No one is immune to the effects of the cost-of-living crisis in the UK. And before we even get to the numbers, we’re sure you’re already wondering, “How can I run my central heating cheaply in the UK?”
But if you’re still interested in the grim details, here are the heating facts going into the future.
Average Costs of Central Heating Your Home In The UK
In 2023, the average annual energy bill for a medium-sized home (2-3 people) was estimated to be around £2,500 for households that use both gas and electricity and pay with direct debit.
While the government has implemented its £400 rebate plan, this will be distributed in six installments and leave the average home with an annual bill of £2,100. That’s an average of £175 a month.
As you can imagine, no heating bill will be the same, and each is affected by several criteria. Before applying any tips, let’s dive deeper into why your energy bill in the UK could increase.
Factors That Affect Your Energy Bill In the UK
Currently, several factors will affect your energy bill, which consists of several costs, including:
- Wholesale costs;
- Network costs;
- Environmental Obligations;
- Supplier costs;
- And the margin for profits.
With so many elements at play, if just one variable increases, it can cause a domino effect in pricing.
The UK’s wholesale energy markets have recently experienced record-high price spikes, leading to some of the most expensive winter energy bills in the past decade. Couple this with an increased global gas demand due to depleted storage reserves, and there’s now a rush to refill these stocks, which will push up prices.
Experts are concerned for a collection of reasons. Firstly, most of the UK’s electricity is generated from gas-firing plants, and secondly, nuclear energy imported from Franks is experiencing outages. Finally, last summer was one of the least windy in recent history, so wind power was low.
The UK government has introduced a new Energy Prices Bill to support consumers with costs, reduce inflation, stop volatile prices, and make renewables cheaper. But even with the best intentions, it will still be an expensive season ahead.
Now that we understand some factors influencing the macro-price of energy bills in the UK let’s determine how your home affects your energy bill.
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How Your Home Affects Your Energy Bill
When it comes to heating your home, many factors intrinsic to the building and its surroundings can affect your energy bill.
These factors include the following:
Your Home’s Size
The physical size of your home will affect how much energy is required to heat and to keep it adequately lit.
For example, a four-bedroom house will pay an annual average of £6,100 for gas and electricity from January 2023, while a one-bedroom flat will pay £859.
Energy Efficiency of Your Home’s Structure
Construction materials have come on leaps and bounds in the last few decades. This means that newer homes’ are better at being thermally dynamic.
Energy-efficient houses will reduce wasted heat and, in turn, lower your bills.
Type of Energy Used
The type of energy you use in your home will directly affect your monthly bill. In the UK, some households depend on multiple sources, such as a combination of gas and electricity or oil and electricity.
As explained above, markets in constant flux will directly affect your energy bill.
How You Pay Your Energy Bill
It might be surprising, but how you pay your monthly energy bill could contribute to how much more you pay.
Homeowners have two methods of paying their bills. These are direct debit or via a prepayment meter. If the latter comes standard with the structure, then direct debit is not an option.
Generally, paying by direct debit is cheaper, while the prepayment meter is more expensive. According to the Metro, direct debit payments allow you to find more competitive tariffs.
How Much Energy You Use
Your habits, lifestyle, and preferences will directly indicate how much energy you use.
These preferences and habits are learned behaviours. So, how do you reduce your energy bill?
Tips on Reducing Your Energy Bill
Depending on your household’s setup and situation, some of these tips might not work. But in general, they will help reduce your energy bill and run your central heating for longer.
Tiny Reduction In Temperature
Adjusting your heating down a single degree can make a considerable difference to your overall bill.
Use a Timer
You can avoid wasting energy by installing a boiler timer or a smart thermostat to turn it off and on. Programming the timer to run during the daytime and be off while the household is asleep will save money.
Reduce the Temperature of the Boiler
No one needs scalding hot water all the time. By reducing the flow temperature of your boiler to 60C, you will have hot enough water to heat the radiator and take a comfortable shower.
Appliances Should Be Off When Not in Use
This tip is self-explanatory. When leaving a room, turn off the lights and turn off your television set (don’t leave it in standby mode).
The Energy Saving Trust estimates that turning off lights when not in the room could save you £14 a year. While not a massive amount of money, every penny counts in this economy.
Clothes Don’t Require Hot Washes All The Time
You can often get away with a simple cold run in the washing machine. Which? estimates that a cold wash could save you £24 a year.
Often, small changes in daily habits have significant economic effects by the end of the year.
Insulation and Environmentally Friendly Products
Installation of insulation solutions is often easy and can make a huge difference in reducing heat loss. For instance, insulating your boiler’s pipes can reduce heat loss.
And when it comes time to replace older appliances around the home, always select the most energy-efficient options.
Now that we’ve covered our bases let’s talk about how you can run a central heating system cheaply.
How To Run Your Central Heating Cheaply
So there will come a time when you have to use your central heating system.
Here are some tips for economising that we’ve already covered:
Every step you take to insulate your system will equal usage savings.
You want to minimise heat loss as much as possible. You can insulate the spaces in wall cavities and install double glazing and draught-proofing in the loft.
Turn Down Temperatures
We mentioned that turning down your boiler flow temperature to a more manageable 60°C will save you money.
Switch Energy Suppliers
Finding the right energy supplier for your home will save you money. Make sure to compare prices online.
Now that we’ve covered the elements we’ve spoken about, the rest of these tips are new.
You need to have your central heating system regularly serviced to ensure it works at its best. When the opportunity presents itself, you should upgrade your boiler to the most efficient one on the market.
Install A Heat Pump
Generally, the installation costs of a heat pump will be more than those of a gas boiler. However, when sized correctly, they have a fantastic performance coefficient, making it cheaper to run over time.
Fit Smart Heating Controls
With smart heating controls installed, you can continuously monitor your energy usage and turn it off when not in use. Having the device installed and being able to tweak settings in the palm of your hand will help you save when running your system.
We currently install such systems for our clients and report that they help cut running costs.
Check Your Radiators
Check to see if your radiators are balanced and working correctly. You can use thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) to adjust the temperature of each radiator individually.
It’s also a good idea to bleed your radiators to remove any air trapped inside them, which can reduce their efficiency.
Get Your Central Heating System Running Cheaply
Now that we know the best way to run a central heating system cheaply is to have it maintained and serviced. You can schedule these services on an annual basis.
With a cheap monthly installment fee, we’ll contact you a month in advance. And if you’re looking for more comprehensive coverage, we also offer a HomeSafe Cover Plan.
For those who haven’t had their questions answered yet, we’ve included four frequently asked questions (FAQ) about how to run your heating system cheaply.
Cheap Central Heating FAQs
How Often Should I Service My Boiler?
A boiler should be serviced on an annual basis. A well-maintained boiler can save homeowners £300 a year.
What’s The Best Temperature For My Thermostat?
Generally, you should set your thermostat between 18°C and 21°C.
How Can I Compare Energy Prices and Deals Online?
Many online tools will help you compare deals. All you need to provide is your current supplier, tariff, and estimated energy usage.
For those still looking for answers, you can view them on our FAQ page.