Upgrading central heating system controls

"By upgrading heating controls, you will improve the efficiency of any central heating system, and cut your costs by up to 20%"
Quote from the energy savings trust, energy efficiency home improvement brochure.
Most older central heating systems have only simple controls - check what controls your system already has to see if you need to add any. To keep rooms at a comfortable temperature and provide adequate hot water without waste, you need to add a programmer, room thermostat and hot water cylinder thermostat. Which may necessitate some system alterations, but it will be cost effective in the long run. Ask your plumber to give an estimate for the work, and get it done in the summer when you don't rely on the heating system for warmth.

See below for further information on these components.


Central heating programmer

Programmers can vary greatly in their design but they all contain a clock, which turns the heating and hot water systems (sometimes separately) on or off when required. You save money because you heat what you want only when you want it, and you can set it to suit your lifestyle. Modern electronic programmers let you set different times for weekdays and weekends or even each day of the week. Providing your system is adequate.

Boiler control systems
Boiler energy control systems are the latest in home temperature controls. They are small electronic systems, which use sensors to measure temperatures both indoors and outdoors and by working with thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) keep your house at the temperature, without wasting energy.

Room thermostat

The room thermostat keeps the temperature of the air in your home at the level set, by turning the boiler on and off automatically. Once the room with the thermostat reaches the set temperature, the heating throughout the home is switched off.

If you fit a programmable electronic room thermostat you can have even more control. You can set different temperatures for different time of day.


Thermostatic radiator valves

Fitting TRVs to radiators in each room gives you total control of the temperature in your home. The thermostatic radiator valve keeps the temperature of the air in the room at a set level, automatically turning the radiator on or off to keep the temperatures set.

If your system has a room thermostat do not fit TRVs to radiators in that room, as they will fight against each other.


Cylinder thermostat

If your hot water cylinder does not have one already you can fit a clamp-on thermostat and control valve.

This thermostat controls the temperature of the water in the hot water storage cylinder - 60 0C (140 0F) is normal.