Close your curtains before it gets dark. When it’s cold curtains made of heavy material will really make the room warmer
  • If you're struggling to pay your bills you should always speak to your electricity company as soon as possible and consider changing suppliers – even if you're on a key or pre-payment meter
  • You can find out more about storage heaters on www.which.co.uk/reviews/home-heating-systems/article/home-heating-systems/storage-heaters


Micro combined heat and power boilers (or sometimes called ‘CHP boilers’)

Your micro CHP boiler runs on gas and heats both your home and your hot water.


How it works and tips to save money

  • When the boiler is switched off, you’ll be buying mains electricity as normal
  • Whenever your boiler is switched on, free electricity is being generated for your home
  • Set your hot water and heating to come on at the times of day when you need them most.  This will also help save money on your fuel bills
  • To make good use of your free electricity, plan to use your washing machine at the same time as your hot water (or do something similar)
  • You can find out more about micro combined heat and micro-CHP on www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/renewable-energy/electricity/micro-chp


Solar thermal heating systems

How it works and tips to save money

  • Solar thermal heating systems use solar panels, called collectors, fitted on your roof
  • They collect heat from the sun and use it to heat up water which is stored in your hot water tank
  • It helps heat your radiators and a boiler or immersion heater can be used as a back-up
  • The good news is you can save up to 40% on your hot water bills with this system
  • If you have them, try to rely on the thermal heating system to heat your hot water, as using the immersion heater means you’ll use more electricity and will cost you more money
  • This kind of system’s good for the planet too
  • You can find out more about solar water heating on www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/renewable-energy/heat/solar-water-heating


Solar photovoltaic panels

How it works and tips to save money

  • Photo Voltaic panels attached to your roof or walls use free sunlight and change it into electricity for your home. This can save you up to 40% on your electricity bill
  • The stronger the sunshine, the more electricity is produced
  • If you can, use your washing machine and dishwasher (if you have one) in the daytime and do more when it’s sunny
  • At night, and when it’s not sunny, you'll still be using and buying electricity from the grid as normal
  • This kind of system’s good for the planet too
  • You can find out more about solar panels on www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/renewable-energy/electricity/solar-panels


Air source heat pump

How it works

  • Your home and hot water is heated using an air source heat pump
  • If used properly, it’s a cheaper way to heat your hot water and home than storage heaters or normal gas central heating
  • But it’s important to remember that it works in a different way to what you may be used to


Tips on how to stay warm and save money

In winter, your central heating (radiators) should be left on all the time, with the temperature changing throughout the day and night. It’s the cheapest way to run the system and keep your home warm. You control the temperature with the room thermostat.


Here’s our suggestion of how you could set yours up:

  • In the morning, 6.30am - 8.30am: 20 degrees
  • During the day, 8.30am - 4.30pm: 16-18 degrees
  • In the evenings, 4.30pm -10.30pm: 21 degrees
  • Overnight, 10.30pm - 6.30am: 16-18 degrees

You should find your thermostat on the wall in your living room or in the hallway. It’ll be digital or a manual dial.


Your system will always heat your hot water up before your radiators, so:

  • Don’t set your hot water to be on 24 hours a day
  • If you do this, you’ll notice your radiators getting cold or not working at all
  • If you look at your boiler control panel (normally in the airing cupboard) you want to see the word ‘timed’ next to the water symbol
  • There’ll be instructions on how to use your controller on a panel at the bottom of the box, or in the instruction manual
  • Set the hot water to come on at times of the day and night when it doesn’t matter if the radiators go off for a while - say between 4am - 5.30am. The tank is well insulated so it’ll keep the water hot all day
  • Make sure the hot water tank is set no higher than 55 degrees
  • You can find out more about air source heat pumps on www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/renewable-energy/heat/air-source-heat-pumps


Mechanical heat ventilation system

How it works and tips to save money

  • Your system controls the temperature inside your home
  • Humid air is sucked out of your kitchen and bathroom and then blown outside
  • The system also sucks clean air from outside
  • When it's cold, this air is heated using the warmth from the humid air, which then gives you warm clean air in your home
  • In the summer the clean air that is circulated in your home gives you a cooling effect
  • This means you won’t need to leave your windows open to let in fresh air, helping to keep out pollen and pollution
  • The system only ever needs to be switched off when it’s being serviced by one of our approved registered service engineers
  • This needs to be done once a year and if you’re renting from us we’ll arrange this for you free of charge
  • If you’re a shared owner, you’ll need to arrange for this to be done yourself.
  • You can find out more about mechanical heat ventilation on www.cse.org.uk/advice/advice-and-support/mechanical-ventilation-with-heat-recovery

Looking after your home

Here's some more advice to help you make sure your home stays safe, warm and comfortable

Our tips