There are so many variables as regards your current personal situation when it comes to finding the cheapest way to heat a room.
I have therefore covered as many options as possible, in the hope that there’s more than a few ideas you can implement to help you on your way to getting your room feeling as warm as possible for the lowest possible cost.
First, let’s get straight to the point.
What’s the cheapest way to heat a room?
Using main gas to heat a specific radiator is going to be the cheapest way to heat a room. If you have a supply of electricity but no gas central heating, an oil-filled radiator is commonly the cheapest option to warm a room.
However, there are many variables and I’ve covered many ways to keep your room feeling as warm as possible.
Gas Central Heating
One of the cheapest ways to heat a room or even a whole house is using a gas mains boiler.
Gas is typically 3 to 4 times cheaper than electricity per.
Although there are a number of factors that can determine the efficiency of your boiler, it should still be a significant saving on using electric.
If you have gas central heating, the cheapest way to heat a specific room is to turn all other radiators off in the rest of the house.
The lower you set your thermostat via the boiler and radiator the lower you can expect your usage to be.
Although you have to bear in mind the location of the boiler thermostat because if that is in adifferent room to the one you want to be heated it will not feel the effects of the heater and therefore not know when to ease off.
Heating a Room with Electricity
If you have a supply of electric you have a wider range of choices to heat your room.
Cheapest Heaters to Run
Oil-filled radiators are cheap to run on a supply of electricity.
You can switch it off before you leave the room and it will still stay warm for quite some time. This is the sign of their advantage because they don’t, therefore, need to use as much energy to stay warm.
Oil Filled Radiators are an excellent source of uniformly heating a whole room.
The disadvantage of an oil filled heater is they do take a while to actually heat up, this is why combining it’s use with timer and perhaps setting it to go on 20-30 minutes before you use the room might be worth considering.
Oil heaters are considered reliable. You should be able to pick up a brand new one from around £40+ depending on the size you want and any particular features. They are pretty sturdy and it might be worth checking if you can get a cheaper second hand one first, via Facebook Market place or another local selling site.
Cost of Running
When it comes to choosing a heater, the KW is going to be the cost factor, the higher the KW the higher the cost to run?
Fan Heaters are for quick heat, but that disappears quickly once you turn them off. They are also rather loud.
You can use a site called Sust-It to compare the running costs of various heater types and models.
Here’s an example of annual running costs comparison for Oil Filled Heaters:
Don’t Overpay for your Gas and or Electric
Whatever form of energy you use to heat your room, if you are the bill payer and have any control at all over the energy provider always make sure you are using one of the lowest cost providers on the cheapest tariffs.
Whether you are on a standard meter or prepaid gas and electric is the same no matter who provides it, so why overpay if there are cheaper options available?
My current supplier is Octopus Energy, who aim to consistently offer low prices and excellent 7 days a week customer service.
Switching supplier is really quick and easy. You can even get started with a £50 cashback credit here.
I’m also signed up to the energy comparisons site, MSE’s Cheap Energy Club (review), which emails me an alert whenever I am overpaying for my energy bills. This is my cue to then go and check which companies are offering low prices and whether they are worth switching too.
A typical household might expect to save £300+ a year on their energy bills. Obviously, this will be a lot less if you are just focusing on heating a room.
Some of the best companies offer switching incentives and at higher cashback rates than you get from Cheap Energy Club switches. For example, Octopus Energy offers £50. Once signed up you could recommend a few friends and family.
If switching is too much hassle or you think you’ll often forget or keep putting it off, another solution is Look After My Bills which will switch for you when cheaper options they are partnered with become available.
Utilise Economy 7 (If you Have It)
Eco 7 – If you have Economy 7 energy, your energy rates will typically be lower between Midnight and 7 am, but double-check this with your provider.
You could utilise this timeframe to heat the room, perhaps even considering the use of a storage heater if you have one. Although they are generally not cheap to buy if you don’t currently have one available.
Heating a Room Without Electricity
Depending on your circumstances and the property you are living in you may not have a boiler or even access to electricity.
Other options for providing heat therefore would be:
LPG and Heating Oil
If you have no mains gas perhaps you have LPG or heating oil options. Both these options typically work out cheaper, around half the price of electricity.
Bottled Calor Gas
Again, its always worth price comparing suppliers for these types of fuel sources as I’ve heard some stories about people significantly overpaying for years and not even thinking to price check.
You may have thoughts on a portable gas fire that uses bottled Calor Gas, however, this works out as one of the most expensive options to heat a room.
You can find more info and a table of all heating cost options here.
Heat Yourself – Wear Warm Clothes
If you are looking to stay warm at the lowest cost possible, even with cheap heating, you’ll still save money by keeping yourself as warm as possible simply by wearing more clothing or covering yourself up.
Consider the following:
- Thermals underwear, socks, Pj’s
- Indoor hat
- Fingerless gloves
- Layers – wear some thermal Long Johns under your clothes
Clothing and blankets help to trap in the air around and close to your body which is then warmed by your body heat.
The warmer you are the less heating energy you will need and the lower your bills will be.
If you ever watch an old black-white movie set in the times before central heating was the norm, you’ll notice the layers of clothing people used to wear, vests, shirts, waistcoats, jacket, coat etc.
Electric Blankets and Throws
An electric blanket is a more obvious choice for a bedroom but could be used in other rooms too.
You could consider an electric fleece for any other room, as these will keep you nice a warm for a very low cost, much lower than any heater.
Plus a thow would provide good close heat right where you need it around your body.
Whatever form of heater you use to try to make use of timer so you are only heating the room when you need to.
Do you need to heat the room through the night? Many people sleep better in slightly cooler temperatures, obviously, it depends how cold it gets.
Most forms of heating units come with built timers.
For any of the of the electrical options which doesn’t have a built in thermostatic timer, you could consider purchasing a cheap a timer for the plug socket.
Reduce Heat Loss to the Max
Whichever form of heating you use, in order to keep costs down as much as possible one of the most important things you can do, is to reduce any heat loss as much as you possibly can.
There are some many ways heat can be lost from a room and it results in a total waste of money.
Draught Proof Windows
Depending on the time of year your window will be a factor. In warmer months a window that lets the sun in can be very warming.
A south-facing window is going to be the warmest direction from which to use the suns rays to warm that side of the house more than any other.
If you have any gaps or cracks letting heat out around the window you could use some Weather Proof foam tape to cover them to seal in your warm air and stop it escaping.
Let in Warming Sunlight
When the sun is shining let the sun rays into the room to warm air, walls and floors as much possible. This works all year round, even in winter to some degree.
To keep the warmth in your room and prevent heat loss via the window ideally use some thick-lined or even thermal curtains.
Black-backed curtains facing the sun will absorb more heat than other coloured curtains.
A carpet or covering the floor with rugs will be warmer than any cold hard surface floor and will hold some heat. The carpet will certainly be warmer on your feet than a cold floor.
If you have access to sunshine through the window, darker colours and longer thicker threaded carpets will hold more heat longer than lighter and thinner carpets.
Use draught excluders to stop any heat leaving the room.
If you still have any gaps, around the edges you could consider buying some Weathing Stripping foam tape to cover and block any gaps. This can also be used on windows too.
External Wall Radiator
If you are making use of an external wall radiator you are potentially losing heat through it. This is more so the case if the wall has no form of cavity wall insulation.
You can buy radiator reflectors fairly cheaply or alternatively try using some tin foil from the kitchen.
These reflector tips are specifically for an outside wall, which especially when its cold weather will be draining your heat to the outside.
On internal walls or perhaps a wall adjacent to another property the reflector is likely to have little if any effect.
Don’t Block and Waste Heat
If you are making use of a wall radiator via your heating don’t block it in with a sofa or bed.
Otherwise, your furniture will absorb the vast majority of the heat.
Pull large items away from the radiator if you can to allow the warm air to rise and circulate into your room.
This also goes for any other type of radiator heater you use, be wary of covering it with too many towels or clothes and blocking the heat in. Consider just hanging them up instead.
Cheap Ways to Heat a Bedroom?
Electric blankets are comparatively very cheap to warm compared to any heater so could perhaps be used a cheaper alternative to a heater.
You could consider using a hot water bottle to warm a bed up. Only heat the amount of water you need and no more to conserve energy depending on how you heat the water.
You also shouldn’t take the water to boiling point either, only heat to the required temperature and no more. Overtime actions like this will also save some extra money.
Do you have any loft insulation above the ceiling of the room you want to keep warm? If not it’s well worth considering as it will reduce heat loss as the heat rises.
If for any reason your room you are wanting to heat suffers from condensation, then a dehumidifier might be an option worth considering.
They act to reduce the water levels in the room and in doing so do emit some heat, albeit not much and it may vary depending on the model you have.
We personally use one upstairs at night, and when temperatures drop and the heating is off it is a heat you can notice, so its a possible option if condensation is also an issue.
Even if it’s something you could run at night to take the chill out the air.
Are You Entitled to Winter Fuel Payments?
Make sure you claim what you are owed.
If you were born before 5 October 1954 you may be entitled to Winter Fuel Payments
(link to https://www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment )
Frequently Asked Questions:
What’s the Cheapest Way to heat a Small Room?
Assuming you have no mains gas, but do have electricity, a small oil-filled 0.4KW heater will cost you around £16-£20 to purchase and would be expected to adequately heat up a room 4m2.
What’s the cheapest way to heat a large room?
Mains gas would be the cheapest way to heat a large room.
A 2KW oil filled heater would heat up a room size of 20m2 to 25m2 depending on the model. Once they reach the required temperature a built-in thermostat should turn them off.
The advantage of oil-filled heaters is that once warm they stay warm for longer than your typical oil-free heater, therefore keeping the room warm.
Cheapest Way to heat a room without electricity?
Mains gas is the first option to be used to heat a room if it has a radiator.
If there’s no central heating then it could be worth considering a portable gas heater using Calor.
The cheapest way to heat a room without central heating
If the room you want to heat doesn’t have central heating but does have a supply of electricity then an oil-filled heater is likely to be the most economical heating solution, both in terms of cost of the heater and cost of running.
If you have no mains gas but do have a supply of electricity and Economy 7 or 10 then a storage heater might be worth considering. Storage heaters allow you to use the cheaper rate of nighttime electricity to heat internal thermal bricks from which the heater can release the heat through the day. However, they can be quite costly to purchase so you would have to factor that in with the running costs.