Friday, 16 December 2016

Weekly Green Tips #36 - Reducing your heating bills

Week 36 - Reducing heating bills

Whether you get your heat from gas, oil or electricity, reducing your heating bills is great for the environment.  Gas and oil are both fossil fuels and by burning them,CO2, a major greenhouse, gas is produced.  Only about 25% of the UK's electricity comes from renewable resources with over 50% from burning gas and oil and over 20% from nuclear.  Nuclear may not produce greenhouse gases but it comes with potentially devastating problems should a meltdown occur and the environmental damage from mining the uranium needed to produce nuclear power is huge.  In most cases, therefore, using your heating less and at a lower temperature will be good for the environment.

21 ways to reduce your heating bills

Heating systems

1.  Turn down the thermostat by 1ºC.
2.  Only heat the rooms you use and keep others at 10ºC.
3.  Install an energy efficient heating system.
4.  Get your heating system serviced regularly.
5.  If you are out of the house for long periods some people say you should turn your heating off when the house is empty.  However others argue you should leave it on to reduce the need to stop it working overtime to heat a cold house on your return.  It is probably, therefore, best to try both methods and monitor which one gives you lower bills.
6.  Put reflective panels behind radiators, especially where they are against outside walls.  The panels serve to push the heat back into the house.

Your House

7.  Insulate, insulate, insulate - this is the absolute best way to keep a house warmer.  Roof insulation should be at least 250-270mm thick.
8.  If you are not using your chimney then block it using a chimney balloon.
9.  Stop all draughts where-ever they come from:
  • Add a letter box draught excluder.
  • Put a blanket over the cat flap.
  • Add a keyhole cover.
  • Use draught excluders on doors.
  • Block any holes where pipes go outside.
  • Add weather-stripping around doors and windows.
  • Build a porch.
10.  Put up thick curtains and close shutters at night.
11.  But in the daytime open curtains/shutters to let in natural warmth from the sun.
12.  Put rugs on bare floors.
13.  Move furniture away from radiators to allow the warm air to circulate better.
14.  Turn the power down on the shower.


15.  Get outside and when inside move around more.  Be active.
16.  Consume warming food and drinks.
17.  Wear thicker clothes - ideally several thinner layers which trap heat between them rather than one super thick level - and enjoy snuggling up on the sofa under a blanket or duvet.  It will also mean the latter is warm when you head to bed.

Bed Time

18.  Turn the heating down at night, which is also better for your health - and go to bed a bit earlier.
19.  Invest is a thicker winter duvet which is better than adding a blanket to a summer one.
20.  Bed socks and thick PJs should be the new trendy thing to wear.
21.  Buy a hot water bottle.

Please, however, do remember that young babies, the elderly and anyone who is ill should not be allowed to get cold.  The following temperatures are recommended:

      Elderly person:- 21ºC in the daytime living room, 18ºC in the night-time bedroom.
      A baby:- 21ºC in the daytime living room, 16-20ºC in the night-time bedroom.

Finally, if you are thinking about revamping your heating system do consider a wood-burning stove.  The wood you burn is carbon neutral and it can do more than heat your house.  Many have a cooking plate on top and I use mine for anything I would normally cook on the hob as well as heating up water for drinks and washing up.  I have an overhead drying rack which dries clothes really quickly meaning I have no need for a tumble drier .... oh and chopping, stacking and bringing in the wood is a great way to keep warm!

21 ways to reduce your heating bills

A Green and Rosie Life


  1. I love your heating stove! The humidity your adding to your house drying your clothes by it is great too! We use fleece or flannel sheets on our bed. It's amazing how warm that keeps us at night!

  2. Boilers are designed to heat a house from cold. This "leave it on while you're away" nonsense really irritates me. My mother-in-law leaves her central heating pumping fuel while she's on holiday, or goes out, all to avoid having to heat the house from cold on her return. Turning it off while you're out doesn't "wear out the boiler" on your return. The central heating just warms up as usual, and cuts out when it reaches temperature... like any other day! The only reason to leave it on low, say 10 degrees centigrade would be to stop the pipes icing in the winter, or for the benefit of an animal that's still in the house. No offence to Rosie, as I know you're citing other people's arguments here, but other people's arguments, when they cause environmental damage and are utterly pointless, irritate me.

    1. I agree - a house does NOT need to be heated to normal temperature when it is empty. I wasn't advocating either way (I don't have central heating so can't comment from experience) but was suggesting people try both ways to see what works for them ... like you say, they may need to stop pipes freezing/keep a pet warm. Reading back, maybe I needed to be clearer and say that if you are out of the house for any length of time you should to REDUCE the temperature. Oh and I really want to shout at people when I see pictures of them inside in winter wearing the skimpiest of tops/shorts etc meaning the heating must be blasting out at full pelt and more to keep them warm enough to do that ... says she who is typing this wearing a lovely padded jacket and warm scarf!

    2. Haha. I have a padded jacket too. There's a blanket over my legs and my feet are in a cosy furry thing that keeps them warm and is plugged in to produce a low heat. I spotted it in a charity shop and it's been good. I used to get chillblains because while the rest of me was cosy, the feet got cold without heating on! So it's close to zero outside and I'm cosy! We don't do daytime heating except in exceptional circumstances. It would be wasteful to heat the whole house with just me in it. I also have microwavable slippers somewhere!

  3. I'd also say turn the heating off at night and use a hot water bottle. Who on earth needs to heat the whole house all night? Someone with more money than sense, that's who.

    1. Totally agree - I can't stand hot bedrooms. I have a lovely warm winter duvet and bed socks.