Revealed: The costly heating mistake you could be making without realising it

Have you been unintentionally using more energy and spending more money than you need to?

Mother holding daughter in the kitchen while also looking at her phone
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While there are a few cheap heating myths (opens in new tab) that will actually end up costing you money rather than saving it, there's one in particular that many of us will end up falling for - mainly because it sounds like a logical way to save money. And at a time when more and more families are worried about how much their energy bills will cost (opens in new tab), it's never been more important to make sure we're not spending money unnecessarily.

Many people think that they can save money on their energy bills (opens in new tab) by leaving their central heating on low all day, instead of only using it at specific times of the day. And while you can save money by turning your thermostat down (turning it down by a single degree can save around £145 per year according to the Energy Saving Trust), having your heating on constantly in the winter months, in most cases, will cost you more than you could save.

Group head of energy at Energy Saving Trust, Laura McGadie (opens in new tab) said: “The cost of energy remains very high and it’s vital that people are supported to keep their bills low, while remaining warm. That’s why we’re providing tips and advice to help people manage their heating systems as effectively as possible and reduce the risk of paying for wasted energy."

Is it a good idea to leave your heating on low all day?

Unless you have a really efficient home that doesn't let much heat escape, it's not a good idea to leave your heating on low all day during the winter. Even though lowering your thermostat will help to save money, if your heating is on all day, you will be losing heat all day through your roofs, walls, floors and windows. This can be more likely in older houses that aren't as airtight as new ones. 

Martyn Bridges (opens in new tab), Director of Technical Services at boiler manufacturer Worcester Bosch, says: “Leaving your heating on low all day is dependent on how efficient your house is. If you have an EPC rating of A or B then you won’t lose much heat and it is worth considering leaving your heating on low all day. If you have an older property in bands D and below then no, it’s more efficient to operate your boiler intermittently to avoid wasting energy.”

Instead, it's helpful to know how many hours a day your heating should be on (opens in new tab) and what the ideal room temperature is to make sure you are using your heating system as efficiently as possible. You can save even more by only heating the rooms you are using to avoid heating spaces you don't need to. Our guide to the cheapest way to heat a room (opens in new tab) explains all you need to know. 

Efficient ways to keep your home warm

The Energy Saving Trust's Laura McGadie, said: “Improving home energy efficiency is the fastest way to permanently reduce energy demand and cut costs and carbon emissions while keeping people warm and comfortable."

While draughtproofing your home is a good idea to help keep the heat you generate in, it can feel like a big task. There are other easy ways you can keep your home warm (opens in new tab), including:

  • Swapping to thermal blinds or curtains
  • Only heating the rooms you need to heat
  • Keeping doors and windows closed
  • Bleeding your radiators
  • Moving furniture away from radiators (and removing radiator covers) to help heat circulate more easily.
  • Leaving the oven door open after cooking to use the residual heat to warm the air in your kitchen.

You could also try this radiator hack (opens in new tab) to help keep your home warmer for longer.

Sarah is Goodto.com's Money Editor. Sarah is an experienced journalist and editor with more than 10 years of experience in the Homes industry, working across brands such as Homebuilding & Renovating, Period Living and Real Homes. After segueing into the world of personal finance, acting as launch editor of GoodtoKnow's sister brand TheMoneyEdit.com, Sarah became Editor in Future’s Wealth division with a focus on property-related finance and household bills, working across brands including GoodtoKnow and Ideal Home. She is passionate about helping people cut through confusing jargon to make the right financial decisions when getting on the property ladder and turning a house into a home.