Have you ever considered that your heating controls (or lack of them) may be costing you money?
How much can you save?
Whatever the age of your boiler, the right controls will let you set your heating and hot water to come on and off when you need them, heat just the areas of your home you want, and decide how warm you want each area to be. Here are the average savings you could make in a typical three-bedroom semi-detached home, heated by gas:**
Install a room thermostat if you didn't have one before:
- £70 and 280kg carbon dioxide a year
- Fit a hot water tank thermostat: £30 and 130kg carbon dioxide a year
- Fit a hot water tank insulation jacket: £40 and 170kg carbon dioxide a year
You can also make savings by using your controls more effectively:
- Turn down your room thermostat by one degree: save around £55 and 230kg carbon dioxide a year.
You can upgrade or install heating controls without replacing your boiler, and it's a particularly good idea to think about this if your controls are over 12 years old. Room thermostats, for example, are much more accurate than they used to be.
Modern heating controls are one of the best ways of saving money on your heating bills and making sure you have the best controls couldn't be easier. Wireless heating controls are now available and can be installed with minimum disruption.
These prevent your home getting warmer than it needs to be: they will turn the heating on until the room reaches the temperature you have set, and then off until the temperature drops.
Your room thermostat should be set to the lowest comfortable temperature - typically between 18°C and 21°C. Try turning your thermostat down a degree or two and seeing if you still feel comfortable. You don't need to turn your thermostat up when it is colder outside: the house will heat up to the set temperature whatever the weather. It may take a little longer on colder days, so you might want to set your heating to come on earlier in the winter.
A programmable room thermostat combines time and temperature controls and allows you to set different temperatures for different times of the day. You can have different temperatures in individual rooms by installing thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) on individual radiators.
Thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs)
Thermostatic radiator valves sense the air temperature around them and regulate the flow of water through the radiator they are fitted to. They do not control the boiler. Set them to the level you want for the room: a lower setting uses less energy and so will save you money.
Please note: We would not recommend using radiator covers because thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) sense the air temperature around them and control the flow rate depending on what level they're set at. Having a cover over the radiator means that the TRV is enclosed, which is likely to make it think that the room temperature is higher than it actually is - because heat will be trapped between the radiator and the cover.
If you already have a radiator cover that cannot be removed, then it is still worth using TRVs to control the temperature as much as possible, although the radiator will be more effective at heating the room space without the cover. If you feel the radiator is not hot enough at a particular setting, turn up the TRV.
If your hot water is stored in a cylinder, the thermostat will prevent it being hotter than it needs to be. Once the water has reached the temperature you have set, the heat supply from the boiler will be turned off.
Turning the thermostat higher will not make the water heat up any faster, and the water heating will not come on if a time switch or programmer has switched it off.
Cylinder thermostats are usually fitted between one quarter and one third of the way up the cylinder. They have temperature scales marked: you should set them at between 60ºC and 65ºC. This is hot enough to kill off harmful bacteria in the water, but it's also hot enough to scald.
This is not a control but a system of wiring that turns the boiler off when neither the room thermostat nor the cylinder thermostat needs it. Without this the boiler can continue to cycle, wasting energy.
Programmer or Time Control
This will automatically switch your heating off when you're not at home, or when you can do without it, such as when you're in bed.
Programmers allow you to set 'on' and 'off' time periods. Most models will let you set the central heating and domestic hot water to go on and off at different times. There may also be manual overrides.
Set your water to heat up only when you need it: keeping it constantly hot uses energy. If your hot water cylinder or tank is well enough insulated, you may even find that the morning's hot water stays hot enough to use in the evenings.
The Fernox TF1 magnetic filter removes magnetite and sludge in a heating system reducing the risk of deposits within the heat exchanger. It is the elimination of debris blocking pipes and components that ensures the efficiency of the boiler is maintained, in turn keeping fuel bills low.
CLICK HERE to go to the Magnetic Filtration page for more information.
* Government figures from BERR
** Figures from The Energy Saving Trust