How to control your heating this winter

With Christmas approaching, it’s the time of year we all start wondering: “how do I control my heating?”

Knowing your heating controls and how to operate them correctly will help you to keep your home at a comfortable temperature without wasting energy, costing a fortune or costing the Earth.

We answer your most frequently asked questions to help you confidently control your heating this winter.

Neostat on wall

How should I use my thermostat/s?

A simple tip is to remember that a thermostat is simply a switch that turns the heating on and off depending on the room temperature. Thermostats are commonly mistaken for a throttle, turned up high with the misconception that this will speed up the heating of your home. By correctly using your thermostat, setting it at the desired temperature, you avoid wasting energy by accidentally overheating your home.

What temperature should I set my thermostat to?

This varies from person-to-person, but generally 21°C is the ideal temperature for living areas. Bedrooms tend to be set slightly cooler at 18°C.

The temperature you choose can make a big difference to both the comfort of your home and your bank balance – by turning your room thermostats down by just 1 degree could save £80-£85 and 340kg – 350kg CO2 per year according to the Energy Savings Trust.

Should I leave my heating on all day?

This can depend on the heating system you have installed and your lifestyle. Generally, for a comfortable and welcoming home that isn’t wasting energy, you should set a timer.

When setting up your timer, use a cold evening and time how long it takes for the heating to warm up to a comfortable temperature – this is the warm up time. Then switch the system off, and time how long it takes the system to cool down to cold – this is the cool down time. With these two figures you can now work out an accurate timing schedule for the heating system. If you know it takes 30 minutes to reach 21°C, you can set the heating to come on half an hour before you arrive home from work or get out of bed.

If this sounds a little too complicated, you may choose to install a more sophisticated thermostat like Nu-Heat’s neoStat. Many modern stats like the neo now come with self-learning functions and are able to automatically adjust when your heating switches on throughout the year for optimum performance.

Does it really matter where my thermostat is located?

Yes, definitely. Room thermostats should be placed in a location where they can receive a free flow of air from the room to read an accurate temperature. It’s important that they are not blocked by items such as curtains, pictures, or furniture. You should also make sure that they are not near any additional heat sources, like a log burner, or draughts.

Do I need to update or replace my heating controls?

At a bare minimum, a heating system should have a boiler thermostat, programmer/timer, and room thermostats (or thermostatic radiator valves with radiators). Providing you have all of these items installed it’s generally just a case of understanding how to effectively use them.

If your existing controls are over 14 years old it may pay to upgrade them. Newer, more precise controls could well offer greater savings and comfort levels.

What is the most efficient way to control my underfloor heating?

Warm water underfloor heating is highly efficient and you can improve this efficiency even further by making sure you are controlling the system in the best possible way.

There are two main types of underfloor heating and they are controlled in very different ways:

Screed underfloor heating

In a screed system, the heating tube is embedded beneath a thick layer of screed. It will have a high thermal mass, so you can expect it to take some time to warm. Because of this, screed underfloor heating should be turned on around an hour earlier than an equivalent radiator system. A screed underfloor heating system will also hold heat well, meaning that longer “off” periods are possible.

For an efficient system and quick response times, set your programmable room thermostats to 16°C in “off” periods. This will result in a quicker warm up time as the heating system needs to supply less energy.

Low profile and retrofit systems

Retrofit underfloor heating systems, like LoPro®, or solutions where the heating tube is close to the floor surface will heat up quicker than a traditional screed system.

If you have a low profile system with good heat outputs you can control your underfloor heating in the same way that you would a radiator system.

Questions?

Call us on 01404 549770.

Stacey Callun

Stacey Callun

Stacey is Nu-Heat's PR & Marketing Executive, responsible for the fulfillment and coordination of all PR activities, editorial and marketing projects.

2 comments on “How to control your heating this winter

  1. My UFH is in screed and was installed in 1999. I wonder is it cheaper to run, for electricity and oil if set it to come on every hour for 10 or 15 mins instead of on all the time?

  2. Hi David,

    It depends on how you use your room/s, but for a screed system we would usually suggest leaving it running on a setback temperature rather than turning it off during the heating season.

    It’s a little like the analogy of a pan of water on the hob. To get the pan to boil in the first place, the heat has to be turned up high (requiring more energy), but once boiling the heat can be turned back to maintain simmering (reduced energy input to maintain the temperature). Screed underfloor heating can take some time to heat up from cold, but once warm it holds the heat for a longer period than other heating systems.

    For maximum efficiency, set the heating to your desired temperature in rooms when they are in use and then outside of these times allow it to drop back to a setback temperature. Your setback temperature will depend on how quickly your underfloor heating responds, but start by trying 16°C, increasing by a degree or two if you feel it is too low.

    I hope this helps.

    Stacey

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