As we prepare for the 'Beast from the East' weather that is due, and forecast until the middle of March, we speak to local gas and heating experts Ignite Gas Care about how to keep your house warm and how to look after your central heating.
1. Heat your home to 18°C
18 is the magic number. With the thermostat at 18°C most people should be warm enough in jeans and a jumper. If that feels too cold, try bringing it down in stages, starting at a comfortable temperature and going down by one degree each week to give yourself time to adjust. Turning your thermostat down by one degree cuts your fuel consumption by up to 10%, so even a small change here can bring serious savings.
2. Use your timer
If your boiler has a timer function, it's worth taking a minute to get the hang of it with clever use of the timer, you can always wake up and come home to a warm house without leaving the heating on 24/7.
Remember that your house will take a while to heat up after you turn it on, and cool down after you turn it off, so try setting the timer so the heating kicks in 20 minutes before you wake up and switches off 15 minutes before you leave home.
In the evening, set it to come on 20 minutes before you get home from work, and turn off 20 minutes before you go to bed.
3. Don't heat what you don't use
This one's obvious, but easy to forget: only heat the rooms you use every day. If you've got a spare room, or any other bit of the house you don't spend much time in, turn those radiators down or off until you need them, and keep the doors closed so heat doesn't leak in from the rest of the house.
You can also keep temperatures a bit lower in hallways and corridors, as you'll never normally be in there for more than a couple of minutes at a time.
4. Keep the radiators clear
Have you ever felt the back of a sofa that's up against a radiator? Warm, isn't it? But by moving the sofa away, even by a few inches, hot air can circulate more freely. That'll save damage to your furniture, and warm up the whole room. The same goes for curtains, and the towel that's been hanging on the radiator for weeks - put it away!
5. Hunt down hidden draughts
Some leaks will be immediately obvious. i.e. If you can see daylight through it and its not a window, it could probably use some attention, but some are harder to spot. You'll often find big gaps where pipes or cables go into the wall: check behind the washing machine, under kitchen cupboards and around sinks and toilets.
What happens if your pipes freeze in the cold weather?
When pipes freeze
Turn the water off at the main stop tap. Turn on all the taps to empty any water from the system in pipes that have not frozen. Try to gently unfreeze the pipe with warm cloths, a heater or hair dryer, but do not overheat the pipes as this will cause them to crack.
Avoiding burst and frozen pipes
Turn the stop tap off and on again every now and then, to stop it sticking. Try to keep the property warm. Do not leave taps dripping. If you go away for any length of time, leave the heating on low and drain down water supplies.
Ignite Gas Care are one of the many members on our loyalty card scheme, offering discounts to Linley & Simpson customers when you choose us during your property journey.