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Common Questions
Our answers to a range of customer queries.
Should I keep the heating on all the time?

An age old debate: having the heating on low all the time, or just turning it on when you need it?

Which is the more energy efficient?

Those who argue for having their heating on all the time believe it takes additional energy to bring their home 'up to temperature' when the heating has been switched off. So, why bother spending a lot of time heating up your home only to let it cool down again?

However, if you leave your heating on 24/7, typically you will end up using more fuel. This is because some heat loss will always occur due to the difference between the temperature outside your house and the temperature your trying to maintain inside. So, if you have your heating on all the time, your heating system will be using energy on an ongoing basis to maintain the inside temperature. But, the greater the heat loss from your home, the more energy you will need to maintain the inside temperature, which means that the cost of leaving your heating on all the time will be expensive.

This all means that leaving your heating on all the time will use more energy but a lot more from inefficient homes, as the heating works harder to replace lost heat. That's why ensuring your home is well insulated and draft-proofed will minimise this heat loss.

Typically the most energy-efficient approach to heating your home is to programme your heating system so that it comes on when you need it most. With many of the more modern room thermostats you also have the ability to set different temperatures at different times on different days if so desired. When you use your boiler timer and room thermostat in conjunction with thermostatic radiator valves (TRV's) you really do have the most energy-efficient approach to heating your home.

Why not test it?

If you're not convinced - and if you have a well-insulated home - you can test whether putting on the heating 24/7 is cheaper than programming your system to come on at certain times of the day.

To get a good idea of the energy usage for each option, you can leave your heating on constantly for a week, followed by a week of programming your heating to come on twice a day.

You will need to take a meter reading at the beginning and end of each week, and from the results you will be able to see - assuming the weather and temperature outdoors have been similar across the two weeks - which approach is the most energy-efficient for you.
Why is it wrong to put a Thermostatic Radiator Valve (TRV) in the same room as a room thermostat?

The installation of a TRV is really to provide individual room comfort. All rooms with a TRV on the radiator can be operated at different temperatures, for example, the bedrooms at 18°C while the lounge is at 21°C

The requirement of the Building Regulations is that all heating systems in domestic dwellings have a minimum set of controls. For a combi boiler system, this is a timer or programmer room thermostat and the ability to operate the sleeping accommodation at different temperatures to the living area is generally achieved with TRV's.

The other requirement is that the room thermostat is sited in such a position where it is unaffected by any secondary heating, generally this is the landing or hall as the lounge is likely to have a fire and the kitchen will of course have heat from the cooking activities. The room thermostat is the boiler interlock, if the room thermostat shuts off, the boiler and heating system will also turn off. Consequently it is important that the room thermostat picks up the average temperature of the house rather than the extreme temperature otherwise the heating system will either turn off when various rooms in the house are still cold or stay running and possibly allow excessive heat to be provided to rooms.

Research found that if the radiator in the hallway or landing had a TRV fitted then quite often the room thermostat was not sensing the average temperature of the house and didn't turn off with a consequential increase in room temperatures and boiler on time. An uncontrolled radiator provided a more average temperature of the house and more accurate assessment of  the actual temperature required.

Neither arrangement is faultless and ideally every room could do with a room thermostat however, this isn't practical and the suggested method has the better results 

Which radiator should I choose?

Radiators and convector radiators continue to remain the most popular form of heating. Before deciding though it is good to know exactly what the differences are. The biggest difference is design and aesthetics, but its also worth knowing the way in which they work.

In a radiator hot water flows through tubes or panels. The water acts to heat up the tubes or panels which create horizontal heat waves then going on to heat up the ambient air. The heat generated inside any given room is a combination of radiant heat and a small percentage of convective heat. 

Convectors also rely on hot water, but the way they operate is just that little bit different from radiators, these have aluminium fins, the fins increase the contact surface area with the ambient air and act as a heat exchanger drawing in cold air at the bottom through the principle of under pressure, which serves to activate a hot air circulation system, the hot air rises up to the ceiling where it cools down before descending again allowing the process to repeat itself. The major benefit of convective heat are it heats up the room more evenly than radiant heat. 

The benefits of radiant heat are its considered to be healthier than convective heat, because the hot air you inhale does not come out of a heating element which brings dust. A lot of people are convinced that radiant heat feels warmer and more pleasant. 

If energy efficiency ranks high on your list then a convector radiator could well be the best option for you.