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Energy bills are a huge concern for millions of households this year, with many people looking to keep costs low by finding the cheapest way to heat a house. In this guide, that’s exactly what we’ll be addressing, with 22 energy-saving tips to help you heat your house for less money.
What is the cheapest way to heat a house?
The cheapest way to heat a house right now is to rely on a gas boiler and use electric space heaters sparingly to heat the individual rooms you use most frequently. In addition, solar panels can be an extremely cost-efficient way to heat your house. Frugal habits such as closing doors, heating your body before you heat your whole home, and using draught excludes can also go a long way to retaining heat in your house.
Cheap ways to heat a house
1. Use a programmable thermostat
One of the easiest ways to save money on your heating bill is to use a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats allow you to set different temperatures for different times of the day, so you’re not heating your home when no one is there. You can typically save about 1% on your heating bill for every degree that you lower the temperature during an 8-hour period.
2. Seal and insulate your home
Another way to reduce your heating costs is to make sure your home is well-sealed and insulated. Gaps and cracks in your walls and ceilings can let heat escape, so be sure to seal them up with caulk or weatherstripping. Adding insulation to your attic and walls can also help to keep heat in, and it’s a relatively inexpensive way to improve the energy efficiency of your home.
3. Central heating
Using your central heating is one of the most obvious ways to heat your home in the winter – and what most homes in the UK rely on. Having your central heating on 24 hours a day set at 27 degrees C would certainly hike up your energy bill – but you can still enjoy a warm home without too much damage to your bills.
If you can, put your central heating on a timer to switch on for a few hours in the morning (for example, half an hour before you wake up), and for a few hours in the evening (7 – 9 pm, for example, when you’re most likely to be at home and in need of some warmth before getting into bed!).
4. Use space heaters wisely
If you need to use a space heater to supplement your primary heating system, there are a few things you can do to minimize the cost. First, only heat the rooms that you’re using – don’t try to heat your entire house with a space heater. Second, look for a model that has an automatic shut-off feature so it doesn’t stay on all night long. And finally, make sure the space heater is properly ventilated so it doesn’t pose a fire hazard. Take a look at our review of the cheapest type of heater to run.
5. Focus only on the rooms you use
Heating your whole home is always going to be much more expensive than heating just a room or two. Focus on heating the rooms you use most often first by using a space heater and some of the other tips in this list. If you can keep the rooms you use most at a comfortable temperature, the other rooms won’t matter as much.
6. Lower the temperature gradually
If you’re going out of town for an extended period, don’t turn off your heat completely – that can cause problems like frozen pipes. Instead, lower the temperature gradually over a day or two before you leave. That way, your home will stay warm enough to prevent any issues, but you won’t be wasting energy (and money) heating an empty house
7. Thermal curtains
Thermal curtains can be a great way of keeping the heat in your home – especially at night when you’ll have the curtains drawn. If you have a drafty home or large windows, investing in these could be a great move.
8. Utilise electric blankets
Electric blankets use comparatively little energy compared to other ways to heat a house. These can be great for warming you up when working from home or warming up your bed before you go to sleep (just make sure it’s switched off before you fall asleep!).
9. Use carpets or rugs to insulate your floors
Humans feel the cold through our feet, so if you have wooden floors, your home is much more likely to feel cold than carpeted flooring. If you have wooden floors throughout your home, consider getting a few good-quality rugs to lay down in the winter months and add some warmth and cosiness to your house.
10. Draught excluders
Draught excluders are a cheap way to heat a house, preventing any cold draughts from entering your home through gaps under the doors. These are inexpensive things to add to your armoury and can make a huge difference.
11. Keep doors closed
Keep the doors to the rooms you want to stay warm closed – the same goes for the rooms you’re not using! There is no point in focusing all your energy on heating one room only to have the doors open and allow heat to escape into other parts of your home.
12. Use a wood stove
A wood stove is arguably one of the cheapest ways to heat a house. However, the stove itself can set you back around £600 – £700 plus installation, so it’s not a cheap initial investment. Once installed, a wood burner is estimated to set you back around £400 over the entire winter period (October – April), which is considerably cheaper than the average central heating bill.
13. Insulate your attic
If your attic area is not insulated well enough, you will be spending hundreds of pounds every year just for the heat to escape through your roof far quicker than it needs to. Some households may even be qualified for a free loft insulation grant.
cheap ways to heat your body
14. Wear Layers
One of the best ways to keep yourself warm in winter is to wear layers. Wearing multiple layers of clothing will trap heat and help to keep your body temperature stable. When choosing your clothing for the winter, opt for natural fabrics such as wool or cotton, which will be more effective at trapping heat than synthetic fabrics.
15. Stay Hydrated
It is also important to stay hydrated in winter. Drinking plenty of fluids will help to prevent your body from becoming dehydrated, which can make you feel cold. Be sure to drink plenty of water and avoid alcoholic beverages, which can cause you to lose body heat.
16. Eat Warm Foods
Another way to keep yourself warm in winter is to eat warm foods. Eating foods that are high in calories will help to increase your body temperature. Foods that are particularly good for keeping you warm in winter include stews, soups, and chilli. It sounds simple, but eating a warm and hearty meal can make a huge difference compared to a cold salad!
17. Get Some Exercise
Exercising is also a great way to keep yourself warm in winter. When you exercise, your body produces heat, which can help to keep you comfortable even in very cold weather. Just be sure not to overdo it, as excessive exercise can cause you to sweat, which can make you feel colder.
18. Limit Your Time Outdoors
Finally, one of the best ways to keep yourself warm in winter is to limit your time outdoors. If you must go outside, dress appropriately and try to stay in sheltered areas as much as possible
19. Wear slippers
Just as rugs or carpets can help keep your home warm, so can wearing slippers on your feet! This is a considerably cheaper way to keep your feet/body warm than carpeting your entire home, too.
20. Hot water bottles
Utilize a classic hot water bottle to keep yourself warm on those cold nights and save on heating! Just make sure you throw out your hot water bottle every couple of years to avoid the risk of it deteriorating and burning you.
Budgeting tips for the cheapest way to heat a house
21. Submit your meter readings regularly
If you’re not already in the habit of submitting your meter readings to your energy company every month at minimum (assuming you’re not on a pre-payment meter), then this is an absolute must. If you are not submitting readings regularly, your energy company will bill you according to their estimated usage for your home – which is invariably more expensive than your real readings!
22. Consider how you pay
If you pay your energy company by direct debit, they likely bill you a monthly average factoring in the likelihood of your energy use rising in the winter. This typically means you end up paying more in the summer than you’re using, building up credit that then goes towards your higher usage in the winter months.
The advantage of this system is that you don’t suddenly have to come up with an extra £100 or more a month in the winter for your additional energy use, as you’ve already been paying the same amount all year. The downside, of course, is that your money is then just sitting as credit in your energy company’s bank account for half the year!
What is the cheapest & most efficient way to heat a house?
The cheapest way to heat a house is to first focus on heating yourself. Then, use a space heater to heat the rooms used most often, and adopt heat-preserving habits such as closing the doors in your house and installing thermal curtains and draught excluders in your home.
Which type of heating is the cheapest to run?
A space heater can be a very cheap way to heat a house – read our guide to which type of heater is the cheapest to run.