You know when the tubs of chocolates appear in the supermarket aisles that Christmas is on its way. The clocks are still clinging on to British Summer Time, but the TV schedule tells you that the nights will be drawing in.

The annual ritual of “discussing” when to turn the heating system back on will soon be in full swing. All over the land, those who feel the cold will be turning up thermostats and then wondering why the place is too hot a couple of hours later. The role of the thermostat is to control time and temperature – yet we still turn it to maximum hoping that the room will warm up faster.

The right heating controls will enable you to keep your home at a comfortable temperature without wasting fuel. Here are some helpful suggestions, as the smart meter prepares to turn a bit quicker…

  1. Check the thermostat and timers are set for when you need heat. Do you need it on when nobody is in the house?
  2. Turning your thermostat down by 1°C can save up to £85 per year according to the Energy Saving Trust.
  3. Consider changing your controls. Thermostats are much more accurate than they used to be; and to replace a dial thermostat with a programmable one will generally mean that you can run the system for less time for the same comfort level.
  4. Consider smart controls such as the therM range, which can be retro fitted to a standard back box with conventional wiring. You can then control the heating from your smart phone with intelligent learning and geo-location features.

Of course, it is not only the thermostats that can lead to cheaper bills and a hassle-free winter of heating…

  1. If you have an oil fired system, have you checked the fuel level? Supply and demand dictates that the price of fuel will increase the colder it gets (and it’s the same for solid fuels or a pellet boiler).
  2. Have you changed your energy supplier recently? If you’ve been using the same supplier for over 12 months you could save up to £679 by switching to a new supplier.
  3. Bleed the radiators. This is easy to do, but as it has probably been 12 months since you last did it, remember a cloth to prevent dirty water spills. If you are fortunate enough to have underfloor heating, you need to bleed only from a single point at the manifold.
  4. Turn the system on and carry out a trial run before the weather turns cold. This will prevent possible expensive emergency call-out fees, as you will still have time to book a routine service call.