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Is it Cheaper to Leave the Heating Running or Turn it Off When Not Needed?

Author: Samuel Beckingham
Updated: Oct 15, 2022
3 minutes read

Now that the nights are drawing in the chill is in the air, we’re all thinking about when our heating is going to be turned on (if it isn’t already). On top of this, now that energy prices have increased by 27% thanks to the Energy Price Guarantee, cost is more of a factor with heating more than ever. The widely discussed issue is whether it saves you money keeping your heating on a low setting all day or to only turn it on when you need it. Turns out, it really depends on your circumstances.

According to a recent announcement from Energy Saving Trust, leaving your heating on a low setting all day to save you money is an urban myth. If you’re only heating your home when you need heat, you’re effectively reducing the amount of energy you use, which then reduces your bills.

Programmers and timers are best suited to saving you money because the thermostat will only switch off once the set temperature has been reached. Timers will stop your heating working when you don’t need it to.

With this question, it’s important to understand the amount of energy it takes to heat your home. If you lose heat quickly, leaving your heating running all day will waste so much energy as it will be pouring out the house and out of your bank balance. While Energy Saving Trust would assume that a low level of heating is not required for most homes, it probably doesn’t take into account homes with poor insulation. Homes that suffer from damp may need to have the heating on for longer to reduce the problem.

Likewise, if your house is prone to condensation, especially within the walls, you’ll lose heat more quickly, so it may not be better to turn the heating off in cold weather. Running it more regularly to eliminate condensation, and the problems revolving around it, far outweighs the money you’ll save by not using your heating.

You can effectively reduce the amount of heat you lose and save money by implementing a few changes. If you shut the curtains or blinds at night, you’ll keep the heat trapped in. Any draughts will be prevented from entering the room. Just remember to keep them open when the sun’s out to gain any heat from outside.

If you close off unused rooms, you’ll keep the heat where it’s needed. Any heating should also be turned off in these rooms as well, to lower running costs. Likewise, draught excluders are essential for saving money. You can prevent how much heat is lost by closing off gaps.

If you have hard flooring, consider purchasing rugs. This is especially useful if you lose a lot of heat through your floor. You can even install heat deflector panels behind radiators to prevent any heat from leaving through the external wall.

If you are pension age, you may be entitled to the Warm Home Discount scheme or the Winter Fuel Payment, which will help towards heating costs.