An Introduction To Understanding How To Reduce Your Fuel Bills

Energy Efficiency

The first step to take when looking for ways to reduce your fuel bills is to look at is why we need to heat our homes.

Obviously, apart from supplying plenty of hot water, the main reason that we have central heating installed is to make sure the family is provided with warmth at a level at which they can remain comfortable. Having adequate controls is a major factor in this, but equally so is a well-designed and efficient heating system.

Your heating system should provide appropriate levels of 'thermal comfort' for everyone using the property.

What do we mean by 'Thermal Comfort'?
This is a measure of a person's satisfaction with his or her surroundings. Thermal comfort is achieved when there is a desirable heat balance between the body its surroundings are met.

Thermal comfort is considered to be achieved when:

  • The air temperature at feet level is no greater than 30 C below that at head level.
  • Airflow past the body is horizontal and is between 0.2m and 0.25m per second. - Normally, a variable air velocity is preferable to a constant flow of air.
  • Room surface temperatures are at or below the air temperatures.
  • A relative humidity of between 40% to 60% is maintained.
  • The air temperature is between 16-22 deg. C. - This will be dependant upon the type of activity being carried out at the time. The age of occupants and also the level and quality of clothing being worn is also a factor.

Insulating, reducing drafts, controlling condensation/ventilation and providing controlled heating when it is needed, are all factors that are recognized as having an effect on the occupier's personal comfort and it is possible to implement a degree of control on all of them to give the correct level of thermal comfort and, most probably, reduce your fuel bills at the same time.

When discussing reducing fuel bills, these are the most frequently asked questions.

Is it cheaper to run the central heating all day or use the timer?

Can I set the controls to reduce my running costs?

Is it economical to shut off my radiators?

In summer is it cheaper to heat hot water all day or heat the water for short periods as required?

What settings should my boiler thermostat be at?

I have a boiler back unit. Is it cheaper to run the boiler or the fire?

What savings can be made if I

  • Insulate the loft?
  • Have cavity walls fitted?
  • Fit double glazing?

To find out the answers to the above questions see our follow up article:
Answers To Questions Asked When Discussing Reducing Fuel Bills

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