Six tips to save money on your boiler in France

Amid rising energy costs and high inflation, saving on hot water can add up

A woman adjusting a thermostat on a hot water heater
Being careful with your boiler and hot water can save serious money
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With the rising cost of living and high inflation, it makes sense to try to save money on hot water and boiler costs, as these can account for 10% of the average household’s energy costs in France.

This estimate comes from the French environment and energy management agency (Agence de l'Environnement et de la Maîtrise de l'Énergie, Ademe).

Saving money on energy has become even more pertinent as the government plans to reduce the bouclier tarifaire (tariff shield).

Read more: Electricity tariffs stabilise but bills may still rise in France

1. Adjust your boiler temperature

The temperature of your boiler has a direct impact on your electricity consumption. Most boilers will have what is called a ‘potentiometer’, which allows you to adjust its temperature.

The potentiometer is usually under a cover that you can unscrew. Turning down the boiler by a degree or two will save money without substantially reducing the availability of hot water in your home. It is advised to keep the temperature to at least 50C to avoid bacteria growth.

2. Turn it on only at off-peak hours

Check if your electricity provider contract entitles you to off-peak hour savings. This will allow you to only use your hot water boiler at off-peak times (in the same way as you might a washing machine).

To do this, you can install an ‘off-peak contactor’, which will start heating your water as soon as the off-peak time begins. You can also set your boiler to only turn on if your tank runs out of hot water.

3. Switch off your water heater if you go away

This is an often-forgotten but money-saving trick. If you’re planning to be away from your home for a while, turn off your boiler.

Depending on your appliance, you are able to turn it off directly or via an app.

4. Update your boiler

If you are installing a new boiler or planning to updating your old one, you may wish to choose one that has an element that is covered (concealed element), so it does not come into direct contact with the water. This extends the life of the element by preventing it from being corroded by hard water.

This costs more upfront, but can extend the life of your boiler to prevent more expense in future.

5. Install a thermodynamic water heater

Thermodynamic water heaters can bring some of the greatest savings. These boilers have a heat pump that can save on electricity compared to a standard system.

Although this type is generally much more expensive to purchase it may offer considerable savings in the long-term, depending on how long you stay in your home.

6. Limit hot water use

Being careful with your hot water is another everyday way to save.

Tips include:

  • Washing your hands in cold water
  • Taking short showers rather than baths
  • Not leaving your hot water tap running, for example while washing up
  • Installing aerators on your taps and shower heads

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