8 Actions to Improve Energy Efficiency in Heating Systems

woman sitting near energy efficient heating system
Written by James Kennedy

Every winter in the UK, many people get sick or even die because their homes are too cold.

Facts and figures show as many as 4,700 people in Great Britain died last winter because their homes were too cold and damp. Optimizing home heating system can save you money on your energy bills while keeping your home warm and cozy.

Lots of people had to turn off their heating or use less heat, even though it was cold outside. This made their homes cold and damp, and it made them more likely to get sick and die.

This is especially true for older people and people who are sick. It’s not just a problem of being painful; it’s a serious health problem.

The Power of Energy Efficiency

Did you know that our homes are responsible for nearly 16% of greenhouse gas emissions? This means that our homes are hurting the environment. But there are things we can do to fix this.

We can make our homes warmer and more comfortable by upgrading our insulation, replacing our boilers, revamping our heating systems, installing solar panels, and draft-proofing our homes.

These things will also help us save money on our energy costs and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

Everyone wants to do so. Who does not? That’s the goal of energy efficiency. It’s our future. And to create this future for us, the UK Government in collaboration with several reputable companies like Berks Insulation is doing a good job. We as responsible citizens can also play our role in improving energy efficiency of systems we use in our homes.

What’s Energy Efficiency?

When we talk about energy efficiency, it does not mean using less energy. Rather it means using energy smartly. Energy efficiency is about using the right tools and right technologies. It is about taking care of the environment. And it is about fighting climate change.

When we use energy efficiently, we get more use out of the energy we have. This means we can do the same things, like turning on lights or running appliances, but use less energy.

When we use less energy, it helps the environment and our economy in many ways. It reduces pollution, helps us save money, and makes our planet a healthier place to live.  

Why Do We Need Energy Efficiency?

Improving energy efficiency is key to fighting climate change.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) says that we need to improve energy efficiency to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and reach net zero by 2050.

In the UK, we’ve made great progress in energy efficiency over the past 60 years. In 1960, most homes were heated with individual coal fires. But now, almost all homes (97%) have central heating. 

This is a great achievement, and it shows what we can do when we work together.

Now, we need to take even further action to improve the energy efficiency of our heating systems. This will help us fight climate change and save money on our gas and electricity costs.

Why Should We Improve Energy Efficiency?

Upgrading your home’s heating system is a smart choice that can benefit you in many ways. You can save money on fuel costs, help the environment, and make your home more comfortable.

Here are 8 ways to improve the energy efficiency of your home’s heating system: 

Efficient Use of Combi-Boiler

The most common type of boiler is called a combi boiler. It heats your home and provides hot water without a separate hot water cylinder.

To get the most out of your combi boiler, it’s important to control it properly. There are a few things you can do to control your boiler efficiently. This could include a timer, a thermostat, and a hot water cylinder thermostat.

A timer can be set to turn the boiler on and off at certain times of the day. This can help you save energy by not having the boiler running when you’re not home or when you’re sleeping.

A thermostat can sense the temperature of the air in your home and turn the boiler on and off as needed. This can help you keep your home comfortable without using too much energy.

A hot water cylinder thermostat can sense the temperature of the water in your hot water tank and turn the boiler on to heat the water when needed. This can help you have hot water whenever you need it without wasting energy.

In addition, each radiator should have a thermostatic radiator valve (TRV). This allows you to control the temperature in each room separately, which can help you save energy and money. For example, you can turn down the TRV in a room that you don’t use often.

Options for Heat Pumps

Heat pumps can do many things at home, like warming up your swimming pool or making your heating and cooling system super energy efficient. Here are some important facts to know:

The Department of Industry, Science, Energy, and Resources says that heat pumps can be three times better at using energy than regular electric heaters or air conditioners. This means you save a lot of energy!

The Australian Bureau of Statistics found that almost half (40%) of the energy we use at home is for heating and cooling. 

A study by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) discovered that switching from electric heating to a heat pump can cut down greenhouse gas emissions by a lot – up to 70%! This is good for the environment, making our future more green and sustainable.

Connect Your Heat Pump to Solar

Connecting a heat pump to a solar PV system has its perks. First, ARENA found that this combo utilizes 70% more solar energy, boosting the heat pump’s efficiency.

Moreover, as per the Clean Energy Council, pairing solar power with a heat pump can slash your energy costs by up to 90%. This translates to significantly reduced electricity bills.

Additionally, the University of Melbourne’s study reveals that combining heat pumps with solar power might cut your home pollution by a whopping 75%. This is a substantial contribution to the battle against climate change.

Take Care of Your Boiler

While taking care of your boiler, there are a few other things you can do to save energy in your home:

  • Only heat when it is needed: Don’t waste energy heating rooms you’re not using. Close doors to unused rooms and turn off the radiators in those rooms. 
  • Draught-proof your home: Draughts can let out heat and make your home feel colder. Draught-proof your windows and doors to keep the heat in.
  • Turn down the thermostat: Even lowering your thermostat by one degree can save you money on your household gas and electricity expenses.
  • Don’t cover radiators: Make sure your radiators are working properly. Bleed them regularly to get rid of any air bubbles. Don’t cover your radiators with furniture or curtains. This will block the heat and make your home less warm.

Replace Your Boiler

If your boiler is old and faulty, it may be worth considering replacing it. New boilers are more energy efficient and will save you energy and money.  

Keep the Heat In and the Cool Out

Heating and cooling systems, like air conditioning, keep your home at a comfortable temperature, usually between 18 to 22°C, no matter what the weather is outside. These systems add or remove heat to keep you cozy.

Before we start using heating or cooling, it’s important to stop the heat from escaping your home. Here’s how:

  • Build walls that don’t let heat easily pass through them.
  • Insulate the roof to keep heat from escaping through it.
  • Use doors and windows that have good insulation, like double glazing.
  • Fix cold bridges, which are places where heat easily escapes, like around doors and windows.
  • Install screens or shutters to cover windows and doors, reducing heat loss through openings.
  • Adjust blinds or awnings to block sunlight during hot days, reducing the need for cooling.

These steps are easier to do when building a new house, but it’s still possible to improve insulation and other things in an existing house.

Energy Savings When Building is Empty

The heating system keeps people comfy when they’re in a building, but it can also save energy when no one’s around. When people are inside, the heat should be nice and warm. However, when the building is empty, like at night or on weekends, the heat can be turned down a little bit. But it should never get too cold inside, because that could damage the building or the things inside it.

Maximizing Efficiency in Heating Circuits

In a big heating system that sends heat to many buildings using water or air, it’s important to save energy by keeping the heat from escaping through the pipes and tubes. We can do this by wrapping the pipes and tubes in special wrapping called insulation. This will keep the heat inside the pipes and tubes, so it doesn’t get lost and wasted. It’s especially important to put insulation around pipes and tubes in places that don’t have heat, like the boiler room or the attic.

Doing these 8 things can make your heating system use less energy and work better. These are simple steps, but have big improvements.

About the author

James Kennedy

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