Martin Lewis finally explains the best way to use your heating
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With freezing temperatures likely to continue into January and February, experts are warning households to keep their homes warm to prevent mould and frozen pipes. Andy Kerr, Founder of BOXT, said: “The ideal room temperature during winter is between 18C and 20C. During the winter months, it can be tempting to crank up the thermostat.
“But experimenting with different temperatures can both reduce energy bills and potentially lead to a better night’s sleep.
“Instead of setting one temperature across the whole day, try switching between daytime and nighttime temperatures, as this may make you more comfortable at home and also reduces energy usage.”
This is because you’ll likely need a lower temperature during the night because you may be wrapped up in pyjamas and a duvet.
During the day when you’re awake and active, the home temperature may need to be higher in order to keep warm. Purchasing a smart thermostat makes this especially easy to programme.
The expert also said leaving your heating switched on all day to help you save money on energy bills is a common “myth” many people believe.
This is because the boiler will be working continuously to heat the home, using more energy.
Andy added: “Instead, it is much more energy-efficient and cheaper to set your boiler so it only fires up when you require warm water or heating, and only set your thermostat to the temperature you want your home to be.
“Cranking the thermostat up won’t make the system heat up any faster, but will mean it continues burning energy for longer to reach that higher temperature.
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“The constant burning of fuel to heat your home will not only result in energy being used but also energy being lost.
“In a standard home, heat loss can be quite significant compared to the heat you’re putting into it through your boiler and radiators, although if your home is well insulated, heat loss shouldn’t be too much of a concern.”
It is important to keep babies and elderly people warm during the winter months as they are sensitive to a change in temperature.
According to the Lullaby Trust, the optimal temperature for infants is between 16C and 20C.
Also, another consideration to bear in mind is whether your system has weather compensation controls.
The expert said this technology takes into account the external temperature as well as the inside temperature, modifying the boiler operation accordingly, which could result in the boiler running more often on a lower setting.
Andy noted: “This is likely where the misconception around leaving your heating on continually being more efficient comes from.
“However, these systems are relatively rare in the UK, and so for the majority of homes it will be more efficient to only set your heating to come on when you actually need it.”
During the winter months, when it is especially cold and frosty outside, homeowners should be mindful of the temperature they are heating their homes to.
Although many are struggling with energy costs, if the boiler is not being used at all when it is freezing, the system could freeze.
The boiler expert explained: “It’s generally advised to keep your thermostat set to a minimum of at least 10C to avoid the risk of your pipes freezing.” If your pipes do freeze, it may cause damage to the home, causing costs to rack up.
Not heating the home also runs the risk of damp and mould forming in areas such as the walls, ceilings and around window frames.
Karl Huckerby, cleaning expert from Spare and Square, said: “To prevent mould and damp in your home, it’s recommended that your living rooms are 21C and bedrooms are 18C.
“Bedrooms should be colder so that it is comfortable to be under covers when sleeping without it being too hot.”
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