Gas prices are rising year on year due to many global factors such as increased demand during COVID-19 lockdowns, export issues from key supplying countries such as Russia and increases in the energy price cap.
According to The Office of National Statistics (2022) a massive 66% of adults in Britain reported that their cost of living has increased in the past month alone, and, the rise in energy prices is the biggest factor in squeezing household budgets. Many are struggling with living costs and more of us are dealing with fuel poverty in the UK. There is no question as to why we are all looking for ways we can save money on our gas and heating bills and make our homes and lifestyles more efficient.
Whatever the weather, there are many ways in which you can save money on your gas bills and make your home more energy efficient. Below are ATAG’s top tips on how you can prepare for the increase in household energy costs and reduce your bills in 2022 and beyond.
- Install an efficient boiler
Yes, installing an energy efficient boiler is the most obvious and best way to reduce your heating bills. An efficient boiler maximises the energy it creates (the fuel it burns) which in turn lowers your bills and reduces carbon emissions. The iC Economiser is one of the most efficient boilers in Europe and a whopping 7% more efficient than most leading brands*
- Upgrade to a smart thermostat
A smart controller is a clever way of communicating with your heating system meaning you can control it when you’re away from home and on the move. With the ATAG One Zone you can also control the heating in different rooms of your house based on how often and likely you are to reside in them. For example, you can warm your kitchen sufficiently if you spend the most time in there during the day, whilst lowering the temperature or switching it off altogether upstairs (note this can only be done if the house is zoned or via TRV’s which we discuss further into the blog).
- Consider switching suppliers
It doesn’t cost anything shopping around and you may even save yourself a few pounds. Get some quotes and see what offers there are for new customers with different energy suppliers.
- Protect the system
Protecting your boiler from the first day you have it installed is a great way to increase reliability, efficiency, and its lifespan. This will save you money in the long run. You can protect the system with chemicals such as central heating cleaners and protectors along with adding a filter. ATAG boilers come with a standard warranty of 10 years; however, you can increase that to 12 or 14 years with a complete care pack. These packs contain all you need to protect your system and can even include a smart controller too! Speak to your local ATAG selected installer to find out more. You can find one here.
- Perform an audit of your home
Performing a simple audit of your home will highlight some quick and easy fixes you can make, which will help keep your home warmer, for longer. Check there are no drafts around windows, air vents are closed, and the pipes and plumbing parameters don’t have excess gaps. These can all bring in that cold air and should be draft proofed. Just be sure to ventilate your home enough to prevent damp.
- Reuse heat you have already paid for!
That’s right, there’s heat around our home we often forget about and heat we have already paid for. You may as well make the most of it! Keep oven doors open after cooking letting that warm air flow into the kitchen, perfect after some baking too. The bathroom door can be left ajar after those hot winter showers; just keep an eye out for damp, as this will allow steam to move into other rooms in your home.
- Make use of your curtains
If the sun beams through your living room windows in the morning, then keep the curtains open, you would be surprised how quickly it can heat the room; it’s also free! If the winter is creeping in and it’s getting bitterly cold at night, then a good pair of curtains can act as an insulation barrier.
- Turn the thermostat down
Do you really need to be sat in 24-degree heat in the middle of winter? Turning down your thermostat just a single degree could make a big impact over the year and save you some £££.
- Dress for the weather!
Shorts and a t shirt might not cut it this winter, so make sure to wrap up properly. A pair of socks and a jumper will feel far more comfortable and means you don’t need the heating on full blast throughout the day!
- Be water smart
There are a few ways to be smart about your water usage; in particular your hot water usage. Reducing the length of your showers or turning the heat down a little will make a world of difference over the year. You can even invest in low-flow fixtures and tap to help you do this. Along with this, washing pots in a sink bowl as opposed to a dish washer or constantly running tap will also save on your usage.
- Double glazing
If you have a good quality double or triple glazing it will prevent heat escaping and keep the rooms in your home warmer for longer.
- Invest in TRVs
Adjusting your radiator temperature in each room is a simple way to run your home more efficiently. To do this you need some TRVs fitted. Warmzilla discuss TRVs and radiator valves in more detail here.
- Insulate the roof
According to the Energy Savings Trust, a quarter of all heat is lost through the roof. Making sure your loft or attic is properly insulated is key to reduce heat loss in your home. Mineral wool is commonly used to provide insulation and if it has been installed correctly, it could easily pay for itself a few times over during its lifespan.
- Monitor & review
It’s always good to keep on track of your usage and monitoring it over time is a great way to see where you can make some changes. Reviewing your insights on an app is one way to do this. The ATAG OneZone and Tado smart control, both feature handy insights allowing you to adjust your usage where you feel necessary. This is highly recommended during season change.
- Install a SMART meter
Following on from monitoring and reviewing your usage; a SMART meter is another great way to do this. You can contact your energy provider and they can arrange for one to be installed for you. With a SMART meter you can see your charges accurately which will help you keep track of budgets, and it also helps you see what the costliest appliances are to use in your home. You may think twice about boiling a full kettle for one cup of coffee next time!
- Is your boiler condensing?
Condensing boilers are more efficient that old style boilers. You can check to see if you have a condensing boiler by simply looking for a condensation drainpipe (not the flue gas pipe t the top of your boiler). If you don’t have one, then you don’t have a condensing boiler and it might be time for an upgrade.
If you do have a condensing boiler, then it’s always good to check it’s doing the job! Condensing boilers minimise the energy (heat) which is lost from combustion gases and if set up correctly with a return temperature of 54 degree centigrade or lower your boiler can reach up to 99% efficiency. If it is higher than this, it is likely your boiler will not condense. Ask your local installer to see how you can check the temperature of the water return and amend the settings so your saving energy.
- Have an annual service
A simple way to increase the lifespan of your boiler, is by having it serviced regularly. Once a year is recommended and will also ensure your warranty remains valid. Having your boiler serviced means your gas engineer can spot any issues early, meaning they are fixed before the issue escalates and causes more costly problems.
- Cold radiators
Radiators can hold trapped air which prevents the heat from moving around the radiator sufficiently. You can commonly tell this is the case when radiators get cold at the top and hot at the bottom If this is the case you can bleed you radiators so your boiler doesn’t have to work as hard to reach the required temperature.
- Flush the system
Sludge is a result of corrosion within the radiators and contaminates the full system hindering its performance and therefore its efficiency. When you have sludge in your system it means the boiler must work harder to heat up and therefore uses more energy. It’s important to keep your boiler clean of this sludge and one way to do that is through a system flush which can be done in three ways; a gravity flush, a power flush, or a chemical flush.
- Insulating pipes and the water tank
Insulating the pipes is a great way to reduce heat loss in your home. Popping pipe insulation around exposed hot water pipes can even be done by yourself, providing they are easily accessible. You can also use a jacket around the cylinder to help keep the water hotter for longer.