HEATING ACCOUNTS FOR A BIG CHUNK OF HOUSEHOLD EXPENSES SO ENSURE THE SYSTEM FOR HEATING THE HOME AND HOT WATER IS AS EFFICIENT AS POSSIBLE.
As a guideline, an efficient system is one that is:
- correctly sized for the property (and is able to warm it up within a reasonable time)
- uses fuel as efficiently as possible
- is easily controlled by the people that live there.
1. Gas & oil fired central heating systems.
Upgrading from a G rated boiler (<70% efficient) to an A rated, condensing boiler (>90% efficient) with a full set of heating controls can save £225 a year on heating bills*. Stricter building regulations generally mean all new and replacement boilers must be A rated. All boilers (new and most old) are listed on SEDBUK database.
There are generally two types of boiler: Regular system boilers – providing space heating and hot water using a storage cylinder; Combi boilers – providing space heating and instant mains pressure hot water (no hot water tank). Combi boilers have minimum flow requirements and not all are solar solar thermal compatible so check with the manufacturer. For safety and efficiency, boilers should be serviced yearly.
Minimal heating controls are a: Time switch / programmer - to control when your heating will turn on and off; Room thermostat - measuring room temperature to communicate when the boiler and pump can be off. (between 18 and 21⁰); Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs) - controlling hot water flow into individual radiators to adjust the temperature in different rooms; Cylinder thermostat (if you have a hot water cylinder) - to ensure water stored within is no lower than 60⁰c in order to kill any bacteria like legionella.
2. Electric heating systems
Heating your home with electricity (e.g. plug in heaters or night storage heaters) is generally the most expensive method. The associated CO₂ emissions are also very high. If there’s no alternative, ideally electricity should only be used in well insulated properties where heating demand is lower. Night storage heaters work by drawing electricity over the course of a few hours at night, and storing this to use the following day. With a tariff like Economy 7 the electricity you use at night costs about a third of the price of the electricity you use during the day. However, if you heat your home and water with electricity but don’t have storage heaters or a hot water tank, Economy 7 probably won’t be cost effective.