Experts debunk whether it’s cheaper to have heating on all day

Gillian Fairbrass gets emotional as she cannot afford to turn the heating

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With energy bills on the rise, Britons are likely to be keeping a closer eye on their heating consumption. One question that’s often discussed at this time of year is whether it’s cheaper to keep heating on low all day or to only switch it on when it’s needed.

With this question at the forefront of many people’s minds, experts from BOXT, an online boiler company, have debunked the myth surrounding whether it’s cheaper to have central heating switched on all day.

Andy Kerr, the founder of BOXT said it’s a “myth” that leaving the heating switched on all the time will help homeowners save money on energy bills. 

He said: “This is not the case, as your boiler will be continually using energy.

“Instead, it is much more energy-efficient and cheaper to set your boiler so it only fires up when you require warm water or heating, and only set your thermostat to the temperature you want your home to be.

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“Cranking the thermostat up more won’t make the system heat up any faster, but will mean it continues burning energy for longer to reach that higher temperature.

“The constant burning of fuel to heat your home will not only result in energy being used but also energy being lost.

“In a standard home, heat loss can be quite significant compared to the heat you’re putting into it through your boiler and radiators, although if your home is well-insulated, heat loss shouldn’t be too much of a concern.

“However, in the winter months you should be especially mindful of what temperature your thermostat is set to.”

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As the weather cools down, there is a chance the water in the boiler system could freeze if it isn’t being used.

This could actually cause a lot of damage to the heating system, costing homeowners more in the long-run.

Experts advise keeping the thermostat set to a minimum of at least 10°C to avoid the risk of pipes freezing.

Homeowners should also consider whether the system has weather compensation controls.

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This technology will take the external temperature outside into account as well as the temperature inside the home which then modifies the boiler operation accordingly. The boiler may run more often on a lower setting if the boiler has weather compensation controls.

Andy added: “This is likely where the misconception around leaving your heating on continually being more efficient comes from.

“However these systems are relatively rare in the UK, and so for the majority of homes it will be more efficient to only set your heating to come on when you actually need it.”

With this in mind, homeowners may want to know what the ideal room temperature is during the winter months.

Andy said the “ideal” room temperature during the winter months is between 18°C and 20°C.

However, there have been many reports from doctors that sleeping with the heating on all night can cause the body to overheat more quickly.

The Sleep Charity advises that an ideal bedroom temperature is 16°C to 18°C, and warns that temperatures over 24°C can impact sleep and cause restlessness.

Andy continued: “During the winter months, it can be tempting to crank up the thermostat. But experimenting with different temperatures can both reduce energy bills and potentially lead to a better night’s sleep.

“Instead of setting one temperature across the whole day, try switching between daytime and nighttime temperatures, as this may make you more comfortable at home and also reduce your energy usage. Smart thermostats make this especially easy to program.”

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