Using your heating system efficiently

Storage heaters

Storage heaters contain bricks that heat up and store warmth using cheap, off peak electricity over night. This stored heat is then gradually released the following day.

Storage heaters work most efficiently when using them with an Economy 7 or Economy 10 meter because these meters provide cheaper electricity over night when your storage heaters use the most power to heat up the bricks inside them. It is therefore important to make sure your storage heaters are only storing heat during your Economy 7 night period. If you are unsure what times your Economy 7 rates are, call your energy supplier. Economy 7 times are usually 7 hours between 11pm and 8am, but will vary depending on your supplier, the time of year and where you live.

Storage heaters are controlled using an Input and an Output dial to adjust how much heat is stored overnight and released the next day. These dials are normally located on top of your heater.

Input Dial

This dial allows you to control how much heat is stored in your heater over night. In the winter months it is likely you will want to set this to maximum to store as much heat as possible for the next day. If you are likely to be out the next day or it is not that cold, consider turning this dial down to save money.

Output Dial

This dial allows you to control the rate at which the heat stored overnight is released. Set this dial as low as you are comfortable with overnight and the next morning to avoid using up the stored heat too quickly. The output dial can then be turned up later in the day when more heat is needed.

Immersion heaters

If you have storage heaters, it is likely you will also have an electric immersion heater to heat your hot water.

If you have Economy 7, consider timing your immersion heater to heat up during the night to maximise use of your cheaper electricity rates. This hot water can then be used the following day.

Ensure the thermostat on your immersion heater is set to 60 degrees to kill off any bacteria.


Most immersion heaters and some storage heaters will have an extra boost function. This is an extra heater for if you have run out of heat or hot water. This function should only be used however when needed because this uses electricity charged at your more expensive day rate.

Central heating

Most homes in the UK are heated by gas central heating and radiators. Below are some helpful tips on how to use your heating system efficiently to help you keep your energy bills down.


Programmers and timers can be used to tell your boiler when to turn on and off. On average, homes take around 30 minutes to heat up or cool down so consider this when deciding what times to set your programmers to.

Room Thermostat

Your room thermostat is often located in your hall and monitors the temperature of your home. Your room thermostat will turn the boiler on to heat your home until the temperature you have set on the thermostat is reached.

For most people, the ideal temperature for your home is between 18˚C and 21˚C. Any lower than this and you could be making your health, and the condition of your home worse.

Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs)

TRVs are small dials located at the side of some radiators that let you change the temperature of each radiator individually. This allows you to turn down the TRVs in rooms that you don’t use very often. Be careful not to let unused rooms stay cool for long periods of time as this can lead to damp and mould problems.