How can I save on heating

Choose the heating system best suited for you and use these rules
With the arrival of the cold, not only do we say goodbye to the vacations and face the reality of “back to school”. We also face another of the great domestic fears: the cost of heating our home. There are times of day, especially between the months from December and February, when we need to turn on the heating to be comfortable in our own home. Since this is not a luxury but a need, we cannot do without it. However, there are a series of guidelines that we can adopt in order to save on our heating bills.
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Choosing the heating system

Without a doubt, one of the best ways to save on our heating bills is to choose the system that is best suited to the characteristics of our home and to how we use it. This is why it is essential for your to know what each of them involves and for your to make the right decision.

Fossil fuel heating

Fossil fuels are one of the most widely used sources of energy in Spanish homes and there are three different types to choose from:

  • Natural gas: ideal for city apartments, as there is no need to worry about its storage or its distribution.
  • Heating oil: a good option for heating large homes, although it has to be stored in tanks within the house. This makes it more dangerous compared to natural gas.
  • Propane gas: because of its high heating capacity, it is perfect for heating very large houses. Unlike heating oil, it can be stored in small-sized cylinders, making it safer.

Electric heating

This is a very common system due to its easy and cheap installation, and how simple it is to maintain. However, it must be taken into account that choosing this system will directly affect your energy bill, so if you are in the habit of using it for long periods, it will end up being more expensive than a gas heating system.

Electric heating is recommendable for homes located in warm areas where it is not necessary to use a lot of power or to heat the house for a long time. It is also a good option for second homes where you don't spend a lot of time each year.

Thermoelectric heaters

This type of heating consists of a system of oil-based radiators that are heated through electrical resistance covered with a special steel. Its advantages include the fact that each radiator is independent and can be plugged in and unplugged whenever you want; once hot and switched off, they keep their temperature for a long time. However, if many radiators are needed to heat the house, such a system will end up being expensive.

Boiler with water-based radiators

This is the most widespread form of heating in Spain. It works by heating water by burning fuel, usually natural gas, in a boiler and distributing it to the radiators. The boiler can be communal for the whole building or it can be individual to each home.

Underfloor heating

This consists of installing electric cables or pipes with hot water under the floor of the home. The heat spreads upward, heating the floor and creating a warm and very pleasant environment. Besides these advantages, this system allows you to save between 10% and 30% of your heating consumption. However, it requires a considerable initial investment and a complex installation process.

Ten commandments for saving on heating

If, for any reason, you cannot change your heating system for the one that best suits your home and the way you use it, don't worry. There are a series of very easy tricks that will help you to save on heating bills without getting cold.

1. Bleed the radiators

Clean and remove the air from the radiators at least once a year, since radiators usually accumulate small air bubbles that impede the proper passage of heat. Before the cold of winter arrives is the best time to do this. That way, you will ensure they are in an optimum state for their use. If we don't bleed our heating system, we will spend more money for the same result.

2. Maintain a comfortable temperature

According to the Institute for Diversification and Energy Saving (IDAE), a temperature of 21ºC “is enough for the comfort of the home”. Be rational and don't fall into the trap that just because you have heating, it has to feel like August inside your living room. For every degree you increase the temperature, your spend around 7% more on heating.

3. Turn off the heating at night

It has been demonstrated that it is more efficient to keep the heating switched on for a couple of hours before going to sleep and to switch it on again when you wake up, rather than having it on all night. Leaving it on all night will only overheat the environment and result in you paying more.

4. Install programmable thermostats

With a thermostat or a programmable valve connected to your radiator, you can reduce consumption by between 8% and 13%.

5. Ventilate the rooms, but not too much

The IDAE points out that 10 minutes are needed to air the environment in our home without having it get cold. If we leave the windows open for longer, we will then have to use the heating more and, therefore, spend money unnecessarily.

6. Insulate your home well

Investing in good thermal insulation systems - in windows, doors, ceilings and floors - is, in the long run, a great way to save money on heating. Sometimes, major works are not necessary and it is sufficient to lay down rugs, use thicker curtains or to paint with colors that absorb the sunlight and, therefore, its heat.

7. Don't cover the radiators

No doubt you're familiar with the old trick of putting the damp laundry on top of the radiator so that it dries quicker. Despite being a widespread practice, this prevents the heat from spreading around the room, obliging us to keep the heating on for longer.

8. Carry out regular checks on your boiler

Just like when you bleed the radiators, dedicating some time and even a little money to inspect and keep the boiler in good condition can provide a major saving when we receive the bill. All devices in bad condition or that are old result in us wasting energy, thus making it hard to save money on heating.

9. Make the most of the sunlight

One way to save on heating bills, and to give our home a pleasant environment at the same time, is to make the most of the hours of sunlight. Draw back the curtains before going to work in the morning so that the sunlight can enter through the windows throughout the day and the house can heat up naturally.

10. Turn off the radiators of empty rooms

It may seem obvious, but it's always worth reminding ourselves of it. If in your home there is some room that you don't use frequently, turn off the radiator. Otherwise, when you switch on the heating, you will also be spending energy in those areas you don't use.

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