Posted on Leave a comment

8 Tips to Save Heating Costs This Winter

Prepare for a Winter that is economical in heating and comfortable

To prepare your house for winter, here are 8 simple tips that can save energy.

Winter is back. By this cold, the heating is turned on again. Now is the time to follow some simple and easy tips to save energy while staying comfortable. Especially since good gestures also make it possible to secure the house and directly reduce the energy bill. And on small installations, the cost can be amortized from the first winter or over a few seasons.

Summary :

  1. Have the boiler serviced
  2. Install a room thermostat
  3. Manage the heating well
  4. Maintain radiators
  5. Avoid drafts
  6. Do some small insulation work
  7. Air out every day
  8. Other good ideas

1. Have the boiler serviced

What could be more unpleasant than a broken heater in the middle of winter? To limit the risks, you have your boiler properly maintained. In some areas, this is also a legal obligation for boilers with a power greater than 20 kW:

Regular maintenance also reduces fuel consumption by 5% and increases safety.

If we heat with gas , we may be concerned by the change of gas type for part of Belgium . We then take advantage of the maintenance of the boiler to check that the various gas-powered devices (boiler, water heater, convector, stove, stove, etc.) are properly adjusted to use rich gas.

2. Install a room thermostat

No more adjusting radiator valves when you’re cold or when you’re leaving! The thermostat allows you to directly regulate the temperature. It guarantees a pleasant temperature with a minimum of consumption and handling, as long as it is used correctly ( see advice below ).

If you have your own boiler but no thermostat, it is in your interest to install one!

Manual, programmable, wireless or intelligent, there are several models of thermostat. It is chosen according to the constraints of the space to be heated, its needs and its budget.

3. Manage the heating well

Even if it only runs five to six months a year, heating consumes 65 to 70% of the energy in a home on average. This is more than all the other uses combined (hot water, cooking, appliances and lighting).

If you have a thermostat and thermostatic valves, you can regulate the room temperature fairly precisely and program the starting and stopping times of the heating. It is still necessary to understand how it works for efficient heating this winter. Come on, let’s review and program it correctly.

Adjust the thermostat
The thermostat is the conductor of the heating system. It is based on the temperature of the room in which it is installed (often the living room) to control the boiler. If the room temperature is lower than the desired temperature (setpoint temperature), the thermostat controls the ignition of the boiler. Once the temperature is reached, the boiler stops heating.

On the temperature side, we heat instead:

at 19 or 20 ° C when you are at home ;
at 15 or 16 ° C when sleeping or not at home .
Adjusting the temperature in this way easily saves 10 to 25% of heating. With an average bill of 1000  / year, the gain is 100 to 250 per year!

Thanks to the thermostat, you can easily choose these “set” temperatures. With all thermostats (except the manual), you can also program the times to heat to what temperature. But the operation varies depending on the model.

Adjust the thermostatic valves
Thermostatic valves make it possible to limit the temperature of each room.

Their numbers which correspond to maximum temperatures, at which hot water no longer enters the radiator:

0: valve closed
*: antifreeze (7 ° C)
1: 12-14 ° C
2: 16-17 ° C
3: 20 ° C
4: 23-24 ° C
5: no limit
Short :

There is no point in opening all the valves on 5 in the hope that the room warms up faster! If all radiators have their valve open on 5, they will just heat up fully until the set temperature is reached in the room where the thermostat is located.
If you spend the day in the living room and dining room, you don’t need the bedroom, bathroom and hall to be continuously heated to 19 ° C too. In these unoccupied rooms, 16 ° C or less is sufficient. We will therefore adjust the temperature using the thermostatic valves. And save a lot of money by avoiding unnecessary heating!

What if the thermostatic valves are not working properly?

Does the radiator heat up regardless of the valve position? Or, on the contrary, no longer heats everything? We check that the needle is not stuck: we remove the head of the valve and we move the needle back and forth with pliers or hit it with a small hammer.

For an efficient wood stove
We prepare a few logs next to the stove to finish drying them.A good wood fire can be used as main or additional heating. For it to be efficient, ecological and healthy, it is necessary to use a device whose efficiency is greater than 80%. We forget the open fire: it’s pretty but extremely polluting, especially with a significant production of harmful fine particles inside the home.

Only very dry wood is burned (at least two years in the air under cover). Otherwise, the performance will be less good and the fire will emit pollutants (unburnt materials, furans (dioxins), soot, etc.). We therefore ensure that there is a place to store the wood. Ideally, we also arrange a small corner near the fire where to place the next logs to be burned. This allows them to finish drying indoors.

4. Maintain radiators

In order for radiators to distribute heat properly, they must be purged, unobstructed and dust-free. Before winter, they are therefore offered a good cleaning. We take the opportunity to install reflective panels for even more efficiency.

Bleed the radiators
The air which has entered the heating circuit is released and possibly prevents water from circulating well in the radiators.

Use a flat screwdriver or a radiator wrench and a rag.
Start with the radiator furthest from the boiler or, if it is collective heating, the radiator furthest from the point of entry of the heating into the dwelling. Using the wrench or screwdriver, turn the screw and let the air escape until a drop appears. Close quickly and wipe dry if necessary.
Once all the radiators have been purged, check the boiler pressure (unless it is a boiler common to the building): it must be between 1.5 and 2.5 bars. Add water to the circuit if the pressure is insufficient.
Clear and dust the radiators
To properly distribute the heat, the radiators must be cleared. Avoid placing furniture right in front or drying laundry on it. Rather, laundry is dried right next to the radiator or a clothesline is hung over it. The clothes will dry just as quickly but without wasting energy.

Casually, the dust somewhat reduces the diffusion of heat from the radiators. We therefore carefully vacuum the radiators when cleaning. And we pass from time to time the “feather duster” behind the radiator and between the cells of the old models.

Place reflective panels
Place reflective panels behind radiators to save energyWhen a heater is placed against an uninsulated wall, some of the heat will pass through that wall. Obviously, the ideal is to insulate the accommodation well. But if you are a tenant or do not have the budget, you can reduce energy waste by placing a reflector panel behind the radiator. It is composed of an aluminum layer and a thin layer of insulation. It brings some of the heat back to the room, which improves comfort. The cost of the reflector (5 € / m²) is amortized in one winter.

5. Avoid drafts

The slightest draft gives an unpleasant feeling of cold, even when the room is well heated. To compensate, there is a tendency to increase the heating temperature. To improve comfort without consuming more, we track down drafts. The gain is £10 to £45 per blocked opening, according to Homegrade.

Isolate weak points
Some places are conducive to drafts. We take care to isolate:

mailbox (if it is on the front door) by installing a brush specially designed for this use.
Isolate mailbox

the door that leads to the cellar or garage. For example, a brush holder bottom is placed (a tab provided with bristles, which is glued or screwed to the bottom of the door and prevents air from passing underneath). And on the perimeter of the doorframe, an insulating seal is placed.
hood exhaust . If cold air enters through the hood, a non-return valve is installed at the outlet of the exhaust pipe, on the front. The damper opens when the hood is on and closes when the hood is off, preventing cold air from entering.
Use a door bead
If cold air passes under the door, a door bead is placed. You can make it yourself or buy a ready-made one.

The most effective roll is the “double bead”. It has the advantage of having a part that slips under the door and follows it. No more having to push back the sausage each time it is closed.

Caulk windows
Self-adhesive gaskets can easily be placed on the window frame. They crash when the window is closed and cut off drafts. Be careful, you must always be able to open the windows to ventilate the house.

Install curtains
In the evening, thick curtains cut off the cold coming from the windows, even efficient ones. They also add a feeling of warmth.

Be careful, if a radiator is placed under the window, we never let the curtains hang in front of it. They would channel all the heat to the window instead of letting it diffuse into the room. We make sure that the curtains are the correct length. Otherwise, we slide them behind the radiator.

6. Do some insulation work

Of course, the ideal is to reinforce the insulation of the dwelling as a whole. But this represents a substantial budget and choices that must be carefully considered. On the other hand, we can carry out some easy and inexpensive interventions before winter.

Insulate heating pipes
Insulate heating pipesHot water pipes that pass through unheated rooms act like small heaters, losing heat. For a one inch pipe with water at 70 ° C, the loss is equivalent to a 60W bulb every meter! For 5 m of pipes this represents a loss of 50 / year.

The problem can be easily solved: just wrap the pipes with a foam sleeve. There are different diameters and different thicknesses. The foam must surround the pipe as closely as possible and a thickness at least equivalent to the diameter of the pipe must be chosen.

Insulate the attic floor and the cellar ceiling
The cellar ceiling and the attic floor (if it is not fitted out) are cold surfaces that we gain by insulating:

25 to 30% of the heat goes through the roof. Insulating the attic floor reduces losses.
If we insulate the cellar ceiling, it will immediately be more pleasant to walk on the floor above!

Fortunately, it is easy to isolate these places as a finish is not necessary and they are accessible (no need to take anything apart).

Insulate the floor above unheated spaces: see the practical guide published by Wallonia
Insulate the attic floor: see the practical guide published by Wallonia

7. Air out every day

In winter, we caulk everything and fear drafts. Result: the house is full of humidity (risk of mold, proliferation of dust mites), bad odors and indoor pollutants that we breathe.

We therefore adopt the process of opening the windows wide, twice a day, for 10 minutes, creating a draft. This makes it possible to clear the air and evacuate a large part of the indoor pollutants.

Airing will bring in air drier than indoor air. However, dry air requires less energy to be heated. Double benefit!

Ideally, the windows are opened before heating, in the morning and in the evening. But we do not hesitate to ventilate even if the house is already hot. In 10 minutes, the walls do not have time to cool down. We’re just thinking of turning off the heat.

8. Other good ideas

If we qualify for eco grants, we can use them to save energy! They are used to pay for a room thermostat, thermostatic valves, boiler maintenance, insulation, reflective panels, etc.

We avoid waiting until the oil tank or the wood reserves (logs or pellets) are empty. By taking it in advance, you can achieve great savings, for example by participating in a group purchase. Wikipower , Test-Purchases , Groupasol … organize group purchases of fuel oil and wood, but also gas and electricity in the case of Wikipower.

We don’t forget to reinforce the “cocooning” feel of our house. The feeling of warmth is also made up of little things that are sometimes subjective: the colour of the walls, the brightness of the room, the presence of curtains, a carpet under the feet rather than tiling …

Moreover, if you spend the evening on your sofa watching a movie, it is much more comfortable to slip under a throwover or blanket than to turn on the heating and wait 1/2 hour for the air to heat up. And it’s also much more economical!

Leave a Reply