Updated: Sep 26, 2023
September is finally here and it brings with it the cooler weather (not that we got to enjoy much of the summer sun this year!), which means you’ll be starting to fire up the old boiler again soon and cranking up the heating as the evenings get chillier.
You may think we’re getting a bit ahead of ourselves here, afterall you’ll likely not be switching your heating on for another good few weeks yet – especially with how steep energy prices are nowadays. But, after a solid few months of hibernation, it can be daunting to suddenly kick start everything again. That’s why now is the perfect time to prepare for the heating to come back on.
Rather than facing issues that need to be fixed when you’ll be reliant on your heating, getting ahead of the game and checking that everything is in working order now ensures any stress is handled sooner rather than later, so you can enjoy a cosy, toasty entrance into the colder months.
Read on below as we list our tips for preparing to turn your heating back on.
It’s advised to bleed your radiators at least once a year, even if you haven’t noticed any cold spots or loud noises coming from them (often tell-tale signs that they need to be bled). It’s best to do this well in advance of the winter months to ensure that your radiators are working as they should be ready for when you actually need them – no one wants to go without heating in the middle of winter due to repairs needing to take place!
That’s why now is the best time to bleed them, but what does that entail? Bleeding your radiators simply means to release any trapped or excess air that could be in the system, which would cause them to work less efficiently – subsequently increasing your energy bills. This is because any trapped air will rise to the top of your radiators and leave them cold, as the hot water inside won’t be able to circulate as efficiently as it should be.
It may sound confusing to have to do, but the process is actually quite simple and quick. We’ve listed what to do in a simple step by step guide for you below.
- Make sure your heating is turned off and your radiators are cold.
- Place an old towel down on the floor and hold a cloth or jug underneath the bleed valve (this is typically located at one of the top ends of your radiator).
- Insert the bleed key (these are easily available at your local tool or hardware store) and turn anti-clockwise until air starts escaping – you will know when this is when you hear a hissing sound.
- When water starts to escape from the radiator, re-tighten the bleed valve.
- Once you’ve done this with all radiators, turn your heating back on and check that your radiators are heating up evenly and efficiently.
Gradually Switch on Boiler
You likely won’t need to be heating your home for another month at least, but now is a good time to start periodically switching it on and gradually increase the temperature so that it’s ready to work hard when the outside temperatures do start to drop significantly.
It’s a good idea to fire your boiler up once or twice a month for an hour or so with the thermostat set to low, since this will help detect any potential problems with your heating system before you start using it more regularly, as well as help prevent the build-up of any dust or grime and prevent corrosion in the pipework – all of which can cause a boiler breakdown.
Assuming that you face no issues, then you can gradually start increasing the temperature and time that you leave your heating on, allowing for an easier transition into the colder months without putting excessive stress on your boiler. This will also save you money, since you can test what temperature feels most comfortable for you, rather than wasting energy and money by having it set higher than you may need too soon.
Schedule a Service
Just as you should bleed your radiators annually, you should also book your boiler in for an annual service. A boiler service allows a professional gas engineer to check for any potential problems with your boiler as a result of being turned off over the summer and determine whether it is working as safely and efficiently as it should be. It’s also worth noting that many manufacturers will withdraw your boiler’s warranty if you don’t get it serviced annually – so it’s definitely worth booking in!
Rather than waiting for the weather to get colder before booking your boiler service, it’s better to book it in now before you’re more reliant on your heating. This means that should any issues be identified that need to be fixed, then repairs can take place sooner rather than later and allow you to be prepared for the winter with peace of mind that you’re less likely to face any problems.
Most boilers will last on average anywhere between 10-15 years, so if your boiler is reaching the end of its lifespan, then professionals may recommend you get a boiler replacement. In which case, having one installed before winter is perfect timing.
All modern boilers in the UK are A-rated in terms of efficiency, so a new boiler not only will keep you warm but has the potential to save on your energy bills compared to your current boiler if this is an older model – we’re sure you can agree that this is certainly favourable, especially considering that winter tends to be the most expensive season!
Check Your Home’s Energy Efficiency
If your home has poor energy efficiency, then you could be spending excessive amounts on energy bills in order to heat your home. All homes are given an energy performance certificate – more commonly known as an EPC, which gives your home an energy efficiency rating measured on a scale of A (most efficient) to G (least efficient).
If your home has a low EPC rating, then this means that your property won’t only have a larger negative impact on the environment, but it will also cost you more to run. There are various factors that could be contributing to the low efficiency of your home, such as lacking or poor insulation, or an energy-intensive heating system.
You can check the EPC rating of your home here.
If your home does have a low rating, then you may qualify for free support. Courtesy of the government backed ECO4 scheme, if you live in a property with an EPC rating of E, F or G and claim any of the qualifying benefits, then you could be eligible for free heating upgrades to improve the energy efficiency of your home. Not only would this save you money on your monthly utility bills, but it would ensure that you stay sufficiently warm in the winter months!
Get in Touch with UK Energy Management
So, are you ready for the impending cold season? By following our guide, you’re sure to be sufficiently prepared for whatever weather is blown our way over the next few months, so you can wrap up under a blanket with your hot drink (or tipple) of choice and bask in the warmth of problem-free, efficient central heating.
If the ECO4 scheme sounds like something you could be eligible for and would benefit from as part of your preparation for the colder weather, then we can help here at UK Energy Management. You can check whether you qualify for support by simply filling out our quick and easy form.
Are you intrigued but feeling a little unsure about the ECO4 scheme? Check out our blog on ECO4 funding where we explain in more detail what it is and how it works!
In the meantime, if there’s anything else we can assist you with or you would like to learn more about what we do, then don’t hesitate to contact us today and a member of our friendly team will be in touch.