Is your central heating under control?

Is your central heating under control?

The Myths and Truths of central heating

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Many people in the past have just set their central heating controls to 21 degrees for roughly the time when they are in the house and leave it set the same all Autumn, Winter and into Spring, however, with the recent big push to make us all more energy aware there are lots of things we can do differently to save ourselves energy and fuel costs.

Do not whack the thermostat dial round to 30 and expect the room to heat up any quicker!

Your radiators (no matter what form of central heating you use) have a set ability to heat up, they run at a predetermined temperature, by whacking the thermostat dial around the radiators can not double their output, they do not normally run at half measures just in case you decide that one snowy day you want double the amount of heating, they can not suddenly increase in power.

The purpose of the thermostat dial is to switch the heating off when the room reaches the set temperature. So by increasing the setting on the thermostat you run the risk of wasting energy by having the house unbearably hot.

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Does your thermostat give a true reading?

Sometimes thermostats are positioned in odd places which means their reading is not a true representation of the temperature in the whole room. If the thermostat is placed on a cold exterior wall it will always be chilled and give a cold reading, or if a thermostat is in bright sunshine near a window it will give a high reading. Thermostats fixed onto the heater can only give a reading of the air around the heater.

Play around with altering the settings on your thermostat and find what feels comfortable, rather than being fixated with “it must be 21 degrees”. By lowering the temperature by just one degree makes a huge difference on your energy bill.

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If you want the room to heat up quicker then change the programmer so it comes on earlier!

In the recent cold snap, your rooms may have become colder overnight, so when you wake up the house still feels chilly -so change the programmer.
Your home takes longer to heat up from a colder starting point. Change the settings on your programmer according to the weather conditions.

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Only heat the house when it is occupied

Noooo! Only heat the house fully when it is occupied, in very cold weather it is better to leave some background warmth in an empty home, leave the central heating on but turn the thermostat down to maybe 16 degrees, just so the temperature does not drop too low. When walls become very cold they take a long time to warm back up, so it makes your room feel chilly. Thermal imaging here shows good insulation in the loft but the walls are warm from a lack of insulation and heat loss from the warmed house.

A cold house is not good for your health or well being.

Allowing walls to become cold then subjecting them to warm air creates condensation which leads to black mould. The NHS sees a large increase in patient numbers due to cold/poor living conditions in the winter months, ailments attributed to changes of air quality, extreme heat and stuffyness in one room to cold and damp in other rooms. Condensation and black mould agravate bronchial conditions. A very cold house affects our mental state and out look on life.

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Yes you can change the programmer on an old heating system

Whilst it may not be feasible to rip out your old heating system and replace it with something more energy efficient, you should at least be able to renew the thermostatic programmer. Modern thermostatic programmers are highly accurate and flexible, so you have much better control of your heating and energy use. Ask your local central heating engineer to take a look.

If you know someone who is struggling to heat their home and keep comfortable over the winter then please get in touch the LEAP Project,  their friendly staff actively help to bring about changes in a persons circumstances to make life better, that might be changing light bulbs to new LEDs, adding some insulation, or by changing gas and electric tarrifs over, funding or loans are available to get new heaters installed. They are there to really support someone who is struggling, and make a difference to their winter misery.