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Everything you need to know about Summer Heating

In the UK, keeping your home at an appropriate temperature year-round can be a challenge. Houses are typically built to retain heat and keep the cold out. This is great for the colder half of the year, but can be a problem when the temperatures start rising.

Making sure your heating system is appropriately configured for summer can ensure that your home stays cool and your heating isn’t working when it doesn’t need to. Not only will this make your home more comfortable, it will also reduce energy consumption and heating bills.

Our guide to summer heating makes sure you’re prepared for the warmer part of the year. Here’s everything you need to know about keeping your cool and your heating systems running during the hotter months.

When should you turn your heating off in spring?

When summer is approaching you’ll need to start considering your heating and springtime is the perfect time to look into this. The optimal time to turn your heating off in the spring depends on a variety of factors, including the insulation present within your house as well as your personal preferences.

However, it’s widely recommended to set your thermostat to between 18°C and 21°C. This will instruct your central heating system to turn on and off as required to maintain this temperature range.

Central heating systems in summer

Gas boilers

Gas boiler heating in summer

Should I turn my boiler off in the summer?

This very much depends on the type of boiler you have, as well as what you use the boiler for.

Most combination boilers will have a built-in summer setting, which turns off the central heating system and provides hot water on demand. This allows for the best of both worlds by saving energy and maximising comfort without compromising on your hot water supply. However, it’s recommended to switch the combination on for 15-20 minutes every couple of weeks to prevent the system from sticking due to inactivity.

If you own a conventional boiler, you should not switch this off as the distribution of heat is determined by the demand from your units, such as radiators, underfloor heating or hot water taps. Instead of switching a conventional boiler off, you should instead switch all unneeded heating elements off, which will give priority to the production of hot water.

Should I drain my boiler for the summer?

Draining a boiler for the summer is not recommended due to the fact that it would need to be refilled with large quantities of fresh water. Fresh water contains dissolved salts such as magnesium and calcium, which can contribute to a buildup of limescale and damage the boiler.

Turning your boiler back on after summer

If you’ve switched your combination boiler off over the course of the summer, it’s crucial to switch it back on in the correct manner to avoid shocking the system. Here’s a step-by-step guide to switching a combination boiler back on after a period of inactivity:

1. Assess the boiler for faults

Long periods of inactivity can cause common boiler faults, such as low boiler pressure or limescale buildup. Ensure you’ve checked the boiler over for faults before firing it up.

2. Switch on gradually

In the run-up to winter, ensure you’re switching the boiler on at least once a week and running it for around 15-20 minutes to not only prevent the system from sticking, but to flag any faults before switching on permanently for the winter.

3. Turn up the heat one degree at a time

In order to find the optimal heat, be sure to increase the heat one degree at a time until you reach the perfect temperature. Cranking up the boiler in large increments can result in setting the temperature higher than necessary, wasting both money and energy.

Underfloor heating

Underfloor heating installation

Can you turn off underfloor heating in summer?

Underfloor heating can be turned off in the summer months to preserve energy and maximise comfort. However, if you own a water-based underfloor heating solution, be sure to switch the underfloor heating on for 15-20 minutes every couple of weeks to identify any faults and prevent the system from sticking.

Turning on underfloor heating after summer

When turning on underfloor heating after a long period of inactivity, you should turn it on in the same manner you did when the system was first installed. For more information, here’s a detailed article about switching an underfloor heating system on for the first time.

Heat pumps

Heat pump

Can heat pumps be switched off in the summer?

Many heat pumps have summer modes meaning that they will adjust to the warmer weather without further intervention. However, you can simply turn down the room thermostat meaning the heating will not turn on but your hot water flow will be unimpeded.

Turning On Heat Pumps After summer

Re-activating your heat pumps after summer is simple. Moving the thermostat to the temperature you desire will see them begin actively heating your home once again, with no interruption in operation.

Direct heating systems in summer

Direct heating in summer

What steps to take with direct heating systems in summer

The main difference between a central heating system and a direct heating system is that for a direct heating system to work it has to be activated manually. This means that during warmer months, or even warmer weather during winter, you can simply decide not to activate your direct heating system to heat your home.

It doesn’t matter if you’re using an electric space heater or a gas-fired space heater, summer months mean you will be turning these on less. One thing to bear in mind, however, is that they may need firing up occasionally in order to test if they need repair. Testing your heating is essential to make sure that it’ll work when you need it and should not be overlooked, even when it’s hot.

Overall, managing your heating system during summer correctly can save you money, ensure that your heating system is fully functional, and will keep your home at an appropriate temperature. For more tips on how to save energy and money in your home, especially for summer heating requirements, check out our extensive energy saving guide.

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