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Last updated: 14 July 2021
Heating your house can be expensive. Our guide explores the best way to stay toasty for less.
What heating systems are there?
There are various different ways to heat your home, ranging from the traditional to the innovative and unusual:
- Mains gas - The most common form of heating in the UK. Most homes will have gas boilers to heat the water supply
- Heating oil - Most commonly found in Northern Ireland and rural areas of the UK, home heating oil (HHO) is a cost effective yet labour intensive alternative to mains gas
- LPG - Liquid petroleum gas (LPG) is a more costly yet environmentally friendly alternative to traditional HHOs
- Electricity - Use mains electricity to provide warmth through storage heaters and water tanks. most commonly found in new flats or small apartments
- Solar thermal panels - The greener way to heat your home, solar thermal panels work great in conjunction with other energy sources
- Biomass boilers - Burns biofuel such as wood and other natural resources to provide energy and heat. It can be costly to set up if your home does not already have it
- Hybrid systems - Sometimes known as dual fuel systems, this heating method allows your mains gas or oil boiler to work in conjunction with an eco friendly option, such as a heat pump, to produce energy and heat that is more environmentally friendly
There are also a wide range of additional heating options that can help reduce your bills and reliance on mains heating. Check out our guide to find the most energy efficient heating solutions for your home.
What’s the cheapest way to heat your home?
Newer storage heater models are incredibly efficient. Taking advantage of off-peak energy rates, they store up heat overnight which you can use throughout the day. Economy 7 tariffs give highly reduced off-peak rates, so couple these methods together and you’ve got one of the cheapest ways to heat your home.
Heat pumps are usually either air or ground-sourced, and are another cheap provider of energy. They absorb the heat from their environment which then transfers to your home. While installation costs are steep, once set up they’re extremely efficient.
However, most household central heating systems in the UK are fuelled by mains gas. Competition is fierce, and therefore it’s still one of the most cost-effective ways to heat your home.
If you do have a gas central heating system, then you’re best off only switching it on when you need it; you should also frequently ensure you’re on the most affordable tariff. Use our energy comparison tool to find out if you can get a better deal.
How can I make my central heating system more efficient?
If you have a mains gas system, make sure your thermostat and timers are in working order. Also check that radiator valves – which control the heat flow to each room – and regularly bleed your radiators to reduce heat loss.
If your boiler is 15 years or older, replace it with a new, energy efficient one. Old boilers are prone to inefficiencies, costing you more money on your energy bills.
If you haven’t yet, you should also upgrade to a smart meter. You’ll be able to control your heating system remotely, meaning you can adapt the temperature or controls to guarantee minimum wastage.
When the heating is on, keep doors and windows closed and invest in draught blockers and thermal curtains to better trap the heat. It’s also worth ensuring your loft is properly insulated so all that lovely warmth doesn’t escape through the ceiling.