Some timely energy saving advice to homeowners from the HVCA, the officially recognised organisation representing central heating contractors

December 2009 - Energy prices have remained at record levels despite substantial falls in wholesale costs and the “big six” energy giants have told regulator OFGEM that it is unlikely gas and electricity prices will be cut in 2010.

So what can consumers do in order to become more energy efficient and help keep their energy bills to a minimum? Some timely advice comes from the Heating Helpline ( or 0800 840 4069).

Backed by the Heating and Ventilating Contractors’ Association (HVCA), the Heating Helpline provides essential information on energy saving in the home, the importance of regular heating maintenance and offers dozens of money-saving solutions for homeowners.

This useful 10-point guide from the Heating Helpline will help homeowners keep bills down and reduce waste this winter.

  1. The hot water cylinder thermostat in the home should be set at 60°C or 140°F. Any higher is a waste of energy and could lead to scalding, but any lower and there may be a risk of legionella.

  2. Insulate the cylinder to avoid wasting energy. Fitting a jacket to the boiler that is at least 75mm thick could save more than £50 each year.

  3. ‘White’ appliances like fridges that are more than 10 years old are “energy hogs”. Replacing an old refrigerator or freezer with a modern appliance (energy efficient A or A+ models) could save you as much as £150 per year.

  4. Set room thermostats to no more than 21°C (70°F). Each degree centigrade below this temperature can save as much as 5% on your heating energy.

  5. Consider fitting one of the new generation of programmable thermostats that let you choose the time you want your heating on and its temperature for all seven days of the week – it means saving energy by not heating your home unnecessarily.

  6. By installing a condensing boiler and modern heating controls, you could save over £200 a year on your fuel bill – even more if you are replacing an electric system. Since the changes to the Building Regulations in 2005, anyone installing a new domestic gas boiler in the UK has been required by law to use a high-efficiency option.

  7. Unoccupied rooms don’t need to be heated but a little heat will prevent condensation. Thermostatic radiator valves let you control the temperature in each room. TRVs cost around £8.00 each.

  8. Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs) use 80% less energy than old style standard incandescent bulbs and last up to 12 times longer. Replacing a 100-watt incandescent bulb with a 25-watt CFL can save up to £100 in energy costs over the life of the bulb.

  9. Badly fitted doors and windows mean avoidable heat loss. Draught proofing doors and windows by sealing gaps will help save energy. Similarly a curtain at the front door and heavy, well-fitted curtains at the windows provide insulation and reduce draughts.

  10. Heat rises and a great deal of heat can be lost through the roof, so upgraded insulation in the roof space can have a major impact on heat loss through the ceiling, typically paying back within two years. Ensure your insulation is at 27cm as this could save you up to £150 a year.

Robert Higgs, Chief Executive of the HVCA, comments: “As winter approaches homeowners need to ensure that their heating system is safe as well as energy efficient and the Heating Helpline can offer substantial benefits to the homeowner, including providing expert advice and guidance on energy-efficient home heating as well as the need for regular heating maintenance.”

Further information on how to reduce energy bills and save energy is available via the free Heating Helpline on 0800 840 4069 or at the website