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Keeping heating costs down

(49 Posts)
Millymay Fri 01-Dec-23 07:10:35

I’m very anxious about this winter’s fuel bills. There are just the two of us - old Victorian semi - gas CH. We’re both out and about for part of each day. Is it better to have the heating on for a couple of hours each morning and evening, or to have it on (much lower) all day? Currently on morning and evening, but we are quite cold at times, despite being active.

Sago Fri 01-Dec-23 07:28:44

We live in a large 3 storey Victorian home, last year I experimented with my smart meter and it was cheaper to heat the house for a couple of hours morning and evening.
I use halogen heaters in our snug and bedroom as a boost and we lite a fire at weekends.

Millymay Fri 01-Dec-23 07:34:29

Ah, thanks. I meant to say we haven’t got a smart meter. No open fire or wood burner either sad

rosie1959 Fri 01-Dec-23 07:38:16

Apparently it is more cost effective to run heating in the mornings and evenings but for us if it is very cold as it is at the moment I tend to keep the heating running if not the house gets too cold to be comfortable.

Georgesgran Fri 01-Dec-23 07:45:11

Martin Lewis did a bit on this.
More economic to use the heating as and when, rather than keeping it on low constantly.

Whitewavemark2 Fri 01-Dec-23 07:48:00

I can’t understand how the house heats up to an appropriate temperature if you only have it on for a couple of hours morning and night.

As you age you need to be more careful about the temperature in which you are living, as you body (heart in particular) has to work harder and this can have a detrimental affect. That is why heart attacks happen more often in the winter.

It is recommended that a temperature of 21c for the living room and 18c for bedrooms etc.

Our heating comes on at 7am. Yesterday - a cold day between 3-4c, it took the house a goodly time to reach the required temperature of 21c (it had dropped in the living room to 18c overnight) it goes off at 8pm, we have long lined curtains on all our windows, and pull them as soon as is reasonable this weather - it makes a huge difference to the house’s temperature and gas consumption. According to our smart meter we are averaging £5 per day on gas.

TillyTrotter Fri 01-Dec-23 07:58:08

Our sitting room has three outside walls, a large bay window and a small window. We heat it to 20 deg in the mornings this time of year but when the heating schedule turns off the room loses the temp within a couple of hours so we use the gas fire during the day when we are home.
Our 20 year house is not well insulated in the walls.

Casdon Fri 01-Dec-23 07:59:10

Georgesgran

Martin Lewis did a bit on this.
More economic to use the heating as and when, rather than keeping it on low constantly.

Yes, and another thing he recommended was to layer up rather than put on your heating. I have bought for my Mum for Christmas a rechargeable battery operated heated gilet. My mum is in her nineties, and she’s always cold even when the room is far too hot for most people, so I thought this would help her, but it’s suitable for anybody and can be worn indoors or outdoors when you’re active too.

LucyAnna Fri 01-Dec-23 08:01:47

Casdon

Georgesgran

Martin Lewis did a bit on this.
More economic to use the heating as and when, rather than keeping it on low constantly.

Yes, and another thing he recommended was to layer up rather than put on your heating. I have bought for my Mum for Christmas a rechargeable battery operated heated gilet. My mum is in her nineties, and she’s always cold even when the room is far too hot for most people, so I thought this would help her, but it’s suitable for anybody and can be worn indoors or outdoors when you’re active too.

I do tend to layer up, but my hands get so cold!

Casdon Fri 01-Dec-23 08:12:54

LucyAnna

Casdon

Georgesgran

Martin Lewis did a bit on this.
More economic to use the heating as and when, rather than keeping it on low constantly.

Yes, and another thing he recommended was to layer up rather than put on your heating. I have bought for my Mum for Christmas a rechargeable battery operated heated gilet. My mum is in her nineties, and she’s always cold even when the room is far too hot for most people, so I thought this would help her, but it’s suitable for anybody and can be worn indoors or outdoors when you’re active too.

I do tend to layer up, but my hands get so cold!

I’m looking for some electric wrist warmers for my friend who sews, she has Raynauds and she really struggles with her hands in the cold weather. The handwarmers are good, but they prevent you using your hands. If anybody has usb rechargeable wrist warmers I’d love to hear where they are from.

Greyduster Fri 01-Dec-23 08:14:12

I have mine come on in the morning, and if I’m going to be out most of the afternoon I set it to come on again at around four until seven. For the rest of the evening it’s cheaper to run the gas fire on low (any higher than that and the heat beats you out of the room!) in the living room than to heat rooms I’m not using. I had new radiators and a new boiler fitted last year and though it was the best recommendation for a house this size, it seems to struggle compared to the old one, which was fifteen years old. When I can pluck up the courage I will set the heating to come on for the whole day, to see what the damage is! At the moment, I throw a tea towel over the smart monitor and try and ignore it!

Joseann Fri 01-Dec-23 08:14:43

Our 3 storey house in London was far warmer than our spread out, mainly ground floor property on the coast. The heat loses itself round the corners, so we have the heating on in every room all day, but we switch it off if we are out for long periods. It was 2° here and snowing yesterday. We are certainly exceeding our budget now on the smart meter reading.

M0nica Fri 01-Dec-23 08:18:53

Whitewavemark2 For over 55 years, and in 5 different houses have ever only had our CH on from 6.00am - 9am in the morning and 4.00pm - 10.00pm in the afternoon, most of that time in houses built befor 1900, including the last nearly 30 years in a 550 year Listed Building, which means loft insulation but limited double glazing or wall insulation. Yes, we too have thick lined curtains that are drawn as soon as the heating comes on, or lights are turned on

Our thermostat, is, and has always been set at 18.5 degrees. We do not fiddle with the thermostat, although in bitterly cold weather - like now, we will sometimes put the heating back on after lunch. We find the temperature in our house as comfortable as ever.

Whatever the recommendations, I find houses with temperatures set for 20 degrees or more, stifling hot. Despite its age our house holds the heat and the internal temperature does not fall dramatically during the day.

DH generally wanders round the house in a T shirt, and always has, I feel the cold so will usually have a sweater over a thermal vest - and always have.

I have in the past suffered from hypothermia, I know it and recognise it, but never in the house.

karmalady Fri 01-Dec-23 08:20:58

The fabric of any building needs to warm up, whatever the timing, once the fabric is warmed then heating cost will come down because what is required from then is heat maintenance

Obviously insulation is key, especially loft insulation, warm air rises. The family home was freezing cold, it had single glazed windows until we could afford double glazed. I helped with that by using cling film and a hair dryer to fix while I stretched the cling film over the glass. Also home made reflectors behind radiators does help, I used cardboard and stuck foil on top

OP I would use lower level warmth for the whole day and boost when you come home. Whitemark gives the safe temperatures for oldies ie 21 and 18.

Martin Lewis omitted to warn about the dangers of condensation and mould if heating is too low. Personal health would suffer as would the fabric of a building

Our family home was detached so we had an external wall built around with added insulation. A much earlier home had a single skin wall around the main bedroom over a garage, it was beyond freezing. DH put insulated boards up internally and we put cardboard under the bed. It all helped

Energy bills will never be low again, something we need to get used to

BlueBelle Fri 01-Dec-23 08:24:28

1875 three storey Victorian house, no central heating
I just heat my one room with a gas fire when I m in, when I m in other rooms I have a wrap around hot water bottle and layers it’s not too bad I have a nice hot shower when I get out of bed and that keeps me warm enough to get dressed and do my hair/make up etc
I m out a lot so it’s mainly early mornings and late
afternoons/evenings It’s manageable BUT roll on springtime

BlueBelle Fri 01-Dec-23 08:25:21

Oh I should add the house was as it was built original sash windows and no double glazing etc

karmalady Fri 01-Dec-23 08:26:57

Greyduster, is your boiler pressure set on the correct number ie just below 1.5 when not working? It is easy to adjust pressure, I tweaked mine yesterday. All boilers lose pressure over time. It needs that pressure to circulate the water properly

Georgesgran Fri 01-Dec-23 08:27:20

My house is 30 years old, brick built, but with a big lounge and a stupid galleried landing. I don’t think it can be well insulated at least not by modern standards. The thermostat is in the hall, set at 15 - it brings the heating on and never gets up to that temp, as the heat from the radiator opposite, goes straight upstairs. However, the lounge gets very hot and I keep the radiator in my en-suite on too. It costs £2 an hour to heat those rooms, going by the Octopus App. I’ve averaged £9 a day during this cold snap and that’s a couple of hours in the morning and the same at night. Electricity runs at just under £2 a day. I dread to think what it would be left on all day.

karmalady Fri 01-Dec-23 08:28:31

also the rads need de-gassing or the bubbles cause blockage. Just a radiator key for that

RosiesMaw Fri 01-Dec-23 08:33:27

I remember this theory of lower level heating all day throughout the house being popular a few years ago and discussed it with the CH engineer who services my boiler.
He said unless you have a super-insulated house in every respect I would be throwing money down the drain, especially if I was not in all day.
My boiler is timed to come on an hour (or so) before I get up and switches off at 8.30 by which time I am showered, dressed and up and about.
It comes on again at 4.30 when it is getting dark. If I am not going to be in until later I just turn the thermostat down a bit and equally, if I am finding it very cold I can advance the clock.
A quick boost of my (gas) “log burner” if I have come back to a cold house is also enough.
I absolutely agree with the couple of hours at each end of the day , it has worked for us in a large Edwardian terrace, an 18th century stone farmhouse and our current 70’s modern house.
As long as you are reasonably active you don’t need to heat the whole house all day - in our childhood we would put on another jumper or “throw another dog on the bed” grin

Greyduster Fri 01-Dec-23 08:35:50

Karma yes, the boiler is at the correct pressure. It’s only recently been serviced and I check the pressure regularly. It’s a combination boiler; the last one wasn’t and seemed to be much more efficient.

Charleygirl5 Fri 01-Dec-23 08:39:58

I live in a 3 bedroom modern, well-insulated house built in 1988. I had a combi boiler fitted a few months ago and trying to get the house warm for me since is a nightmare. The hand thermostat is at 21.5C and if I am watching TV I have a small electric blanket which fits over my knees, I cover it with a light blanket, it is T and thermostat controlled and is perfect.

I have the heating on very low in every room upstairs and I leave the doors open. Unfortunately the staircase is in the lounge and heat rises.

I am at home most days so the heating is on. Yesterday it was -1C, I was out for a couple of hours so I left the heating on. My monthly combined bills are around £140.

GrannyGrunter Fri 01-Dec-23 08:52:13

It has been interesting reading all the comments but my main worry is when the gas central heating is on in the morning and evening only, what will the cold do to the fabric of the house and pipes, I am terrified of pipes freezing. I have an 800 wattage electric panel heater on the wall of our back lounge and that keeps the room warm all day but the rest of the house is cold. My home is a large detached property. I have just bought myself some floor length, hooded thick fleece hoodies and wear soft fur lined slipper boots during the day and they came me very cosy. In the 1940's we had coal fires (when we could get hold of the coal and could burn anything on the fires but in the morning the inside windows of every room were iced up but I do know we never had a burst pipe as cold as it was. So perhaps worrying about burst pipes is silly as I have great insulation around the house.

tanith Fri 01-Dec-23 09:50:07

I live in a 2 bed semi and my heating is on constant I have it at 15* from 7am for most of the day turn it up late afternoon to 18* till 8ish then it’s down to 10* at night. I’m only chilly when I get up to make my cuppa at 7am and turn the temp up to 15*. The house stays reasonably warm all day. My last dual fuel bill was £117 for the month. Which is quite manageable with the gov help.

Millymay Fri 01-Dec-23 10:00:29

Thanks for all your comments and info.