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Our energy bills seem to be going up every day! But I know a heating engineer who has some easy tweaks you can make to your heating system – and to your home – that will cut your bill by hundreds, or even thousands, over the year.
Harland Guscott runs Guscott Heating in Kent and he’s got several clever ways that we can cut our heating bills down. See this video where I ask him about his tips (it was filmed by my nephew Tommy so apologies for any wobbles!).
Harland says that even if your boiler is 10-15 years old it can still work really well if it’s regularly serviced and fine-tuned to the needs of your home. You don’t need to buy a new one. In fact they can last well to 20 years.
The first thing he asked was if I knew what the ‘flow rate’ of my boiler was. No I didn’t. But I do now!
The flow rate is the temperature at which the water leaves a boiler to go round the heating system.
My flow rate was at the top heat of 75 degrees when it doesn’t need to be more than 55 degrees. ‘
To make this adjustment you need to find the radiator symbol on your boiler and turn it down.
‘The best way to find that is through your operating manual or you can ring the manufacturer or a heating professional and they will talk you through it.’
This adjustment alone will save me about 16 per cent on my gas bills.
‘For every 10 degrees you reduce the flow rate you save 6-8 per cent on you bills,
Look for the hot water symbol (usually a tap) on the boiler and check the temperature. Most people add cold water when they use the hot tap which is a big waste. If you’re doing this, lower the hot water temperature to a point where you don’t need to add cold.
If it isn’t warm enough when you use it next, you can always raise the temperature again.
For every 10 degrees you lower the water temperature by you will save 3-5 per cent on your bills.
Weather compensators and smart controls can help to adjust the flow rates of the boiler for you, depending on the temperature outside.
It would probably cost you between £100-200 to install but would increase your home’s heat efficiency by 3-5 per cent.
Much of the inefficiencies happen because of poor installation, says Harland. That’s what really creates the big energy bills.
Make sure your boiler isn’t over-working for the size of your property.. In many houses, you could reduce the output significantly and this would reduce the bills again.
Most boilers are installed running at 24KW and yet most houses only need them to run at 6-10KW. You need the controls set at the most efficient levels.’
‘When you get someone to install a boiler they should take into account how many rooms you have and they should set the controls at the most efficient levels.
Ask them how they will fine-tune your boiler and set it up correctly with the right flow rates.
also, get them to show you how to change the flow rates yourself and the boiler’s output and then you can control things yourself.
Harland pointed out that radiators are important for the efficiency of the boiler
People like me are always telling others to drop the thermostat down by one degree to cut the cost of your energy bills.
Harland goes a step further saying that we should find one temperature that we’re happy with – say 19 degrees – and stick with that. “Don’t keep turning it up and down, just keep it at that one level” he says.
He also says that we should check all the windows and doors for heat escaping. Get the draughts fixed, ideally when it’s still warm, so that you don’t have to keep the heating on longer and use more energy.