Cost-Effective Heating Solutions For Your Home

While home heating is getting more expensive, many want to cut down on their heating bills. With a myriad of options available, homeowners are looking for boilers, heat pumps, electric alternatives, and everything in between.

Getting a more efficient boiler may not be on the table for many considering the cost. So, how much does a new boiler cost? Depending on your home size this can be between €2,000 to €3,000, with installation factored in. Heat pumps, while great at lowering operating costs for many homes, can also be exorbitant in terms of installation costs and may not be right for your home due to multiple reasons like poor insulation or geographic location.

That’s why we’re detailing some more affordable energy-saving measures. While many of these are short-term fixes, and we recommend springing for more permanent solutions, we also recognise this isn’t always possible for the average home. Other suggestions might only apply to certain homes but could be a fruitful endeavour.

Insulation Fixes

Quite a few low-cost schemes can help the average consumer optimise their heating. Controlling heat escape zones can be cost-effective and worthwhile if such issues are holding back your home.

One way to do this is to use foam insulation to cover up the gaps in your floorboards. These could be causing a significant amount of heat to leak from your floors but patching them up can be relatively cheap, with each spray being cheap to buy on your own. If you hire an expert you’ll pay €20 to €35 per square metre. While it’s true that proper insulation is a far more permanent solution, this is a good alternative.

Another heat escape zone worth noting is your radiator. You can definitely get better results from it at a lower temperature setting by covering the heating side in foil. With older radiators, their insulation can wear out so it's always good to reinforce it when necessary.

Common culprits include areas Where pipework leads outside, gaps around electrical fittings, a loft hatch, ceiling and wall joints, spaces between the floor and a door, and cracks around window ledges. These could provide areas where you can add little insulation materials or close up gaps with filling.

Roof and attic spaces can often let in the cold. Covering these up with reflective foil can be a good option that does wonders. Similarly, you could cover your chimney when it’s not in use if you have one. A laminate or chimney balloon can cost about €30 to €50 and help prevent unnecessary heat loss.

Invest in Windows & Glazing

While it’s not the cheapest option, glazing is far more cost-effective than installing new heating systems. It’s also often overlooked as a source of heating inefficiency.

When it comes to heating insulation, aluminium (with a thermal break) and wooden doors are better at retaining heat. These are also long-lasting since good aluminium can last 25 years and wooden windows can last a lifetime if maintained properly. With an investment of between €300 to €1,500 depending on the material and size of the window. Hardwoods, in particular, are great for insulation and longevity.

Another solution is to upgrade your glazing. Installing double glazing can keep your home warm and allow for better noise reduction as well. However, if double or triple glazing is still too expensive for you, you can opt for the cheaper but still effective secondary glazing. Secondary glazing just adds another layer to your windows so that they can keep in the heat.

Effective Decorating & Furniture Placement

There’s a chance your choice of furniture placement might be blocking your radiators or heating system. Try to give your heating systems some breathing space and see if it helps the circulation of air in your home. While this is a small change, it could be effective for smaller homes. Similarly, choosing thicker curtains can help mitigate the effects of cold air from entering your home.

Fitting carpets with an underlay or putting “door snakes” underneath your doors can be other small but effective temperature control measures. Placing mats and floor decoration in the proper areas could also provide better insulation.

Check Grants & Schemes in Your Area

Multiple schemes might apply to your home that could help pay for heating, insulation, draught-proofing, and window glazing. There are numerous grants for heat pumps, biomass boilers, high-efficiency boilers, and windows or insulation.

The ECO4 and Home Upgrade Grant are among the most popular policies for windows and heating. They are means-tested to help out the homes that would benefit from them the most, so it's necessary to keep some proof of low income or benefits on hand to apply.

These can be handy for getting new windows but some grants will only apply to upgrading from single to double glazing, i.e. they will not replace already double-glazed windows. For example, Home Energy Scotland Grant & Loan (if you live in Scotland obviously) has this stipulation.

It’s best to check with your local installers and authorities to see if you can qualify for any grants. It’s also important to remember that with some policies like the ECO4, even if you don’t match the exact criteria, you can apply for ECO Flex. The criteria are loosened on this parallel policy.

There are many ways to cut down on heating costs if you’re on a budget. Hopefully, some of these ideas can keep you warm while also keeping the costs of heating down.