HOUSEHOLDS may not be aware that a common radiator mistake could end up costing them a small fortune.
Radiators need to be bled when they have air trapped inside them.
Daniel Khanlarpour of Gas Guru, and a member of Checkatrade
This is because the air stops warm water from circulating around your radiator.
It’s recommended that you bleed your radiators once a year – even if they are working properly.
But one gas engineer has revealed that there’s a crucial step you have to take before you do this.
Daniel Khanlarpour of Gas Guru, and a member of Checkatrade, said you should always check your boiler pressure first.
This is because, if you try and bleed a radiator that doesn’t have any trapped air to release, water will spill from it quickly.
This could lower your boiler’s water pressure and upset the whole system, bringing more costs with it.
The average cost of repairing a boiler £300 on average, with parts included, according to Checkatrade.
If you’re already experiencing low pressure, bleeding your radiators could create a bigger problem.
Daniel said: “Bleeding radiators won’t help the situation if you’re losing pressure, in fact it will make things worse as you’re removing air or water from the system, which will reduce the pressure further.
“Boiler pressure should be checked and corrected after radiators are bled or and water is drained from the system.”
Experts typically say the pressure should be between one and two on the gauge.
Any lower and it might mean the boiler can’t fire up properly, which means it’s working harder and less efficiently.
What else to check on your boiler
Combi-boiler vs heat-only
Combi-boilers are considered to be more efficient than a heat-only boiler.
Heat-only boilers are usually found in larger properties, drawing water from a cylinder rather than from the main.
This could mean you will run out of water more frequently.
Old boilers might only reach 60% efficiency, which effectively means that 40% of the money you spend heating your home is unnecessary.
That compares with a modern combi boiler, which will typically be 90% efficient or more.
Make sure you seek advice from an expert, and a take a look at your budget, before you decide to make the switch.
You can also check to see if you could be entitled to a grant to replace your old boiler.
Check if your boiler is on eco-mode
If you have a combi boiler with an eco mode, make sure it’s set to this as this will stop your water overheating.
If it doesn’t have an eco mode, you will need to check the two dials on the boiler.
One controls your central heating, which you can leave, and the other sets your hot water tap temperature.
Turn the second dial down to 50C.
Households with system or regular boilers can still turn down the temperature, but every control panel will vary.
You’ll have to check your operators manual for more information.
Both of these systems include a water tank, so you’ll also need to check the minimum heat requirements on the Health and Safety Executive website.
Lowering the eco-mode to about 55 to 60C on your condensing boiler will turn down the radiator flow temperature, which dictates the temperature of the water that travels through your radiators.
Switch to a system boiler
Larger households that have more than one full bathroom could consider switching to a system boiler.
This is a middle ground between a combi and a heat-only.
A system boiler uses a cylinder that is large enough to store plenty of hot water that can then be supplied to multiple rooms and utilities at once.
A system boiler stores the hot water in a cylinder and they can determine exactly the output of water they need based on demand and the size of the property.
Experts say they extract over 90 percent of the heat from the fuel that they burn to heat water and are therefore highly cost-effective,
Turn off the boiler’s pre-heat settings
Switching off the boiler’s pre-heat setting and turning down the temperature can help you to lower your energy costs.
The pre-heat setting involves the boiler retaining some hot water for whenever someone needs to run a shower, or run a tap.
Simply switching off the pre-heat option on your boiler will mean it no longer stores hot water that is not being used.
While this means you will have to wait a short while for the water to heat up, you will be able to save between five to 10 percent on your heating bill, Rebecca said.
One savvy saver told HOAR how he slashed his energy bill by £100 a year with this trick.
Can I get help with a new boiler?
Buying a new boiler might be the best solution in some circumstances, but it’s not cheap.
The Energy Saving Trust estimates that families in a detached house can save up to £315 a year by upgrading from a G-rated boiler to a new A-rated condensing boiler.
There is some help available though, which can help bring down the cost.
The Energy Company Obligation is a government scheme to help hard-up households make their home more energy efficient.
You can get grants for insulation, and also new boilers, which can help drive down your energy bills.
The help could be a lifeline for households struggling to pay for soaring costs this winter as the weather gets colder.
The sun has put together a handy guide to everything you need to know about this scheme.
You could also get help through your council’s Household Support Fund.
You can find your local authority using the government checker and find out what assistance is available in your area.