Tricky thermostats – is your central heating out of control?
Keeping our homes warm during those chilly winter months is essential to most of us, but are you spending more money on heating than you need to? Are you in control of your thermostat?
In our recent heating survey we found that around two thirds of people with central heating have a timer to turn the heating on or off. But only half have thermostatic valves on at least some of their radiators. And less than half have individual room thermostats.
- A timer or programmer to set when your boiler should turn on and off.
- A room thermostat to set the temperature you want your heating to achieve.
- And thermostatic radiator valves to control radiators in each rooms.
The Energy Saving Trust estimates that you could save £70 per year on average if you were to install a room thermostat (in a typical three-bedroom semi-detached home heated by gas).
A flexible approach to heating
As David W put it in a previous Conversation about heating:
‘What one really needs is a device that compares the ambient temperature with a pre-set ideal and switches on the heating if (and only if) it’s needed, summer or winter. Because if it’s cold, it’s cold, whether it’s August or December.’
A letter we received from Mike Astill suggested the use of portable wireless thermostats. He moves the thermostat from living room to bedroom etc as he moves around the house. He also turns down the radiator valves in the rooms he’s not occupying.
Confusion over complex controls
But even if you have a heating timer, do you know how to use it? Some are quite complex and not at all intuitive. One in five people who have a timer and don’t use it, say it’s because the timer is too complex to use or they don’t know how to use it.
When first installed, your heating engineer should explain how to use the timer and the thermostat, but do they? In detail? And what about if you move into a house that already has a timer, but the previous owner has not left any instructions for the boiler or controls? How do you find out how to use them?
Our research also found that almost one in 10 people who don’t use a timer for their heating say it’s because they believe it’s more efficient to leave the central heating on all the time.
Do you have a full set of heating controls in your home? And do you know how to use the timer? Do you have any tips on how to make the best use of heating controls to save money while still being comfortable in your home?
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