There’s many things you can do to prepare for the chilly months, but a lot of people are unsure of when to put the heating on.
In this guide we’re going to look at when to put the heating on, whether that’s based on time of year, your comfort levels or if you’re just trying to find the most economical way to use your boiler.
As a starting point, it might be a good idea to think about what sort of temperature you’d like to set your thermostat at. To give you a few pointers, you can take a look at our guide to finding the ideal temperature for your home.
When is it cold enough to put the heating on?
There’s no real right answer to this question as it’s fairly subjective and completely depends on what you’re comfortable with. Some people will feel the cold more than others and some homes will keep the heat better than others, so it comes down to a few factors.
Many experts believe on average, people in the UK are more likely to turn the heating on when the temperature drops below 15 degrees outside. Obviously there is no specific day when this will be, but it’s thought that this falls around late September/October.
But again, this can vary depending on you and your home. In fact, it’s thought that most people will habitually wait until the clocks go back, which this year (2023) is Sunday 29 October.
So if you’re thinking when to put heating on, the most logical and popular choice appears to be mid to late October.
But before you do that, why not take a look at our guide to things to check before turning the heating on. That way you’ll know you’re prepared, whatever time you choose.
Should I leave the heating on at night?
The advice on getting a good night’s sleep is to keep your bedroom temperature between 17°C – 19°C. Keeping your heating on above that temperature at night can result in you overheating and having a restless night’s sleep.
It’s thought that temperatures above 24°C can cause you to have a poor night’s sleep. If you’re cold when going to bed, the most effective way to overcome it is by taking a hot water bottle to bed. This way your body will be able to get warm and regulate its temperature as the hot water bottle cools down.
As one final point on this, and perhaps more importantly, leaving your heating on overnight – particularly if there’s a frost or cold snap, can cost you a lot of money when it comes to your energy bills.
Is it cheaper to put the heating on all day?
Despite what you might have heard, experts at the Energy Saving Trust say that the idea that it’s cheaper to leave your heating on low all day is a complete myth and it will actually waste your energy.
Their research shows that having the heating on only when you need it is, in the long run, the best way to save energy and money! They say the most economical way to do this is by using the timer on your thermostat so your heating will turn on and off to keep your home at your desired temperature.
In summary, the best way is to heat your home when you need it, that way you can keep on top of it.
How to get the most out of your heating
We’re all looking for ways to keep an eye on our energy use. To help, we’ve come up with 10 simple steps you can make in the colder weather that may help keep the costs down.
1) Upgrade your thermostat
A great way to keep on top of your energy usage is by getting a new smart thermostat. By installing a new thermostat you can control your heating from your phone, so you’ll have more control over your energy use.
To find out more about saving energy with a smart thermostat, take a look at our helpful guide.
2) Draught proof your home
Draught proofing is a relatively cheap and easy job that pays for itself. Plugging all the gaps in your doors and windows stops all your lovely warm air escaping outside, and blocks the cold outside air from inviting itself in.
Here are some of the less obvious ways that heat escapes from your home:
- Windows and window frames (unless you have double glazing)
- Doors and door frames (especially wooden doors)
- Open keyholes
- Loft hatch
- Chimney (if you don’t use your fireplace)
If you have any gaps between windows and frames, buy some draught-proofing strips from your local hardware shop. They’re not very expensive, but according to the Energy Saving Trust draught proofing your home can save you £50 a year on your energy bills.
If you’ve decided to get rid of those pesky draughts, it’s worth remembering that air still needs to flow out of your house, especially in rooms where lots of moisture is produced (kitchens and bathrooms). So be careful not to seal any openings like extractor fans or vents, which are designed to maintain a healthy air flow in your home.
3) Add some layers to your life
Another great way of keeping your costs down is by simply adding a few layers. Putting on a jumper will insulate your body and make it easier to regulate your temperature. A nice cosy blanket can be a welcome addition too.
4) Think about soft furnishings
Soft furnishings like curtains and rugs can help with insulation, which will make a difference to keeping the heat in. If you have carpet then this will naturally help, but if you have hard flooring then it’s worth thinking about a nice rug to keep you snug.
There’s a few other things you might want to try to improve your energy use, take a look at our energy saving guide to find out more.
5) Clean your radiators
Radiators are one of those things that seem to attract dust, so it’s a good idea to clean them regularly to help the heat circulate effectively.
You can remove the dust and dirt from your radiator by using your vacuum cleaner or a damp cloth. You can get rid of any excess and have your radiator working to its full potential in no time.
6) Avoid drying clothes on your radiator
Drying clothes on your radiator will prevent the heat from circulating around your home in the way that it should. In the same way with dirt and dust limits the effectiveness of your radiator, covering it with soggy clothes means that the heat is drying your clothes, not heating the room.
7) Turn your thermostat down by 1°C
It’s thought that if you turn your heating down by just 1°C can help save you up to 10 percent of your heating bill. It sounds too simple to be true, but lowering your thermostat could potentially save more energy than you think.
8) Check your radiator covers
Radiator covers can reduce the efficiency of your radiators by up to 70%. While they might look nice in your home, they can be made from materials such as wood which can block the heat from circulating.
You can find out more about this in our do radiator covers block heat blog.
9) Bleed your radiator
When your radiators get air trapped in them it will stop the water circulating properly, which can result in cold spots at the top of the radiator. You can get around this by bleeding your radiator. You’ll normally know that this needs doing by finding cold spots at the top of your radiator.
10) Get a boiler service
One of the best ways to make sure that your boiler is working to its full potential is by getting a boiler service. During the service, a professional Gas Safe engineer will follow a comprehensive boiler service checklist to make sure everything has been checked and is working well.
Whatever the weather, get peace of mind with HomeServe cover
Regardless of when you’re looking at putting your heating on, the key is preparation. Whether that’s making sure your radiators are clean and working properly, or installing a smart thermostat.
But really, this all starts with a healthy boiler. Whether you’re in need of a service or you simply want to future-proof yourself against any problems at home, feel free to take a look at our boiler cover options to give you peace of mind.