Tracking home heating costs between 2010 and 2023

Home heating costs are high in 2023. But has it always been this way? And what can you do to heat your home as efficiently as possible? We find out.

Girl home heating

A comfortable home should be warm and cosy, especially during the chilly winter months. But home heating costs have become more expensive in recent years.

In the UK, the cost of heating your home will change each year. And it's important to understand how these changes might affect you.

In this article, we'll take a look at some key factors that impact the amount of heating your home uses and how that could impact your heating costs.

How much heating does a home use?

A medium-sized home uses around 15kWh of energy per year, according to the energy regulator Ofgem.

Around 80% (12kWh) of that energy comes from gas, which is mostly used to heat a home. And the remainder comes from electricity, which is used to run appliances, lights and other items.

The amount of heating your home will use depends on several factors:

  • Energy efficiency and insulation: Insulation stops the heat inside your home from being lost through its walls, roof, windows and floor. The better the insulation, the less heat is lost, and the less energy is needed to maintain a comfortable temperature. You can find out how energy efficient your home is by looking at its Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating.
  • Lifestyle: The way you live affects how much heating you need. For example, if you prefer warmer temperatures or spend more time at home, you'll likely use more heating.
  • Energy generation: If your home has energy-efficient systems like solar panels or heat pumps, you’ll need less energy from the grid to heat your home.
  • Climate: Where you live plays a big role in home heating costs. In the UK, you’ll generally need more heating the further north and west you go. Changes in the weather will impact your heating bills too, with colder winters resulting in higher bills.

What impacts home heating costs?

While the amount you need to pay towards heating costs is influenced by how much energy you need, there are lots of things outside your control that have an impact too.

  • Wholesale energy costs: The cost of heating your home is directly linked to the wholesale price of energy, which is the price suppliers pay for gas and electricity. These costs go up and down due to factors like supply and demand, infrastructure and natural disasters.
  • Global markets: Energy prices are influenced by global markets, as they’re often traded on international exchanges. Factors like economic growth, currency exchange rates, and changes in regulations can all impact the cost of heating.
  • Geopolitical events: Major geopolitical events, such as conflicts and wars, can have a significant impact on heating costs. For example, Russia's invasion of Ukraine led to disruptions in gas supplies and increased prices on the global market. This, in turn, raised the cost of heating for many homes in the UK and elsewhere.
  • Government policies and taxes: Government policies, such as taxes and levies, can also affect heating costs. For example, carbon taxes and other environmental policies can increase the cost of fossil fuels, making it more expensive to heat your home with gas or oil.
  • Infrastructure and investment: The state of energy infrastructure can influence heating costs as well. For example, inadequate or outdated infrastructure can lead to higher costs due to inefficiencies and the need for investment.

How much does heating cost?

In 2023, the cost of heating a home has become a regular news item. People are more aware of a home’s energy efficiency when buying a new home. And the UK government has introduced new policies to keep the cost of energy from becoming unaffordable.

But heating a home wasn’t always one of the top items on people’s minds. The amount the average home spent on gas and electricity was relatively stable since the 1970s, varying between £797 and £1,519 over the decades.

In 2022, things changed. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine impacted global energy markets to such a degree, that the average household energy bill doubled.

We don’t yet know how the increase in energy prices affected people’s expenses as a percentage of their total outgoings. But we do have data from 2021 that shows the average home spent £23.20 on electricity, gas and other fuels per week. That’s 4.8% of their total weekly spending.

How can you reduce home heating costs?

You might not be able to control the cost of gas and electricity, but there’s plenty you could do to use that energy more efficiently when heating your home.

We recently published research that suggested residents in Bristol could save a total of £91 million per year while reducing the city's annual carbon emissions by 250,000 tonnes, by implementing various energy efficiency improvements.

Here are a few ways you could heat your home more efficiently:

  • Turn down the thermostat: Turning down the thermostat by just one degree could potentially save up to 10% on your heating bill. Aim for a comfortable temperature of around 18-21°C, and consider wearing warmer clothes indoors during colder months.
  • Use a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat allows you to set different temperatures for different times of the day, ensuring you only use the heating when necessary. You could also opt for a smart thermostat, which will learn your habits and adjust the heating schedule accordingly.
  • Adjust radiator valves: Use thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) to control the temperature in individual rooms, allowing you to heat only the rooms you're using.
  • Improve your home’s insulation: Properly insulating your home could significantly reduce heat loss and lower your heating bills. Consider adding insulation to your loft, walls and floors, as well as upgrading your windows to double or triple glazing.
  • Install the latest heating systems: Consider using energy-efficient heating systems such as heat pumps, solar panels or biomass boilers, which can help reduce both heating costs and carbon emissions. Our research shows that these installations can also add thousands to the value of your home.
  • Compare energy suppliers: Regularly review your energy tariffs and consider switching to a more cost-effective supplier if better deals are available.

If that sounds a little overwhelming, you can use Snugg to create a personalised energy efficiency plan. It’s free and takes just minutes to find out where you can make improvements to your home and reduce your home heating costs.

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