Small changes, BIG savings – how to save money on your heating bills

There are plenty of gadgets out there that purport to save you money on your heating bills but cutting through the information can leave us cold…even if our heating is costing us a small fortune.

We’ve teamed up with Alastair Barton from Omnia Plumbing & Heating in Sandbach – a local business intent on saving its clients money – to find out what small steps can make the biggest difference to your bills.

Condensing boiler
The number one way you can save money on your heating bills is to fit a condensing boiler. An easy way to tell if you have a condensing boiler is to put your hand next to the flue – if you can feel heat, you have an older style boiler and you could definitely benefit financially by having it replaced.

A condensing boiler recycles the heat that an old-fashioned boiler loses, working harder for you, heating your home more efficiently and saving you cash and are up to 92% efficient. The average saving is a massive £450 per annum

The crucial aspect of having a new condensing boiler fitted is getting the size right. Having a boiler fitted that’s too big for your property could result in less efficiency. It’s always best to speak with a Gas Safe heating engineer, who can advise you on the best size and type of boiler for your home and who will know which would be most efficient for you. Certain boilers can be ranged internally giving you less output on the heating side, if not needed, but maximum flow rates on hot water and a qualified installer will be able to do this if the boiler allows. There are several options when choosing a condensing boiler – ask your engineer which suits you best.

Magnetic filter
A magnetic filter clears the magnetite from the water that circulates in your heating system. Why is that important, you might ask? Imagine you placed a nail in a glass of water and left it overnight. When you come back to it, the nail will be covered in rust. This is what happens to the water in your heating system. The Ph levels in the water, over time, create rust inside your radiators, which leads to a slow deterioration your heating system and making it less efficient. 

A magnetic filter grabs onto any rust particles and stops them passing through your system. This could save you up to 6% on your annual heating costs and prolong its life. It costs as little as £200 to be introduced to your system, when fitting inhibitor should also be added to your system.

Another great way to make your heating system run more efficiently is to deaerate. This removes the micro bubbles from the water, so you end up heating pure water and not water that contains bubbles. Why do you need to do that? Heating pure water instead of water that contains lots of bubbles means you’ll be heating only water, which will take less time to heat up, allowing your boiler to shut off more quickly as it reaches a desired temperature in less time. 

Fitting this to your system is quick and easy and involves adding it to a boiler pipe. Any air automatically comes out of an auto air vent at the top. This process can save you up to 7% on your annual heating bills for an outlay of around £125.

Smart thermostats
You may already have a smart thermostat, or know someone who has one, so you’ll be aware of the savings they can generate. Smart thermostats hook up to your WIFI and you can control them from a smart phone, tablet or laptop.

The smart bit is that they ‘talk’ to weather stations to accurately assess local weather conditions. Here’s the science: if you set your thermostat to come on in the morning at 18 degrees, your smart thermostat will know – because of its connection to the weather stations – whether the temperature you have set matches the weather conditions. If it’s minus 5 outside, your smart thermostat will set your heating to come on earlier, ensuring that you are toasty at home when you wake up. Leave the heating on when you go out, and your thermostat can register that your house is empty and switch it off.

Gone are the days when you need a science degree to programme your heating – a smart thermostat can help you control it when you’re on holiday with the click of a button on your phone, or you can instruct it to turn on the heating when you’re nearly home. At a cost of around £300 per unit, it’s a great way to control your heating and therefore your bills, with savings of up to £150 a year. They can be integrated with an existing wall-mounted thermostat or if you don’t have a wall mounted thermostat or no thermostat at all, a stand can be added for as little as £35 extra, and it takes around half an hour to fit one unit.

Visualise standing on the banks of a river…what’s happening with the flow of water? Chances are that the middle of the river flows faster than at the edges, because the edges are holding back the water flow. Imagine that river is the inside of your heating pipes – same thing happens. Pipes are generally made of copper or plastic and it’s easy to think that those pipes are smooth. They are not and over time lumps and bumps build up inside your pipes leading to resistance.

Adding endotherm to your system allows water to run as quickly at the edges as it does in the middle, resulting in hotter pipes and quicker heat dispersion, which saves you money because the heat is allowed to be released more quickly. The size of your house will dictate how much fluid needs to be used but you will save as much as 15% on your annual heating bill, with an installation cost of around £130. (standard 3 bed semi-detached). It really is a no brainer to save 15% year on year on your bills. This will work on all wet heating systems but is more efficient on a closed system.

Thanks to Alastair for his expert advice on improving the efficiency of your heating! Why not follow them on Instagram at @OmniaCheshire to see them in action. We will be back with further updates and information later. They can also be reached on e mail