The expert-backed date to turn the heating off
Experts have revealed the recommended date to switch the heating off and it's sooner than you might think.
Whether you're tucked up under blankets having already turned the thermostat down or you're enjoying a toasty boost of warmth from your radiators with no plans to knock off the heat any time soon, deciding when to turn the central heating on and off is dividing the nation.
Throw in a cost of living crisis and the decision about when to switch off the heating is set to be even more significant this year.
While some households might also be in the grips of a battle of the sexes when it comes to having control of the thermostat, experts have waded in to reveal the date we should be pulling the plug on the cosiness.
Sunday March 26 is officially the recommended day to turn off your central heating.
Household energy bills are predicted to peak in April 2023, so to avoid being stung, Brits are encouraged to make the switch this Sunday.
Read more: Martin Lewis' tips for keeping heating costs down
Although there is no temperature marker at which you should turn your heating off, David Johnson, technical and category manager, at The Underfloor Heating Store, says we should be aiming for the time when clocks go forward, which this year falls on March 26.
“Every home is unique, but well-insulated homes will maintain their heat even when it is cold into early spring,” he explains.
“Insulation has a low U-value and conductivity. This means a well-insulated home provides resistance to heat flow and lowers your heating and cooling costs. The more insulation you have, the less heat will travel through the floor, roof and walls, keeping your home cool in the summer and warm in winter.”
Though energy costs are predicted to peak in or around April 2023, The Energy Savings Trust anticipates that UK energy costs will continue to be high through 2024.
According to Johnson this indicates energy costs should start to decline, starting in the summer or autumn of 2023.
“However, the energy cost situation still remains highly volatile, and depends on various influential factors," he adds. "Such as government actions, economical factors such as inflation or a potential recession and geopolitical factors such as energy supply chain.”
Read more: Aldi further reduces affordable fire pits: 'Great on those chillier nights'
Turns out we're also making some pretty major mistakes when it comes to our heating, including leaving it on low all day.
“It is important to note that leaving your heating on low all day does not reduce your heating bills," explains Jordan Chance, heating expert from PlumbNation.
“With the cost of living rising across the country, including higher energy price caps, many Brits will be feeling the financial squeeze.
"Having the heating on only as and when you need it, is the best way to save energy. Using a thermostat with a timer offers a simple and speedy solution to controlling your heating effectively."
And there are some other methods for helping to maintain a warmer home, with and without the heating on.
Read more: 23 ways to stay warm without turning on the heating
Expert tips for getting the most out of your heating
Upgrade Your Thermostat
Your thermostat controls your home’s temperature by communicating with your boiler. Thermostats, particularly in older homes with older heating systems, can degrade over time, which can lead to delays in your boiler switching on, or your home being heated at much higher temperatures than you need.
"Upgrading your thermostat could provide for greater accuracy in thermostat to boiler communication, preventing energy from being wasted, and saving you money," Chance explains.
Watch: Budget 2023: Energy price cap extended, government confirms, ahead of Jeremy Hunt's first budget
Stopping heat from escaping through unwanted gaps is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to save energy and money. "To draught-proof your home, you need to primarily identify the ‘problem areas’ where draughts are causing issues, these could include doors, windows, chimneys and floorboards," explains Chance. "You can block unwanted gaps by using draught-proofing strips around your windows and doors, or flexible silicone-based filler to fill the gaps in your floorboards."
Add an Extra Layer (or two!)
Other half always telling you to put on another layer? They may have a point. Instead of heating your home to be warm enough to walk around in shorts and a t-shirt, why not turn your thermostat down and put on a jumper? "Adding clothing layers will insulate your body and make it easier to regulate your body’s temperature," Chance explains. "The more layers you wear, the less the heating will need to be on, reducing your heating bills."
Read more: Is it normal to feel cold ALL OF THE TIME?
Switch up your home furnishings
Believe it or not soft furnishings, such as curtains and rugs, can make all the difference in saving money on your heating.
"If you have a carpeted home then it will naturally help to boost insulation; however, if you have hard flooring investing in some good quality materials, such as a plush rug, will help to prevent heat from being lost," Chance adds.
Turn your thermostat down by 1°C
An excessive heating bill can be easily rectified with the ‘step-down’ challenge. "By turning your heating down by just 1°C, you can save up to 10% on your heating bill," Chance explains.
The typical heating range is between 18- 21°C, but reducing your own level of cosy by just 1 degree can make all the difference.
"It is also important to avoid classic thermostat ‘faux pas’," Chance adds. "Contrary to popular belief, turning up your thermostat does NOT heat up your room quicker. This method will only send your energy bills skyrocketing."
Read more: Should you leave the heating on overnight when it's very cold?
Clean your radiators
Hands up whose radiators are always left out of their weekly cleaning routine? Well, now's the time to add them in. "A build-up of dust can affect your health, allergies and your heating bill," explains Chance. "Layers of dust in your radiator can prevent heat from escaping effectively, meaning your radiators will have to work harder to warm your room." Who knew?
Don’t use your radiators as a clothes dryer
Turns out the clothes that you place over the top of your radiators prevent the heat from escaping and heating your room. This means that your boiler has to pick up the slack and work at a greater rate – increasing costs.
"Similarly, the increase in the air’s moisture can create condensation, leading to potential issues with mould and dampness," Chance adds.
Check your radiator cover
If you have a radiator cover it's worth checking that it is a good conductor of heat. "Radiator covers made from materials such as wood are poor conductors and can prevent heat from being dispersed effectively," explains Chance.
"Also, if your radiator cover has a solid top then you may be losing even more heat, as it will be absorbed by the top of the cover."
Bleed your radiators
It may be the most searched DIY task, but according to Chance, bleeding your radiator is essential in preventing the efficiency of your radiator from decreasing due to air entering your heating system.
"The quickest way to check if air has entered your heating system is to turn your central heating on and feel your radiator," he explains. "If the radiator is warm at the bottom but cold at the top this is generally a sign that air is present."
Get your boiler serviced
If your boiler is ageing and has seen better days, there’s a strong chance it won’t be working as efficiently as it once was.
"Defective boilers can increase your heating bill massively as they will need to work significantly harder to bring your home up to the desired temperature," Chance explains. It is recommended you get your boiler serviced every 12 months to ensure it is running efficiently and safely.