Gas Heating safety tips
With colder temperatures creeping in, you might be having mixed feelings about the winter ahead. It’s hard not to look forward to snow-covered pavements, skiing and hot chocolate. But the cold-season spike in gas and electricity bills beckons.
Don’t let your heater spoil your season of cheer, take some advice on how to prepare your home for winter. Once you know these ten things before turning on your central heating, you can embrace the chill, lower your energy usage and save money.
- There are various types of central heating systems.
Knowing your central heating system is the first step to maximising energy efficiency and preventing costly or dangerous malfunctions. Does your system rely on hot air, steam, or hot water? Is it gas- or solar-powered? Is there are a boiler or heater involved? Get to know the basics of your central heating system so that you know what to look out for, and what questions to ask the professionals.
- Heat escapes through draughts.
Sealing up all the little spaces where heat can escape is worth the effort. Check your windows for tiny gaps, especially if they were installed before 2002. Even adding a letterbox flap or keyhole cover can make a big difference in keeping warm air in and cold air out. Significant savings can be had by reducing escaping heat.
- Heat escapes through poorly insulated attics.
You know the rule: Heat rises. And so much of it is lost through the roof when your home isn’t properly insulated. The recommended 270mm insulation will do wonders at keeping the warmth where you want it – around you.
- Heaters are more efficient with reflectors.
Remember the sun-bathing days of summer? Imagine your heater is you and the heater reflector panels are the shiny sun reflectors that girls in movies always have. The moral is, reflectors installed behind your heater maximise energy, reflecting heat from your heater away from external walls and back into your home, keeping it from escaping to the outdoors.
- Not every room needs to be the same temperature.
Think about it. How often are you using your guest bedroom? Does it need to be as warm as your living room? Maybe your kitchen heats up every time you turn on the oven. Could you spare a few degrees there?
By installing thermostatic radiator valves, you can control the temperature in each room, which will leave you with much lower energy bills than if you’re keeping every room at the same cozy degree.
- Radiators should feel equally warm on the bottom and at the top.
Maximise energy efficiency by “bleeding” your radiator. When the top part of your radiator is cooler than the bottom portion, there is most likely cool air trapped inside. By bleeding your radiator, or clearing out the cool air, it will function more efficiently.
- Getting your central heating serviced can prevent big disasters.
Hiring an engineer to service your central heating system can not only prevent future breakdowns by solving minor problems right away, but also can save you from potentially dangerous situations, like a carbon monoxide leak.
- Fabric is your friend.
Rugs and curtains can help keep heat inside your home by providing a little insulation to cover hard surfaces like windows and wood floors. They also hold heat, providing you with warmer walkways and walls without you having to crank up the thermostat.
- Heating a home for no one is wasted energy.
There are very few reasons to keep your heat on all day if no one is there to enjoy the warmth. Invest in a timer, and set it according to when you wake up, leave for the day, and come home. Cutting out all those wasted hours of heating will make a big impact on your energy bill.
- Every degree matters.
You’ll be surprised how much money you’ll save by lowering your thermostat just a few degrees, especially over the course of a winter. You might also be surprised by how much you don’t mind putting on joggers and a jumper when you get home and kick off your shoes.
Instead of nostalgically insisting on your favourite tank top, lower your thermostat just a little, and smile when your energy bill comes in the post because that fleece will feel even cosier.
11. BONUS TOP: Get your boiler serviced regularly.
Can you remember when you last had your boiler serviced? It’s extremely important to have your boiler serviced every year, it’s easy to not think about but it really could be a matter of life and death. And Landlords even have a duty of care to have this carried out.
Carbon Monoxide poisoning is responsible for sending 4,000 people a year to accident & emergency in the UK. Also think about fitting a carbon monoxide alarm.
It’s relatively quick and easy to carry out a service. Just make sure you use a Gas Safe Registered Engineer and you’ll have peace of mind your boiler is in full working order.
About the Author:
Dave Holliday is the owner of Watertite Plumbing in Bristol. Dave has helped many homeowners and landlords with their plumbing, boiler and gas safety checks. You can connect with Dave onGoogle+, Facebook andLinkedIn or call Watertite Plumbing and Heating on 01179 093 967.