Is it cheaper to leave the electric heating on all day or not?

On or off??

This is the question that is often the crux of some of the biggest arguments in households, do we leave the heating on all the time or not?

electric radiators

If you are in the “On” camp, you’ll firmly believe that if the heating is left on then the house doesn’t cool down too much, therefore doesn’t require heating as much.

If you’re in the “Off” camp, then your belief will be that you will save more money by leaving them off than you would lose if you left them on

But is there a right answer?

Well, unfortunately not a simple one! And rather than being an electric heating issue, it will often be answered by the quality of your insulation and, of course, the weather conditions outside.

There is an immediate knee jerk reaction of “my heating is costing me a lot to run”, but when your insulation is not up to scratch it ultimately means you may as well leave your windows open whilst heating your house! That is the importance of good insulation!

If you thought the world of electric radiators was a minefield then the world of insulation is a double whammy! But there are some simple, inexpensive tips you could aim to follow that will certainly help keep the heat in your house and ultimately the costs down, especially useful to know when developing your new home or revamping your current one!

  • draught-proofing, filling the edges of windows and doors is a good place to start and pretty low cost too and better still you should be able to do it yourself.
  • loft insulation.  Heat rises! Don’t let it escape through your roof! If you already have this then maybe it’s time for a check-up, the insulation on offer now is of a much higher quality – a simple refit could do the job!
  • wall insulation – whilst a much bigger job there are often grants and funding available, and it’s certainly worth a look, there are different types of wall insulation dependant on the age of the house, so always worth getting a professional to give it the once over.
  • windows, most are now double glazed which already helps with keeping the heat in but a neat trick is, where possible, put your radiator underneath, warm the colder air before it gets into the room!

A newly built home with hi-spec full insulation will use the electric radiators to replace the heat lost, and if there is minimal heat lost then the radiators will not need to do very much if left on all day, as less energy is used and lower energy bills can be expected.

This can, however, be said for a lesser insulated home.  So, a more efficient way to heat this type of home may be to programme your heating system so that it switches on only when required most.

The Energy-Related Products (ErP) Lot20 thermostat models will allow different temperatures to be set at different times, with additional alternate programming also available for weekends and each room can be set independently to each other, helping your electric heating reflect your lifestyle.

Why not run a little test in your own home to see where you sit – made even easier with the energy monitors on most electric heating systems and the smart meters the electric companies are installing.

Try a week each of the timed methods and then the “always-on” method. You can then see whether it is cheaper to leave the heating on constantly, or whether you’ll be able to reduce costs by programming the heating to specific intervals whilst still staying warm.

The best results will come from doing this when the outdoor weather conditions are similar throughout the trial period.

So, in answer to the “big” question, there isn’t an exact answer, it’s all dependant on the home you’re in and how well insulated it is.  But no matter which camp you’ve been in up until now, following a couple of these pointers will help you to understand your energy usage a bit more, and ultimately have the ability to control it better too, that’s got to be a win-win!