30 Mar How is energy used in the home?
When it comes to saving energy, the internet is full of ‘quick tips’ and ‘cheats’ that supposedly offer fast ways to reduce your household bills with little, to no, investment. These often involve turning off lights that aren’t being used, switching off appliances, and turning your heating down, or off altogether. We believe that in order for people to truly make significant cut backs they must first understand how energy is used in the home, however, which in turn helps indicate which practices are genuine money savers. Here, we make a start by comparing approaches to heating, and discussing whether keeping it on a low level at all times is cheaper than flicking it on and off as required.
All day heating: The negatives
It is easy to see why theories behind keeping your heating on low all the time are known to stand up. If you have spent time and money heating up your home, why would you let it cool down just to heat it up again a few hours later? Many believe that the energy used in heating a home from cold to warm quickly outweighs that used across a longer period of time by a heating system operating on a consistently lower level. According to the Energy Saving Trust, a certain amount of heat is always leaking out of your home, although the actual amount involved can vary depending on how energy efficient the property is. So if your heating is turned on all day, although your home has reached a consistently cosy temperature, it’s important to remember that heat is always being lost constantly, and will always need to be replaced. If your property is not very energy efficient, it will lose energy at a faster rate – so keeping the heat on all day in many cases merely results in the system working harder to maintain a consistent temperature inside. This in turn results in more expensive bills as you attempt to maintain a certain level on your thermostat.
All day heating: the positives
Unfortunately, despite the negatives outlined above, there is still not really a clear cut answer available to this one. Some experts claim that leaving heating on low all day is the cheapest way of using your heating. This is because when heating is turned off, condensation appears in the walls due to them cooling down quickly. The moisture from the condensation then acts as a conductor of heat, taking it from inside the structure, to outside. So with short blasts, the condensation that appears results in heat having an escape, and it therefore leaves just as quickly as it arrives. Dry brickwork has a much higher insulation value than damp brickwork, so preventing this type of condensation is in any event an excellent way of reducing energy costs.
It depends on the property
Having looked at both sides of the argument, it is obviously tough for homeowners to make an exact claim on which way is most cost effective. Evidently, much of it depends on how energy efficient a property is, and if it is insulated effectively or not. If a property has excellent insulation and very little heat energy escapes, you may feel there is a good chance that leaving your heating on a low temperature is the most cost effective way to heat your home due to no condensation in the brickwork.
Contrary to this, if an older property has very little insulation then it may be far more effective to heat up this property only when it is required. Any heat that is in the property will be lost very quickly, meaning that if the heating is on all the time you are effectively wasting your money and energy on an ongoing basis. Although the property won’t be warm all the time, turning on your heating when it is particularly cold is therefore likely to be a much more cost effective option, as overall less heat will be wasted.
It’s easy to see for yourself
It’s unlikely that in reality most of us are able to place our properties firmly into either an ‘energy efficient’ and ‘non-energy efficient’ category. The chances are that most properties will be somewhere in between these two points with characteristics of both. It is because of this that it is very difficult to provide a simple answer to which heating method is most effective. Our advice would therefore be to conduct a test to see for yourself! Allocate a week where you keep your heating on low, and then another week where you put it on as and when it is required. By keeping a record of when this took place, comparing and contrasting up and coming energy bills might then make it easier to see which week was more efficient in terms of energy costs, and you will have your answer.
If you aren’t happy with either cost after conducting such a test, it could be that your home simply has a poor energy efficiency rating. To help improve these issues, insulation is a guaranteed way to reduce the cost of your energy bills as it helps reduce the amount of energy that escapes from your home. Get in touch with the team today and we can answer any questions you might have, and offer suggestions around what insulation product would best suit your situation. Call us by phone on 01656 818881 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.