A NATIONAL campaign to help people cut their fuel bills and get the best deals from their energy suppliers – Big Energy Saving Week – has been running in the past week.

And to coincide with the initiative, city-based leading central heating boiler manufacturer Worcester Bosch is offering top tips on how to heat homes as efficiently as possible.

Director of marketing and technical support at Worcester Bosch Martyn Bridges says: “As home heating and hot water makes up a huge 75 per cent of our energy bills, it pays to make sure we are as being as effective as possible.

“The changes don’t have to be big. As well as saving on your annual heating bills, simple adaptations to your home or habits can help you make the most of your heating.

“Furniture in front of radiators, reaching for the thermostat rather than a jumper or leaving a dripping hot tap unrepaired can all be culprits of higher bills.”

Here are Martyn’s top tips for heating your home in the most effective and efficient way:

Set the right temperature: The optimum temperature to keep a home warm is between 18°C and 21°C. Simply by turning the thermostat down even 1°C you could actually reduce your heating bill by around 10 per cent.

If your home is well insulated it would be worth considering setting your thermostat to around 17°C so that when you return home your system won’t have to work too hard to reach your desired comfortable temperature. Alternatively, a programmable room thermostat will do the job for you.

Get in control: Ensure that you are using fuel efficiently by installing and using the correct controls for your heating system. This could increase the efficiency of a condensing boiler by up to 13 per cent as it doesn’t have to do any more work than it needs to.

Unfortunately, many homes in the UK have no or inadequate controls for their heating system. Recent research from Salford University has identified that savings of up to 40 per cent are possible with a well-controlled system over an uncontrolled one, so it is worth considering an upgrade.

Get reflecting: A simple yet effective way to reduce heat loss is to place reflective foil behind the radiator. The foil will reflect heat back into the room and increase the efficiency of the radiator. This is particularly effective for radiators fitted to outside walls as it helps to keep the heat inside.

Keep the flow clear: It may sound obvious but don’t cover radiators with curtains or furniture, as you will block the heat and stop it circulating around the room.

Similarly, drying clothes on the radiator will make your boiler work harder and make the air more humid and feel colder.

Deal with the drafts: Investing in thick, full length curtains is the ultimate solution for blocking out drafts from windows but adding a simple lining to thin curtains can update them quickly and cheaply, making them more effective for blocking out a cold window without the expense of buying new.

Letter boxes and key holes can also let cold air in, which can be stopped by quick additions such as a keyhole cover or a letterbox brush.

Nip that drip: A leaking hot tap can also add to your heating costs. When looking to save money and energy, get them repaired before it all adds up.

If you’ve run a bath, don’t let the hot water out as soon as you get out – the heat from the water can also help keep the room that bit warmer. You can also decrease the rate that heat escapes the bath by adding insulation underneath it, this is particularly effective for cast iron or pressed steal baths which have a cold surface.

Lagging behind: Wherever you can you should always insulate any central heating and hot water pipework that gives off heat. Effective insulation can be an efficient way to reduce the amount of heat that escapes, meaning you spend less money heating water up and your hot water will stay hotter for longer.

It is also important to make sure that your roof is insulated properly as up to 30 per cent of heat can be lost through the roof.

Old isn’t always wise: Whether we like it or not, upgrading an ageing boiler is one of the most efficient things we can do in the home to save on our bills. Even if not broken, an old, inefficient boiler of 15 years or more is likely to be around 70 per cent efficient, meaning that for every pound spent on fuel, 30p is wasted. In fact, older boilers are also likely to have a standing pilot light which could cost in the region of £50-60 per year just to keep it going.

Updating your heating system to an ‘A’ rated condensing boiler could make your system over 90 per cent efficient. Adding a weather and load compensating control can add a further 4 per cent to your energy savings.

In money saving terms, upgrading to a high-efficiency condensing boiler along with appropriate controls, could see you cutting energy bills by around £235* (source Energy Saving Trust) and saving over a tonne of CO2 each year, Martyn says.

• Big Energy Saving Week; a national campaign to help people cut their fuel bills and get all the financial support they are entitled to, started on Monday October 26.

• The week focuses on raising public awareness of the switching energy supplier/tariff to get the best deal and efficiency issues. This is the fifth Big Energy Saving Week and is a partnership between Citizens Advice, the Energy Saving Trust and the Department of Energy and Climate Change with the support of numerous organisations, charities and companies.