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Code of Practice on the Efficient Use of Gas

Code of Practice on the Efficient Use of Gas

Natural gas is the most environmentally friendly fossil fuel. Switching from oil to natural gas reduces the levels of sulphur, particulates and carbon dioxide in the air. In comparison with other fossil fuels, natural gas burns with minimum waste and emissions.

Adopting some simple energy efficiency measures in your home could make a significant difference to the amount of natural gas you use, help you save on the cost of your energy bills and help the environment.

Below are our 10 useful hints that can help you be more efficient:

1. Check your room temperature

A room thermostat, programmer, smart heating control and or thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) could help you save on your energy bill.

If you already have a full set of controls, turning down your room thermostat by just one degree can save you up to 10% off your heating bill. Between 18°C and 21°C is ideal for health and wellbeing, as well as cost. It takes a few hours for your whole house to change to the new temperature. Reduce the temperature gradually until you find a comfortable level.

Whatever the age of your boiler, the right controls will allow you to;

  • Set your heating and hot water to come on and off when you need them.
  • Heat only the areas of your home that need heating.
  • Set the temperature for each area of your home.

Smart heating controls, including smart thermostats and smart TRVs, are the latest innovation to help you control your heating and understand your energy use. They allow you to control your heating remotely via a mobile app, meaning that you can manage the temperature of your home from wherever you are, at any time of day. To control an individual room, keep windows and doors closed and control the temperature with low cost TRVs.

2. Check your hot water temperature

If you have a thermostat fitted to your hot water system you can set this to ensure you’re not overheating your water. You could reduce energy usage by setting the thermostat to 60oC, the recommended temperature for hot water

3. Avoid paying too much for hot water

Make sure your cylinder’s insulating jacket is at least 75mm (three inches) thick and meets all relevant British Standards. If you have a thin jacket on your cylinder, add a second jacket over it. Taking a shower is normally cheaper than having a bath.

4. Control your central heating

Use your central heating sensibly, only switch on your central heating when you need it. Reducing your usage saves you money and avoids energy being wasted. Simple tips include using your timer to set your heating to go off 30 minutes before you go out for the day or go to bed.

To help to prevent burst pipes in winter or, if you are away from home for a long time, program your heating to come on for a few short periods each day and set the thermostat to low or install frost protection controls.

5. Don’t heat rooms you don’t use

In unused rooms, make sure radiators are turned down low. Shut doors and windows. Air the room occasionally and check for condensation or mould. Don’t turn off the radiator next to a room thermostat. This gives a false idea of the temperature in the rest of the house.

If you use natural gas heaters or fires, save money by turning them off if you leave the room for any length of time. Natural gas heats a room very quickly once the appliance is switched back on.

6. Don’t let heat escape

Don’t open windows when your heating is on. If your house is too warm, turn the heating down. If you need more air, open the door to that room. Consider installing double-glazing, cavity wall insulation, draught-proofing doors or insulating your loft from 100mm to 270mm. This can save you money and makes your house more comfortable. Heavy lined curtains are excellent at retaining heat. Make sure they don’t cover your radiators. If possible, use curtains with heat reflective, insulated lining. Be careful not to block air vents in your rooms where fossil fuels are being used.

7. Don’t block heat sources

On chilly days, when the radiators or heaters are on in your home or workplace, make sure they aren’t blocked by clothes, towels, curtains or any desks or equipment. This is important, because it helps make sure that heat can effectively circulate and heat the room more efficiently.

8. Boiler servicing

An inefficient boiler will waste energy. An annual boiler service will help to ensure it operates both safely and at optimum efficiency. A boiler service should always be carried out by a Gas Safe Registered engineer.

9. Energy efficiency natural gas appliances

Some of the latest natural gas appliances are over 90% efficient. The current lifespan of a boiler is around 12 years. Fitting an A or AA rated high efficiency condensing boiler with the correct heating and hot water controls can make a huge difference to your heating bills over time.

There may be grants and offers available to help you install an energy efficient heating system. To enquire about available grants please contact NI Energy Advice on 0800 111 4455 or visit their website

You must use a Gas Safe Registered Installer for all natural gas installations and servicing at your home. For a list of Gas Safe Registered Installers, you can contact 0800 408 5500 or online at

If these appliances are not installed, maintained, and used properly, carbon monoxide (CO2) can build up to dangerous and even deadly levels, particularly in poorly ventilated areas. The best way to protect against carbon monoxide is to make sure all gas burning appliances are installed by Gas Safe Registered installers and serviced by competent companies or individuals – at least once a year. You should also install an audible carbon monoxide alarm – these are widely available to buy from supermarkets, DIY stores or online retailers.

10. Energy Performance Certificates

An Energy Performance Certificate, or EPC, shows how energy efficient a property is, as well show energy efficient it could be. The certificate contains details on energy performance of the property and what you can do to improve it. To obtain an EPC if you do not already have one, a qualified assessor will need to visit your home. More details can be found at the following website: Energy Efficiency Advice

For more information or assistance on measures to improve your energy efficiency or to enquire about grants available for energy efficient heating systems in Northern Ireland, please find below the contact details for NI Energy Advice below:

Get in Touch

If you require assistance with any energy efficiency matter or for more tips and advice, or if you would like a free copy of our Code of Practice on Efficient Use of Gas, please contact us to speak to one of our trained staff. Copies of the Code of Practice are also available free of charge in alternative formats including Braille, Large Print of Audio Format.

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