You’ve been using your radiators all wrong – four common mistakes that could be driving up your bills

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HOUSEHOLDS should be aware of the four common radiator mistakes that could add adding hundreds to their energy bills.

Radiators are one of the most used items in our homes and with the chillier months kicking in, it’s important that households try to use them more efficiently.

Hanging your washing over your radiators could be wasting energy – and driving up your bills

But you might not know that common radiator mistakes can add hundreds to your energy bills.

Putting the heating on is one of the biggest drains on your energy bill anyway, but sometimes you’re inadvertently doing things that can increase your bills.

Avoiding these errors could put well-earned cash back in your pocket at a time when millions are struggling to get by as the cost of living soars.

The price of food, fuel and energy is rocketing after inflation hit 11.1 last month.

Energy costs will climb even further when the next price cap change is made, when bills will rise to a record-breaking £3,000 a year from April 2023.

To help you drive down costs, we’ve listed the easy-to-do mistakes that could send your energy use soaring.

Hanging up your clothes

You might be tempted to hang up your socks and pants over your radiator to get them to dry quicker.

But you could be at risk of paying more on your energy bills as a result.

This is because hanging clothes over your radiators stop them from working as efficiently – so you won’t feel the warmth hit as much.

That could mean you leave the heating on longer than you usually would, or you might be tempted to reach for the thermostat.

But this could stop you from making big savings on your bills – turning your thermostat down by just one degree could save you £55 a year.

British Gas engineer Joanna Flowers said: “Don’t dry clothes on your radiators as this will make your boiler work harder to heat the room.”

Households would be better off using a heated clothes airer and they only cost around 10p an hour to run.

We’ve also listed the eight best electric heated clothes airers for 2022.

Blocking them with furniture

If your furniture is blocking your radiators, it might be time to do a bit of feng shui.

This is because you’re blocking hot air circulating around the room.

Again, this could see you leave your heating on for longer or turn it up to compensate.

Anything that stops your heating system from running efficiently will only be costing you more in energy bills.

Uswitch energy expert Will Owen said: “It’s always advisable to keep your radiators as free from obstruction as possible. 

“Objects that are in the way can absorb some of the heat from your radiator, costing you more money – and one of the biggest culprits for this is the sofa.”

If you’ve rejigged your furniture and you’re still feeling chilly, reach for a jumper, hot water bottle and blanket.

For example, wearing layers could save you a whopping £400 a year.

Leaving them all on

As you turn the heating on, make sure all your radiators aren’t on in every single room.

To save money, only leave them running in the room you’re using – otherwise, it’s a waste of energy.

To do this, turn your thermostatic valve down on your radiator – but if you’re not sure how to do this, its based to look at your manual, and there’s plenty of YouTube tutorials on how to do it too.

HOAR spoke to a plumber who explained exactly how thermostatic radiator valves work and what the numbers on the knobs mean.

The average household can save up to £75 every year if they have thermostatic radiator valves fitted on all their radiators, according to British Gas.

Valves can be picked up for less than £4 and they’re easy to replace yourself if some of yours are not working.

Not bleeding them

If you feel cold spots on your radiator, then it might be time to give them a bleed.

If parts of your radiator are cool even when it is blasting out hot air, it could mean air is trapped inside your radiator.

Bleeding your radiator is a simple task – and could stop you from paying a lot more for your energy bills.

You need to turn your heating on to make sure that the system is working properly – make sure the radiators are fully heated before doing anything else.

Check whether there are parts of the radiator which have cool spots – particularly at the top, as this means that there could be air trapped inside.

Switch off your heating though – otherwise you might burn yourself or soak the floor.

You’ll need a radiator key – available at DIY shops – to attach onto the radiator valve, which is located at the top of the radiator.

Turn the key slowly anti-clockwise and if you hear a hissing sound, it means the trapped air is escaping.

Once this stops, close the valve, and this should mean your radiators will run more smoothly.

What energy bill help is available?

Millions on benefits and Universal Credit will receive an extra one-off £900.

Eight million households currently get cost-of-living payments worth up to £650.

In October, all households started to receive a £400 energy bill discount.

The payment is dished out by your energy supplier and is split across six discounts between October and March next year.

Households will receive a £66 energy bill discount in October and November and a discount worth £67 in December, January, February and March.

Pensioners have also started getting a £300 one-off payment.

The current pensioner cost of living payment is being handed out to millions on a low income.

You qualify under the current rules if you normally get the winter fuel payment, but this could change under the new rules.

Struggling families are eligible for the Warm House Discount to help them tackle the cost of living.

Households in England and Wales don’t need to apply to get the cash and they’ll automatically qualify if they are receiving certain benefits.

You can read more about who’s eligible here.

There are also plenty of energy grants and schemes open to help you out if you’re struggling.

British Gas has recently confirmed that it’ll pay its most vulnerable customers grants worth £750 to help with sky-high bills.

Ask your supplier what’s on offer and how to apply, or check here:

  • British Gas Energy Trust
  • Bulb energy fund
  • EDF’s energy customer support fund
  • E.on’s energy fund
  • Ovo’s debt and energy assistance
  • Scottish Power’s hardship fund

There’s also a one-off fuel voucher from your energy supplier if you’re on a prepayment metre.