6 home heating myths that could cost you money this winter

Two people's feet pressed against a radiator

Ah, winter.

The mornings are cold and dark, the evenings are cold and dark – so much so that you’d be forgiven for whacking up the thermostat and going into hibernation until the warmer months of spring draw near.

But while this seems like an idyllic winter for some of us, it doesn’t come without its drawbacks – one of which is the high energy bills!

You may be wondering: ‘how can I heat my house cheaply?’, and the chances are that you’ve been fed bits and pieces of information which, while given in good faith, are simply untrue.

Here are some of the most common home heating myths that might be costing you money this winter…


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#1 – Turning down individual radiators saves money

Many people ask: does turning down individual radiators save money? And it may seem like common sense to think that the less heat coming from a radiator, the less you’ll be paying to heat your house.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

If your main thermostat is on and set to a specific temperature, your radiators will not rest until the room that they’re in reaches that temperature. If you don’t plan on using the room (perhaps it’s an unused bedroom or bathroom) then your best option is to turn the radiator off, rather than down.

Keep in mind that you may want to put the radiator on low from time-to-time to keep the radiator aired (plus rooms left unheated for too long can start to feel damp).

#2 – It is cheaper to leave the heating on low all day

It’s always nice to get home from work to a cosy house, but is it cheaper to leave the heating on all day?

Unfortunately, the answer is no.

Whatever the scenario, having your heating on when you aren’t there to benefit is always going to cost you money – you’re much better off setting your timer to come on at certain times only, to make sure that your house is warm by the time you get home.

Alternatively, you could pick up a Hive thermostat from Amazon, which conveniently lets you control your home’s central heating (and hot water) from your smartphone.

#3 – Keeping hot water on all day saves you money

The initial cost of turning the water in your tank from hot to cold is high, so is it cheaper to keep hot water on all day?

Again, the answer is no.

The hot water in your tank, assuming that it is properly insulated, should stay heated for at least a few hours, while having your water supply heated 24/7 is literally throwing money down the plughole!

Set a timer for around 30 minutes before you shower – this should be enough for the whole family (depending how long you shower for).

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#4 – Turning up your thermostat will heat your house quicker

When the weather takes a turn for the worse, many people head straight to the thermostat and turn it all the way up – after all, this will heat the house up quicker, right?

Wrong.

Your home will heat up at the same rate no matter what the thermostat is set to – the only difference is that, by turning up your heating to the max, you’ll waste money by making your home far warmer than it needs to be.

The whole point of the thermostat is to keep your home at a consistent temperature so by all means, turn up the heat if you are cold, but not if you simply want your home to warm up ASAP.

#5 – Painting radiators black helps save a lot of money

Why would a radiator be painted black? Well – aside from aesthetic purposes – black absorbs heat, but painting your radiators that colour will not necessarily help to warm your home.

The reason for this is that radiators give off primarily convective heat, which warms up the air in a room. This air naturally circulates to heat up the entire room and is not affected by the colour of your radiator.

Radiators do give off some radiant heat, which heats up objects that come into direct contact with its surface (hence why people dry their clothes on a radiator during the winter). Your radiator may get slightly hotter when painted black, but not enough to make a noticeable difference.

#6 - You should wait until your boiler breaks down to get it checked

Too many people wait until disaster strikes to have a technician look at their boiler – as most do not use their central heating throughout the summer, it isn’t until the cold kicks in that they notice it isn’t working.

Being left without hot water or heating isn’t ideal at the best of times, let alone during the winter!

Get your boiler serviced regularly (ideally once a year) to avoid being hit with a costly repair bill when winter strikes.

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Related articles:

Prepare your home and garden for winter

A homeowner’s guide to winter-proofing your house

Winter car kits: what you need in your car to stay safe this winter