Heating & heating controls

High efficiency boilers

Boilers account for around 55% of what you spend in a year on energy bills so if your boiler is more than 10 years old, it may be time to think about replacing it with a new high efficiency model. 

Replacing an old gas boiler with an A-rated high-efficiency condensing boiler and improving your heating controls will significantly cut your home's carbon dioxide emissions - and could save you as much as £200 a year.

Today’s central heating boilers are much better than the old ones. They can heat water more efficiently, meaning they use less gas or oil to do the same job. This saves energy and will save you money.  Condensing boilers improve efficiency by recovering heat from the gases that would normally be wasted by a conventional boiler. High efficiency condensing boilers convert more than 88% of their fuel into heat, by recovering the maximum waste heat normally rejected to the atmosphere by a conventional (non-condensing) boiler.

What to think about when buying a boiler

Combination boilers can provide a continuous flow of hot water, require less space and avoid heating water unnecessarily, but are less suitable for houses where there are simultaneous demands on the hot water, such as multiple bathrooms or showers.

Conventional heat-only systems take up more space than a combination system, but are able to provide hot water to several sources at once and are more suitable for larger houses.

Finding an installer

For a list of registered installers go to the competent person website  SNIPEF or centralheating.co.uk

For gas and LPG boilers, the installer must be Gas Safe registered. For oil boilers we would recommend that you use an OFTEC registered installer. You can find registered installers at gas safety register and oftec

What are heating controls?

Heating controls help you heat your home more efficiently and lead to lower fuel bills. A properly controlled system should have the following controls:

A programmer

Programmers allow you to set 'On' and 'Off' time periods. Some models switch the central heating and domestic hot water on and off at the same time, while others allow the domestic hot water and heating to come on and go off at different times.

A room thermostat

A room thermostat is usually found in the hallway or sitting room and simply switches the heating system on and off as necessary. It works by sensing the air temperature, switching on the heating when the air temperature falls below the thermostat setting and switching it off once this set temperature has been reached. Thermostats are normally set between 18 and 210C although some people need to keep their home warmer due to their age or health problems. 

If you are too warm, try reducing your thermostat by 1ºC. This can cut up to 10% off heating bills and save energy.

A programmable room thermostat

A programmable room thermostat combines time and temperature controls and allows you to set different temperatures for different times of the day.

A cylinder thermostat

A cylinder thermostat switches on and off the heat supply from the boiler to the hot-water cylinder. It works by sensing the temperature of the water inside the cylinder, switching on the water heating when the temperature falls below the thermostat setting, and switching it off once the setting has been reached. The thermostat should be set to 60-65oC: hot enough to kill bacteria. 

A thermostatic radiator valve (TRV)

Thermostatic Radiator Valves or TRVs allow you to control the temperature of a room by regulating the flow of water through the radiator. If, for example, during the day you spend most of the time downstairs, you could set the TRVs on the downstairs radiators to medium or high, whilst leaving the upstairs radiators low, or even turning them off altogether.

To make sure you are doing all you can to ensure your heating controls are working efficiently, refer to the manufacturer's user guide for more advice.

By installing and using correctly your programmer, room thermostat and TRV's could save you around £75 per year and 340 kg carbon dioxide.