Having a Plumbing and Heating Engineer for a husband can be annoying at times (there’s only so much boiler talk I can take over dinner!), but it’s also pretty useful when it comes to saving money on our gas bill. When I was asked to write an article on ways to improve the efficiency of your central heating system, Stu was over the moon. ‘This will be your best post yet‘ he exclaimed!! So in the interest of making Stu a very happy man and also saving you a few bob in the process, here are my 5 top tips on how to improve the efficiency of your central heating system.
Improving the Efficiency of your Central Heating System
1. Thermostatic Radiator Valves
Having thermostatic radiator valves can work wonders for your energy bill as they allow you to control the temperature in individual rooms to meet your needs for heat. So for example in rooms you don’t frequent that often (for example the guest bedroom) you can set the radiator valve to a lower temperature, thereby saving you energy (and money).
2. Programmable Room Thermostat
A programmable room thermostat means you can control the temperature of a house so that the heating only comes on at particular times of the day or unless the house falls below a certain temperature. This is good for your energy bills as it will maintain a constant temperature in your home, even when you are not there. This means the boiler doesn’t need to work as hard to heat the place up once you arrive through the door. It’s a common misconception that turning the heating off in down periods will save money, as in reality all this does is make the house cool down so much that the central heating boiler has to work at full capacity to raise the temperature again. Keeping the home at a constant 16 – 17 degrees will stop the boiler having to stop/start and that has been shown to save money in the long term.
There are many programmable thermostats on the market these days that can be controlled via your smartphone. These have the additional benefit of enabling you to keep a particular areas of your house warm when you need it. So for example if you are working late one evening on the kitchen table and want the room to be toasty. A wireless thermostat would allow you to pop the thermostat on the table next to where you are sitting and it will control the heating to ensure the air around you is the temperature you have set it to be… for example 19 – 20oC.
The ability to control this via your phone means you can control the ‘comfort’ and ‘eco’ times of your home remotely. So if your pre-programmed room stat is set to warm the house at 5pm on a Sunday, but you get comfortable up the pub. Then you can use your smartphone to delay the boiler firing up. Again saving money in the long run.
3. Condensing Gas Boiler
Old boilers with a permanent pilot light waste gas as the flame has to be alight at all times. If you have one of these models, it’s likely your central heating system is due for an upgrade. The newer style condensing boilers work on electric ignition and light on demand meaning you do not need a pilot light. Because of this they are considered to be more energy efficient.
4. Insulation throughout the house
Ensuring your home is adequately insulated will prevent heat escaping and prevent the boiler working harder than it needs to. Heat can escape through doors, windows, cavity walls and the loft space so it’s a good idea to ensure these areas are sufficiently protected.
5. Power flush the System
Having your radiators and central heating power-flushed will improve the efficiency of your heating system as it removes the dense black sludge from the system which is inefficient to heat. Having a magnetic central heating filter installed following the power flush will prevent this sludge building back up, thereby up-keeping the efficiency of the system. Your local heating engineer should be able to advise you on this.
6. Electric Radiators
With the latest intelligent heat management technology and easy access digital controls, you could also try an energy efficient electric radiator which are really easy to use and come in a range of colours such as white and anthracite.
Do you have any tips for using your central heating efficiently? Let me know in the comments below.
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