Rising energy prices are affecting an increasing number of UK households. Consumer prices for gas have risen by 17.1% since the energy price cap increased in October 2021, leaving many households looking for ways they can save money on their energy bills without sacrificing comfort.
Enjoying a warm and cosy home during winter is something that most UK residents take for granted. However, the recent price increases have left many worrying about whether they’ll be able to heat their homes throughout the coldest months of the year.
This simple tip can reduce your gas bill by up to 8%, and you’re unlikely to notice any difference in the warmth of your home.
How Can I Save Money On My Energy Bills?
Reducing your boiler’s heating flow temperature is a simple way to save money on your energy bill. This is not the same as turning down your thermostat. Your thermostat controls the temperature of your home, whereas your heating flow temperature is the temperature within your boiler.
Unfortunately, this tip will only work if you have a condensing combi boiler. These boilers don’t require a water cylinder or hot water tank and are common in smaller houses and flats. If your combi boiler was fitted after 2005 it will be a condensing one, and you should be able to see a white pipe that runs from your boiler into an inside or outside drain.
If you have a water cylinder it’s important that your boiler water temperature stays at a minimum of 70°C. Heating water to at least 60°C prevents the growth of dangerous bacteria including legionella, and keeping your boiler at 70°C will account for heat loss that occurs during the transfer of hot water into the cylinder.
What Does ‘Heating Flow’ Temperature Mean?
Your boiler is likely to be operating at what is known as 80/60 flow and return temperature. This means that your boiler heats the water it sends around to radiators (known as ‘the flow’) to 80°C, and after travelling around your heating system the water returns to your boiler at 60°C, having given off 20°C to heat your property.
A temperature of 80°C is too high for your boiler to achieve its advertised efficiency rating. Reducing the flow temperature will allow it to run in ‘condensing mode’, which is when it can recover the heat that would have been lost through the flue in older-style boilers.
Reducing the flow and return temperature to 65/45 or lower will enable your boiler to recover sufficient heat to reach its maximum efficiency potential.
How Can I Change My Boiler Temperature Control?
To change the heating flow temperature of your boiler, simply adjust the appropriate dial. This may have a picture of a radiator on it, but if you aren’t sure which one to change either consult your instruction manual or look up the details for the specific make and model of your boiler online.
While adjusting the flow temperature for your heating is a great way to reduce your energy usage, make sure your hot water boiler temperature settings stay at a minimum of 60°C. This will prevent the growth of dangerous bacteria that could make you or another member of your household very sick.
What Is The Correct Condensing Boiler Temperature Setting?
Most boilers can operate at temperatures of between 30 - 80°C, with maximum efficiency being achieved at around 45°C. However, a higher temperature may be required to effectively heat an older property or one that is poorly insulated. The lowest you can reduce the temperature to will also depend on the size of your radiators and your thermostat settings.
Try reducing your heating flow temperature to 60°C to start with (or 50°C if you have a home built after 2010), and then reduce it down to 45°C if you still feel warm and comfortable.
What Changes Will I Notice?
If your home has modern double glazing, cavity walls, and is generally well-insulated you should be able to drop your heating flow temperature without experiencing any drop in comfort.
You’ll notice that your radiators won’t feel as hot as they did before, which is just a sign that your heating system is working more efficiently. This means that your home won’t heat up as quickly as it used to, and therefore you may notice that your rooms feel cooler if your heating is only programmed to come on for a short amount of time.
It’s better to increase the time that your heating is on rather than raise your heating flow temperature back to where it was before. This is a more efficient way to heat your home and will help to reduce your energy bills.
How Can I Find More Ways To Reduce My Energy Bills?
If you want to discover more ways to reduce your energy bills while still enjoying a warm and comfortable home, why not join our free Heatio Energy Challenge Group?
As a member, you will discover new ways to decrease the amount of energy you use, reduce your carbon footprint, and help us to shape the future of domestic heating. Joining our Energy Challenge Group will also enable you to take advantage of a free Home Energy Assessment where you will receive tailored advice on how you can reduce your energy usage.