Will Scholfield, Engineer
31 Jan : Updated 11 May ● 10 min read
Many people think that leaving their heating on all of the time, on a low heat setting and controlled by the thermostat, is better than simply putting your heating on as and when you need it - or by controlling it on a timer.
But is that truly the case? Should you leave your heating on continuously? And how can you keep warm while saving money on energy bills?
Some people think that keeping their heating on low all the time, and controlling the temperature using the thermostat, keeps the house warm for a lower price; but this is a common myth. They believe that powering up their system costs more money, yet this is not the case for most houses.
Weather compensation is the most common method used by households. However, this is quite different from leaving your heating on low constantly.
No. It is a myth that leaving your heating switched on all the time will help you save money on your energy bills, but this is not the case as your boiler will be continually heating when there is no real need.
Instead, it is much more energy-efficient and cheaper to switch your boiler on only when you require warm water or heating with a normal heating system and thermostat, with most people choosing to either use a programmed timer or a smart thermostat that can be controlled from their mobile phone.
The Energy Saving Trust, an organisation in the UK dedicated to energy efficiency, does not advise leaving your heating switched on all of the time. The charity has stated firmly that they do not believe in leaving your heating on all day long on a low setting.
The constant burning of fuel to heat your home will not only result in energy being used but also lost. In a standard home, heat loss is quite significant compared to the heat you’re putting into it through your boilers and radiators.
If you leave your heating on low constantly, some homes may struggle to reach the desired temperature meaning fuel will be burnt for long periods of time. If your home is well-insulated, heat loss shouldn’t be too much of a concern.
This can then be coupled with controls such as weather compensation, which works by making sure the boiler burns the same amount of fuel required to match the heat lost from your home. The house will always be at your ideal room temperature whilst improving boiler efficiency.
Is Leaving The Central Heating On All Night Bad For Your Health?
There have been many reports from doctors that sleeping with the heating on all night can cause your body to overheat much more quickly.
The Sleep Charity advises that an ideal bedroom temperature is 16-18 degrees celsius. Temperatures over 24 degrees celsius can impact your sleep and cause restlessness.
So, we have concluded that it is not ideal to leave your boiler on all of the time. But what can you actually do to use your central heating in a cost-efficient manner?
The first piece of advice that we have for you is to make sure you only heat rooms that need it. If you want your living room to be warm for when you get back from work, simply heat your living room. You do not need to heat your entire home; turn the radiators off in other rooms with thermostatic radiator valves that can be fitted as part of a boiler installation.
One of the most effective ways to keep your costs as low as possible when heating your home is to use a heating timer. Heating timers are beneficial because you can heat your home for the precise moment that you need it.
For example, you may want to set the timer so that the heating switches on 20 or 30 minutes before you are due to arrive home. Not only is this convenient, but it ensures that you only use heating when you need it the most.
Here at BOXT, we have a range of smart systems such as the Google Nest Thermostat are excellent for controlling the heating as and when you need it.
Another cost-effective approach is to install an economy meter. This type of electricity meter will give you two rates depending on the time of day. You will be charged more for using your central heating during the day and less for using it at night. This is beneficial if your heating appliances are powered by electricity and if you only really heat your home in the evening.
You can also get smart heating controls and gadgets to help you save energy. A smart electric meter, for example, will tell you how much energy you have used. This will ensure you do not waste money on energy you do not need and keep your gas bills low.
You can also schedule your appliances only to come on when you need them. This will ensure that you do not use unnecessary energy, but you also don't have a cold house when you get home from work. It's a win-win!
Insulation, such as loft insulation and cavity wall insulation, will help you keep the desired temperature in your home all year round, ensuring you are protected against excess heat in the summer and cold in the winter.
If you have no insulation or your insulation is old, heat will likely escape from your home whenever you turn the heating on. This means your central heating will need to work harder for longer. So, upgrading your insulation can prevent this from happening, ensuring your heating system can do its job.
There are many grants available in the UK designed to help you save energy in your home, such as the Government winter fuel payment or cold weather payment. You may also be eligible for a home energy grant to help pay for cavity wall and loft insulation.
Grants and schemes for improving energy efficiency do change, so it’s important to keep an eye out for changes and take advantage of government-backed schemes to assist in making greener choices for your home.
Finally, we would recommend digging online to find out whether or not it would be cheaper for you to switch to a different energy supplier.
A comparison website is a valuable tool when comparing the different charges offered by energy companies today. Most energy companies will have different tariffs and deals available, so make sure you explore this and find the deal that makes the most sense for you.
Find a brand new, A-rated boiler that's perfect for your home in just 90 secondsGet a fixed-price quote
How old is your boiler? It may be time for a more efficient model if you have had your boiler for more than ten years. Again, this represents an initial investment, but you can save a considerable sum of money every year, and so you will soon make back the money you have spent.
Modern boilers today come with high levels of efficiency, meaning you can heat your home for less. But what type of boiler is most efficient? Let’s take a look at the three main types of boilers below:
A combination or combi boiler can be the cheapest type of boiler to run overall, depending on the size of your home and how much hot water you need.
You may be wondering how combi boilers work and what makes this boiler different. The system has a simple design that does not take up a lot of space on your property. A combi boiler will direct hot water to your radiators or taps without needing a storage tank.
According to figures published by the Energy Saving Trust, you can save as much as £580 per year on your energy bills if you switch an old, inefficient boiler with a combi boiler with an A-rating.
Also known as a heat-only, open vent, conventional, or regular boiler, a heat-only boiler is a system that has two tanks - a hot water cylinder and a cold water tank.
Heat-only boilers tend to be found in big properties because they can meet the demand for hot water across numerous showerheads and taps.
Whether or not a heat-only boiler is efficient depends on what you will be using your heating for primarily. For example, if you don’t use heaps of hot water in your home, a heat-only boiler may not be the most efficient solution for you.
This is because the cylinder may heat up more water than you actually need. On the flip side, a combi boiler will only heat the amount of water you require.
Finally, we have system boilers, which will directly heat your central heating and produce hot water for an unvented storage cylinder.
A system boiler will work just like a system, i.e. hot water needs to be stored. However, they eliminate the need for a cold water tank in the property loft.
System boilers take water directly from the mains, heat it up, and then send it to the hot water cylinder for storage until it is needed.
System boilers are extremely efficient with their condensing technology, with many models achieving up to 90% efficiency.
Whether or not you should turn your boiler off when you go on holiday depends on the time of year.
It is typically not recommended to turn your boiler off when you go on holiday during the winter. Turning your boiler off means off all power to the boiler and central heating.
Most modern boilers have built-in frost protection. So, if you leave your thermostat turned down or off but leave the boiler on, the pipes will stay slightly warm and you won’t come home to burst pipes or internal leaks.
On the flip side, if you plan to go on holiday during the summer when your heating is rarely on, it is acceptable to turn your boiler system off before you jet away.
Generally, gas is cheaper than electric heating. In terms of unit cost, electricity is around 28p per kWh, whereas gas averages 7p per kWh.
There are a variety of different types of gas and electric boilers, and it’s important to have the system designed to suit your home.
When purchasing your boiler through us, we have a team of in-house engineers who can advise on the best design for heating your home.
So there you have it: everything you need to know about using your boiler efficiently. While you may have heard that you should simply leave your boiler constantly running instead of turning it on and off, this is merely a myth. That approach will not save you money.
However, we hope you have learned some tips and tricks that will save you money overall while keeping you warm. Check out our other guides on how to get the most out of your boiler and ideal room temperatures and how to maintain them.
Don't hesitate to get in touch using the live chat function if you have any questions about gas boilers, your immersion heater, or if you're looking for ways to consume less energy.