Everyone is concerned about energy bills right now, and with good reason. We also live in a country where it is hard to avoid needing to heat our homes regularly, especially in the winter months. So you might be wondering if there are any steps you can take to make it more energy-efficient and cost-effective to use your heating system. Let’s take a look at the cheapest ways to heat a house, and what steps you can take to increase your energy efficiency.
Type of heating system
The first thing to consider when looking into the cheapest way to heat a house is the source of the heat. What type of central heating system do you have and what fuel does it use? Do the different central heating systems have an impact on the cost of heating a house? Let’s take a look at these tips from Stoves N Fitting UK.
The four most common fuels used for central heating systems in the UK are mains gas, electric, heating oil, and liquid petroleum gas. The vast majority of the population has a mains gas central heating system but there are plenty of people who use other types of fuel.
In terms of fuel costs, the most cost-effective heating systems are those that use mains gas. You can expect to pay around £600 a year to heat your home with natural gas central heating. But not everyone is connected to the gas network, so will have to use other options.
Out of the remaining three options, electricity is by far the most expensive. You can expect to pay nearly £2,000 a year to heat your home with an electrical immersion heater. In comparison, an LPG boiler would cost you around £1,200 and a heating oil boiler around £630 a year.
So on the surface, it seems like the obvious choice if you aren’t using a heating system connected to the mains gas is to go for a heating oil boiler but it isn’t as simple as that. Firstly, it is important to remember that the specialist installation and maintenance required for a heating oil boiler can be very expensive, so this can drive costs up.
Secondly, if you can be on an Economy 7 or 10 tariff, then this can make electricity the most cost-effective heating system. With these tariffs, you pay a much lower rate per energy unit during nighttime hours (around 6p per kilowatt). So if you can use your energy throughout the night rather than during the day, you could easily save money.
The downside to these tariffs is that your daytime rate will be much higher than it would be if you were on a standard tariff. Because of this, using the heating system in the daytime can be very expensive. So for the tariffs to be worth it, you do have to be very strict about energy use during the day versus at night. For some households, this is easily doable, but for others, it could be a real struggle.
The rise of heat pump boilers
The story doesn’t end there when it comes to choosing the right heating system. Heat pumps are on the rise as a way of heating your home and generating hot water in the most energy-efficient and cost-effective way especially when combined with solar power according to Panelit Solar.
There are three types of heat pump boilers: air source heat pumps, ground-source heat pumps, and water source heat pumps. In general, they are three times more energy-efficient than gas boilers. This is complicated by the fact that energy prices are often higher for electricity than for gas, but in general, you can expect to pay less by using a heat pump system.
The government is offering a £5,000 grant to homeowners in England and Wales to replace their existing boiler with a heat pump system.
Is a combi boiler cheaper?
Generally speaking, combi boilers tend to be more energy-efficient and therefore cheaper to run than a conventional boiler. You could save up to 40% on your heating bills if you have an older conventional boiler and switch to a combi boiler instead.
Other ways to reduce the cost of heating a house
As well as using the most efficient heating system you can and choosing the most cost-effective fuel, there are other steps you can take to reduce your energy bills and energy efficiency.
Tackle heat loss
One of the biggest ways that your energy costs can creep up is through heat loss. All homes will lose heat as the hot air rises and leaves the house, but by reducing heat loss as much as possible, you can lower your heating bill. This is because your thermostat won’t trigger your central heating system to keep pumping out heat to tackle the heat that’s getting lost.
Making sure that your home is properly insulated is the best way of reducing heat loss. This can include cavity wall insulation, loft insulation, and even draught excluders for your windows and doors.
Make sure your keep up with your boiler and radiator maintenance
Even the most efficient heating system can become less so when it isn’t properly maintained. Regular maintenance won’t just reduce your fuel costs because the system becomes more efficient, but it can also reduce the risk of more costly repairs down the lines.
Use thermostatic radiator valves
Thermostatic radiator valve controls can be a great way of making an efficient heating system even better. Rather than relying on the central thermostat to control the heat throughout the home, specifically increasing the heat in certain rooms and not in others can mean that less energy is being used overall, which can reduce your heating bills.
The bottom line
The cheapest way to heat your home can depend on the type of central heating system you have. Some heating systems use expensive fuels and can be relatively inefficient but others can help to reduce your energy bills. Taking other steps to make your house more energy-efficient can also help.