Do I set the central heating thermostat to 20 degrees?

White glass panel heaterDo I set the central heating thermostat to 20 degrees?

When the weather is freezing cold outside, the dilemma facing many households is where do I set the thermostat to? Is 20 OK for every situation or do some homes feel the cold more than others? What can I do to feel more comfortable? The key is the thermal comfort of the building

We all know that by lowering the thermostat we save energy and therefore reduce our winter fuel bills. But how do we alter our thermal comfort?

What is thermal comfort?  Well, if we sit next to cold objects we feel chilly and if we sit next to warm things we feel more comfortable. The lovely solid stone walls of an old house feel cold to the touch and the rooms are often cold, but if we can warm the stone up by a real fire then the room seems to stay warm and cosy, stone holds warmth and radiates it back for a long time afterwards. (imagine, sitting outside next to a warm stone wall in the sunshine even on a winters day we feel comfortable because of the radiating effect of warmth from the objects around us.) That is thermal comfort. A large window of cold glass makes us feel chilly but if we draw heavy curtains across we feel much better and more comfortable. Test your glass by putting your hand on it, older glass will be freezing cold but new double glazing is remarkably not that cold, so new windows can really make a difference to the thermal comfort of the room.

So, if we look at the thermal comfort of our own homes we can judge whether 20 degrees will feel ok or regardless of the air temperature our house will feel chilly, and if our house is chilly then we need to find ways of surrounding ourselves with warm objects rather than cold ones! To increase the thermal comfort, we can block up draughts, close the curtains, or even add internal wall insulation, however, another simple solution is to add infrared heating panels to those rooms which are particularly cold. Working along the same principles as the sun warming the earth to heat the air, the panel becomes hot and emits infrared, an invisible form of light wavelength, which warms people and objects directly, and thus warms your surroundings and creates better thermal comfort. Infrared heaters look neat and are unobtrusive simple white panels, they can be fitted to the wall or ceiling by four screws and just plug in or can be fitted to thermostatic programmers.

Infrared panels can be fitted alongside your current heating system to boost a room which still doesn’t feel comfortable at 20 degrees, or it can be used as the only heating source. Plus, when you experience that lovely infrared feeling of warmth directly on the body, you do not worry about the air being any set temperature, so to get the maximum benefit of infrared heating you should position the panel close to where you sit, so you get the feel of warmth directly on your body and it will very gently warm the objects around you, so you feel cosy and in great thermal comfort.