Should the Heater Be Left on All the Time or Turned Off?

The debate of whether to leave the heating on all day or not has been discussed for years. Some professionals say it is okay to keep it on, while websites like Money Saving Expert and Energy Saving Trust strongly advise against it. However, they do not provide much evidence or reasoning to support their view.

So, what’s the actual truth? Should you leave your heating on all the time, or should you only turn it on if you need it? Let’s find out together!

What Does It Mean to “Leave the Heating on All the Time?”

Before we delve into answering this question, do you actually know what we mean when we say, “leave the heating on all the time?” We don’t mean that you’ve set the thermostat to a certain temperature forever. Rather, what we mean is setting a “setback” temperature. In other words, rather than turning off your heating, you just lower your heater temperature rather than actually switch it off.

Now, what we’re looking for here is how often the temperature is changed and by how much. At night, most people turn down their heater to around 60.8 Fahrenheit. This essentially turns off the heater because most homes won’t drop that far down in temperature to actually switch on the heating.

Understanding the Difference between Fuel Use and Heat Loss

In addition to knowing what is meant by “all the time,” you also need to know the difference between fuel use and heat loss.

Generally, the amount of energy you use from your boiler or heat pump to make up for the heat lost from the walls of a property is not the same as the amount of heat lost. Depending on the efficiency of the boiler or heat pump, the amount of energy used could be significantly higher or lower than the amount of heat lost. For instance, if you were to lose 40kW/h worth of heat, a 95% efficiency heater will use around 43kW/h, and the number goes up with even less efficient heaters. And this is where we can find the problem.

Many people argue to turn off heating to stop heat loss and not actually save fuel. For that reason, knowing what your heat source is will be vital in knowing whether to leave on or turn off your heater.

So, Do I Turn My Heater Off or On?

If you have an electric heater or an old, non-condensing boiler, we recommend not leaving them on forever. That’s because electricity heaters can be expensive to run, so turning them on and off will help. As for the non-condensing boiler, they have a fixed efficiency, so turning them on or off won’t help.

Now, if you have a condensing boiler, the lower the temp you set, the more efficient they become, meaning you can set it to low and essentially just leave it on. While this will cause it to run longer, the trade-offs are usually worth it!


So there you have it. If you’re still confused by what we’ve said, don’t worry. Feel free to reach out to HVAC experts and get their insight as to whether your specific heater solution should be left on 24/7 or should be turned off once in a while. With their help, you can discover the best solution to save plenty of money in the long run while still enjoying a warm and comfortable home.

Stiles Services is an HVAC Contractor in Athens, offering cooling, plumbing, and stiles heating services. If you are looking for heating services in Georgia, work with us today!

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