Make one simple change to lower your energy bills
By: Shell Energy
23 Feb 2023
With the cost of energy at the forefront of everyone’s minds, we’re all looking for new ways to save money in the home.
Thankfully, there’s a simple and easy way more than 10 million homes could save money on their heating bills.
For those who have a combi boiler, this is a feature many might not have spotted on our boilers before. But making a slight adjustment to it could save you a considerable amount.
The setting for boiler flow temperature - or flow temperature - on a combi boiler regulates how hot the water is heated in radiators. Don't confuse it with your thermostat, if you have one linked to your boiler; this turns the heating on and off to maintain your desired room temperature. You can find the flow temperature dial on the body of the boiler itself.
A small change to this setting won’t affect the room temperature, but research suggests you could save you up to £112 per year. The radiators will still heat the room to the desired temperature set on your thermostat, it just may take a little longer to do so.
To help spread the word, we’re supporting the Money Saving Boiler Challenge, launched by Nesta, which they hope will help one million households in the UK lower their energy bills.
What is the Money Saving Boiler Challenge?
The Money Saving Boiler Challenge campaign is the brainchild of Nesta, an organisation that’s committed to creating a brighter future by promoting energy conservation. It discovered a way to help millions of households reduce their energy use, and save money while doing so.
After carrying out extensive research, Nesta found that most combi boilers in the UK are using more energy than is necessary.
The campaign helps show people how to make the change to their boiler and begin saving money. There’s no need to sign up, and it could take less than 30 seconds to adjust the flow temperature setting.
Who can take part?
If you have a combi boiler, you can take part in the Money Saving Boiler Challenge.
In the UK, it’s estimated that 57% of homes are fitted with a gas combi boiler. And although some may already have their boilers working on lower flow temperatures, Nesta believes more than 10 million homes could save money by making the switch. This would save a massive 1.7 million tonnes of carbon emissions.
How you could save money on your heating bill
To be able to change the flow temperature, you must have a combi boiler.
For those who have a modulating boiler, there are technologies available that’ll automatically adjust the flow temperature for you. Otherwise, it’s just a quick turn of a dial to make the change.
If you’re unsure what sort of boiler you have, or how to change the flow temperature, Nesta has created a simple step-by-step guide.
Although Nesta recommend lowering the flow temperature to 60°C, many homes can be heated at flow temperatures of 55°C or below.
Lowering the flow temperature slightly shouldn’t change the room temperature, but it might take a little longer for the room to heat up. Try reducing the temperature further in five-degree increments and see what works best for your home.
Can I save money without a combi boiler?
If you don’t have a combi boiler, you can still save money. System, or heat-only boilers - also known as conventional or regular boilers - don’t allow you to change the flow temperature to the radiator without affecting the hot water temperature.
You can still save money by turning this temperature down slightly if it’s already set high, but it mustn’t be set below 65°C. Legionella bacteria can form in standing water, such as in a boiler, but higher temperatures kill this bacteria.
Why should you take part in the Money Saving Boiler Challenge?
Put simply, it could save you money.
Most combi boilers are set between 70°C and 80°C when they’re first installed. But they actually work best when heating radiators to 60°C or below. A slight change like this to the flow temperature won’t affect the room temperature either. So you can still heat your home and use less energy.
Lowering the flow temperature from 80°C to 60°C uses around nine per cent less energy, which means a saving of up to £112 per year on your heating bill. Only one in ten households reported changing the boiler flow temperature in the past year. So it’s definitely worth checking if you can make the change.
More energy-saving tips for the home
If your flow temperature setting is already set to 60 degrees and the room doesn’t feel as warm as it should, this could indicate a wider problem.
To be sure your radiators are working correctly, we recommend bleeding them twice a year. Depending on the radiator, this can be done in fewer than 30 seconds for each radiator. Read our guide on how to bleed your radiators if you’re unsure.
If you’d like to take even greater control over your energy bills, installing a smart meter for the home will help you see exactly how much you’re spending. This can help with budgeting as well as giving accurate meter readings to your supplier.