With the nights drawing in and the weather turning colder, households could miss out on significant savings if they forget to adjust their heating system for the change in temperature.
Poor energy use, in particular leaving heating and lights on by mistake for just four hours a week, is estimated to cost on average £250 per home every year*.
In response OFTEC, the trade association for oil heating, has issued advice to households on how to avoid these expensive mistakes by highlighting some of the most common winter heating myths:
- Myth 1: Turning the thermostat up high will warm the house more quickly.
- Fact: When the weather outside gets really cold, you may be tempted to turn your thermostat up to a high temperature – but you shouldn't need to do this. The house will warm up at the same speed, regardless of what you set it to.
- Myth 2: It's cheaper to leave your heating running at a low temperature than constantly turning it off and on when it gets cold.
- Fact: Having your heating on when it's not needed will cost you money so turn it off if it's not being used! Instead, adjust your timers so it comes on only when you want it to.
- Myth 3: Turning down individual radiators will save you money.
- Fact: This is not necessarily the case. If your thermostat is on, radiators will keep working until the room reaches the set temperature. If you want to save money, turn off radiators in rooms you aren't using. However, keep your main rooms heated as living in a cold house can be bad for your health.
- Myth 4: Your water needs to be constantly heated during the day or it'll be cold.
- Fact: If your water tank is well insulated it will stay warm for several hours. Set your timers so the water is heated an hour or so before you need it at two or three different times of the day.
- Myth 5: Only have a technician look at your boiler if it's not working correctly.
- Fact: Have your heating system serviced once a year to check it is working correctly and efficiently – this will help avoid a costly repair bill during winter. Make sure you use a GasSafe (for mains gas) or OFTEC (for oil) registered technician who will follow strict industry safety standards.
Malcolm Farrow from OFTEC said: "With temperatures beginning to drop rapidly, the temptation is to crank up the heating to the highest setting. However, this can be a costly mistake to make at an already expensive time of year with Christmas just around the corner.
"So, we've set out the facts to bust some of the biggest winter heating misconceptions and help households reduce their energy use and save money on their fuel bills."
*Energy use statistics, British Gas 2017