In the UK, we rely heavily on our central heating systems. In fact, in a typical household, over half of the money spent on energy bills goes on providing heating and hot water. You’ll no doubt want to keep your home warm and cosy, but as energy prices rise, achieving this could end up costing you a lot of money if you’re not careful.
At Viessmann, we provide a range of energy efficient heating systems that can help you to enjoy comfort at home while also keeping your bills to a minimum.
Most homes in the UK have central heating systems powered by boilers. There are a variety of different types of boiler available, and the one that’s most efficient in your home will depend on a range of factors, including the size and layout of your property and the way you use your heating and hot water.
Below, we take a look at a few of the most important points you’ll need to consider when choosing a system.
The majority of boilers run on mains gas and this is usually the cheapest and most efficient boiler fuel. However, in areas where mains gas isn’t available, there are alternatives including oil, LPG, wood and house coal.
The three main types of boiler available are conventional models, combination (or ‘combi’) designs and system boilers. Conventional models heat water that is stored in a hot water tank ready for when you need it.
In contrast, combi designs heat water directly from the mains when you turn your hot taps on, meaning they don’t use a hot water tank. Like combi models, system boilers heat water directly from the mains. However, they use a storage cylinder and can deliver a constant supply of hot water to multiple taps simultaneously.
If your household doesn’t use a lot of water, a combi boiler may be the most efficient option as it won’t leave water sitting in a tank losing heat. However, these systems are less efficient than conventional boilers at heating water in the first place, so if you have a big property and use a lot of water, it may be cheaper for you to run a standard boiler.
The vast majority of modern boilers are condensing models. For example, we offer a range of gas condensing boilers and oil condensing boilers. Condensing models have large heat exchangers that recover a greater amount of heat from the burning fuel, meaning they are highly efficient to run.
Since 2015, all new boilers and heating appliances are required to have an energy efficiency label under the Energy related Products (ErP) directive. For heat generators, the best efficiency class is designated with A++ and the worst with G. For DHW cylinders, the scale extends from A to G. On combi boilers used for both central heating and DHW heating, the classification is indicated separately for the two applications.
These labels provide you with a basis for comparing the efficiency of a boiler and hence can be used as a decision-making aid for new purchases or modernising a heating system.
There are a range of steps you can take to make your central heating system more efficient. For example, if your existing setup is old or it doesn’t suit the requirements of your property, you could replace it with a new, more efficient model. Highlighting the possible benefits of this, if you live in a detached house and replace an old G-rated gas boiler with a new A-rated condensing model, you could save over £300 a year.
You may also want to think about fitting better controls. Ideally, you should have a boiler thermostat, thermostatic radiator valves, a room thermostat and a timer or programmer. Make sure you know how to use these controls to keep your heating system running as efficiently as possible.
For even greater efficiency, consider choosing a boiler that offers smart controls. The Viessmann Vitotrol app, for example, enables you to operate Viessmann heating systems equipped with Vitotronic control units. Operation from anywhere and at any time is easy, intuitive and convenient.
Another option for making your heating system more efficient is the easy-to-install tado° thermostat and smartphone app, which allows you to optimise your heating environment and save energy costs. The intelligent thermostat automatically reduces usage when no one is at home and begins heating when it detects the first person to arrive. It can also adapt to internal and external factors like the building type and weather forecast in order to heat as efficiently as possible.
You may also wish to consider switching to a renewable fuel or technology. We explore some of these alternative systems in the section below.
Make sure your home is well insulated and draught-proofed too. This means blocking up any unwanted gaps in your property that allow warm air to escape and cold air to get in. You may have draughts around your windows, doors, keyholes, chimneys, pipework, loft hatches, skirting boards and floorboards. Blocking these drafts is often simple and something you can do yourself with the right supplies. However, make sure you don’t seal any intentional ventilation, such as wall vents, window trickle vents, underfloor air bricks or extractor fans.
Renewable heating systems can be highly energy efficient, helping you to bring your bills down and reduce your carbon footprint. Here are a few of the options we offer at Viessmann.
Heat pumps take advantage of the natural heat found in the air or ground surrounding your property and can provide heating and hot water for your home. Both air source and ground source heat pumps rely on the same principle as your refrigerator, but in reverse.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, by replacing an old G-rated gas boiler with a standard air source heat pump, an average four-bedroom detached home stands to save over £400 a year on energy bills, while the same home could save over £500 with a ground source heat pump.
Solar thermal systems use free heat from the sun to provide you with hot water. These solutions can be integrated with a conventional boiler or an immersion heater to ensure you have enough hot water when solar energy isn’t available.
A field trial conducted by the Energy Saving Trust found that typical savings from a well-insulated, correctly used solar thermal system were £80 when replacing electric immersion heating and £50 when replacing gas heating.
A biomass boiler is fuelled by wood and can offer a highly efficient source of heating and hot water for your home. Replacing an old electric heating system with a biomass boiler could save you around £800 a year, while replacing an old LPG boiler system could result in savings of up to £275 a year.
As well as offering reduced running costs and a lower CO2 footprint, many renewable heating systems also qualify for grants and funding, meaning you could save even more. The Domestic RHI scheme, for example, will enable you to help the environment and save yourself money at the same time.
The scheme is a government financial incentive set up to encourage the installation and usage of renewable heating technologies in existing homes and it enables those using renewable heating systems to receive quarterly payments at a set rate (kilowatt hour, kWh) per unit of clean, green renewable heat their system produces.
Finding the most energy efficient heating system for your property could save you a lot of money over the long term, and it will help you to do your bit for the environment, as well as future proofing your home. If you would like to discover more about the heating solutions we offer, simply contact us today.