Jason Andrews, of J & S Plumbing and Heating writes his first column for The Lincolnite with tips and tricks for saving money on your energy bills this winter.

Often, we expect to reduce comfort levels when we reduce costs but there are a lot of ways to reduce costs without reducing comfort levels within your home. We are entering scary times with energy prices expected to shoot up and the cost of living being more than most people can afford. But did you know your existing system could save money without the need to reduce your usage or your habits?

If you have a combi boiler then think about how often do you run a bath or a sink of water to then add cold water in, so you can put your hands in safely? We fill the sink with 65 degrees water and then add cold water to bring it to a level where we can put our hands in. Turn your combi boiler hot water down to 43 degrees to prevent waste.

If you have a hot water cylinder, then this is harder as you need the heat to prevent bacteria so check it is set for only when you need it and set to 60 degrees to reduce waste

Range rating is where you can turn down the boiler to use less gas than the standard as set out of the box. Your heating is where you use most of your gas and with some combi boilers you can range rate the heating to reduce your heat output to suit your home requirements.

The key to range rating is getting a heat loss calculation for your home and then finding out if your boiler can be range rated. If so, then ask your boiler engineer to range rate it during your annual boiler service. It takes less then 5 minutes but could save you 50% on your gas bills. Furthermore, turning down your heating to 54 degrees, helps increase condensing mode which can also save you money.

Old inefficient radiators are approximately 2/3 as effective as newer ones due to the convectors on the new radiators holding the heat for longer. Look at your radiators and if they don’t have convection fins then consider upgrading them to reduce the amount of time your boiler is firing up.

Smart meters are a great way to track your energy usage so you can see exactly how much you use each day. It also tells you if you have a faulty meter or appliances. What ever meter you choose, make sure you understand exactly what you use and where that is going.

Balancing heating systems is one of the most important things to do to keep the heat inside radiators and increase efficiency in boilers. Learning how to balance is something that most homeowners could do themselves with a thermometer and spending a couple of hours getting to know their heating and hot water system. This will increase radiator output and reduce boiler firing times.

I have implemented these changes in my own home to help reduce my gas bill. I am aiming for £80 per month on gas bills even with the price increases. My goal is to increase my comfort levels while keeping bills low. Reducing my hot water temperature produces less steam in the bathroom which prevents mould in the bathroom. Now when I run a bath, I can just get straight into the bath without worrying about the temperature. The future of heating and hot water is exciting but will no longer be “fit and forget” and getting to know your heating system will become a normal part of everyday life and will also help reduce costs and increase comfort levels.