What's the most efficient way to heat one room?

If you are using just one room in your house for long periods of time, perhaps because you work from home, then what’s the most energy-efficient way to keep yourself warm?

Central heating is most efficient

Central heating, provided by a modern, energy-efficient boiler is generally the best way to keep your home warm and keep your bills down.

You can combine an efficient central heating system with heating controls. So, if you don't need to keep every room at the same temperature, you can use individual room thermostats or radiator valves to target the heat towards rooms you use the most.

Better still are smart controls, some of which enable you to more accurately - and more conveniently - customise the temperature in each room of your house.

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Room heaters are pricey

An alternative to firing up the boiler is to use portable electric heaters to warm individual rooms. These are often quite convenient, as they can be moved from place to place, but are generally a less energy-efficient option, as they don’t create any residual heat, meaning that when they’re turned off, the heat disappears. 

It has been estimated that even the most efficient electric heaters could use up to four times more energy than a gas central heating system to get a room to the same temperature.

For this reason, the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) says that ideally, electric room heaters should only be used when necessary.

Another alternative is an oil-filled conventional heater. These are much more energy efficient than electric fan heaters and wire-element heaters, but they take a bone-numbingly long time to heat up.

Also, if you use an oil-filled heater – or any other type of room heater – then bear in mind that unless you have a thermostat in every room, you’ll have to adjust the main thermostat to ensure your central heating isn’t running in the background anyway.

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Keep it low

The modern boiler is the most efficient way of heating the home and if you are at home all day, then this is probably your best option to stay warm. But keep it low, with radiators turned right down; aim for between 18 and 21 degrees.

If you need just a short blast of heat in one room, electric heaters - though less efficient overall - may be your best bet. 

Just don’t forget the basics, like keeping doors closed to keep the warmth in.

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