Thursday, 20 March 2014

Keeping control of your central heating costs

With the use of non-renewable resources and prices of gas and electricity at an all time high it is more important than ever to minimise consumption. Here are a few reasons why you should care:

  • Gas and oil prices are ever rising; cutting down on their use will save you money.
  • If we all use less resources now, there will be more for our future children and grandchildren.
  • Although there a number of political groups, lobbyists and fringe oil-money-funded researchers opposing global warming, the overwhelming consensus in the scientific community is that it is real, that it is happening right now and that unless people across the world use carbon more sustainably, we will be in big problems in the near future.

The most economical kind of boiler is a condensing boiler, which has the following benefits; 
  • The waste heat that is usually dispersed out of the building via the flue of a non condensing boiler is saved and used by a condensing boiler.
  • Typically a new gas condensing boiler will be around 90% efficient, compared to a new non condensing boiler at 78%, or an older non condensing boiler at around 60%.

Good heating controls are vital for keeping cost and waste to a minimum. There are four main kinds of controls for your heating and hot water;
  • Room stat (thermostat), this measures the room's temperature and adjusts the boiler temperature accordingly.
  • Boiler programmer, settable for different times and days of the week, so that you can ensure the boiler is off when you are not at home.
  • Boiler timer, switches your boiler off and on at set times.
  • Thermostatic radiator valves (also known as TRV) knobs on radiators that adjust the temperature of the radiator.

According to The Energy Saving Trust, reducing your heating temperature by just one degree can save £55 per year on heating bills.

Money and energy saving tips; 
  • Update your heating controls, see the above for different kinds of controls.
  • Zone your heating, it is possible to zone areas of the house and not just rooms. You could, for example, zone the upstairs and downstairs at different times of the evening.
  • Set your thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) and room thermostats low then increase the temperature day by day until the optimum temperature is reached. You can then leave the temperature as it is until the season changes.
  •  Do not cover the tops of radiators as they work by convection; cold air enters the radiator at the bottom and leaves through the top as warm air. Thus it is important to keep a good flow of air; watch out for loose wallpaper or anything else that prevents the flow.
  • There have been recent changes in technology and it is now possible to download an app to your mobile phone that controls your central heating system, one such system is British Gas’s Hive system. The system allows the user to remotely control their heating system.

Keep a good eye on how much you are paying for your utilities, there are a few price comparison companies that you can use, such as;

You could also speak to a handful of utility providing companies directly to speak to them about the best rates for you. If you do not have a contract with a company with a fixed rate you may be paying a high gas and electricity price per KWh. Contact details for a few utilities companies are as follows;

Alternatively this article may be of interest, it details lesser known companies;

If you live in the Bath or Bristol area, consider giving BPM Maintenance a try, for affordable, safe & high quality boiler installs and gas work.