We’re in tough times financially at the moment, with energy prices in particular sky rocketing. As a private landlord (www.jamesnorvillproperties.co.uk), I’m often asked by my tenants for tips on how save money on their energy bills. My top tip in answer to this question is to ensure that the temperature of your boiler is set properly.
Control the Temperature of your Central Heating System
A central heating system commonly consists of four components:
- A boiler, responsible for providing heat for your radiators and hot water.
- 2. One or more room thermostats that turn the boiler on and off depending on the temperature in the room in which they are situated.
- 3. A timer that changes the temperature setting on the thermostat at pre-set times of day.
- 4. Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRV) on each radiator.
Most people already know that you can save money by turning down the room thermostat and using the timer properly for your individual circumstances. It’s also possible to save money by using the TRVs to control the temperature of individual radiators and turning down, or even off, the radiators in rooms that are not in regular use. This means that you will pay only to heat the rooms that you are using and not the whole house.
What many people don’t realise is that you can also save money by efficiently controlling the temperature of the radiators at the boiler. Setting the ‘flow’ temperature at the boiler controls the temperature of the water that enters your radiators and is therefore the maximum temperature your radiators can reach. Turning this temperature down means your boiler does not heat the water so much but can also mean your system has to run longer to heat your rooms to the desired temperature, so the ideal flow temperature is not a one size fits all.
Generally, the ideal flow temperature will be somewhere between 45 and 60°C, dependent on many factors, including the type of boiler you have, how well insulated your home is and the surface area of your radiators. A well insulated home with large radiators will be able to run at lower temperatures, whereas older homes that are less well insulated will need this temperature set higher.
It’s a good idea to consult the information on your boiler to find out its ideal operating range. If you have a smart meter, you can also use trial and error to test out different flow temperatures and check how this affects the amount of energy used.
Control the Temperature of your Hot Water
Your boiler will also have a setting that allows you to control the temperature of the hot water. Similar to the flow temperature for the heating, this setting controls the temperature the boiler heats the water to before delivering it to your hot water taps and showers. Turning this temperature down will save you money as the boiler will not have to work so hard to heat the water. If you can’t put your hand under your hot water tap without mixing in cold water then this temperature may be too high.
You should be careful not to lower this temperature too much as you could put yourself at risk of legionella. The recommended minimum temperature for water at the tap is 50°C so you should not set the water temperature below this level. If you have a hot water tank, legionella is more of a risk and you should keep the temperature at a minimum of 60°C. This can also be the case if you have had a hot water cylinder removed as there may be pipes that have been capped off, leaving the water with nowhere to go. Again, you should then keep your hot water temperature at a minimum of 60°C.
My Top Energy Tips
Here are some other top tips for saving money on your energy bills.
- Set your room temperature to 19–20°C.
- Set your TRV’s to 2 or 3 and turn them off in rooms not in use.
- Set your timer so your heating comes on twice a day.
- Make sure your home is properly insulated.