The boiler is typically one of the biggest energy consumers in your home. They tend to work twenty-four hours a day for the large part of the year, providing both heat and hot water to keep your house warm and comfortable day and night. There are many different types of boiler, although the combi-boiler is by far the most popular in the UK.
A combi-boiler produces hot water on demand, rather than storing it in a tank as was popular in older systems. With advances in modern technology, modern boilers can offer huge energy savings in the home, reducing energy consumption and saving you precious money on your heating and water bills as well as helping you to make a contribution to protecting our planet.
Want to learn how to save energy at home with your boiler? Read on for some expert tips.
One of the easiest ways to save energy in the home is by slightly reducing the temperature. Reducing the temperature of your home by just 1°C can result in substantial energy savings - as high as 6% depending on the type of system. Such a reduction will barely be noticeable on a day to day basis, but will certainly show on your next bill.
A temperature of between 18°C - 21°C is generally considered to be the optimum temperature, both in terms of energy saving and general health, although this will vary for different rooms including bedrooms, bathrooms, children’s bedrooms and the kitchen
To maximise energy efficiency, it is also recommended that you do not to turn your radiators completely off. Many households use a timer to set the radiators to come on in the morning and evening when occupants are home from work and school, leaving them off for the remainder of the day.
Although this may seem like a logical approach, more energy is actually required to heat up rooms from cold, meaning that it may not actually save energy in the long run. It is generally better to leave them on a low setting when not required. This will also help to reduce the risk of high mould forming when radiators are left switched off.
Did you know that curtains, soft furnishings and other obstructions near radiators can substantially affect their efficiency? Blocking radiators prevents the proper circulation of hot air around the room, meaning that the radiator will have to work harder, consuming significantly more energy. Consider moving furniture such as sofas and changing your window decorations including curtains and blinds to help save energy.
Another key tip to save energy when it comes to your radiators is to take care when using airers to dry washing. Although it may seem like a good idea to place airers near the radiator to speed up drying, this will considerably increase your energy consumption and is best avoided. Outdoor drying is far more economical and often quicker due to the free moving air, even if it is fairly cold outside.
Even if you already have a new, energy saving boiler, heat loss could be having a real impact on the performance of your system. Taking simple measures to prevent heat from escaping is a great way to save energy at home. The most common cause of heat loss is windows.
First, make sure that your windows all seal properly and that there are no draughts. Even the slightest of draughts can cause a radiator to work much harder than it needs to, as it is constantly trying to heat up this stream of cold air. If you do have poorly sealed windows, consider replacing the seals and adjusting the latches if they have become loose. Getting a specialist to have a look may save you both time and money in the long run.
Next, consider your curtains and shutters. Firstly, ensure that any curtains do not obstruct the radiators as mentioned in the previous section. Make sure that you close blinds and draw curtains at night. This will help to keep the cold out and prevent heat from escaping. For even better energy efficiency, consider investing in thermal blinds and curtains.
Finally, avoid leaving windows open for prolonged periods of time, particularly during the night. If you do wish to air a room, turn off the heating first, shut the door and try not to leave the window open for longer than necessary.
This will vary according to the season, but as a guideline 3-5 minutes is optimum during winter, 10-15 minutes in spring and autumn, and 15-30 minutes during summer. If you have double glazed windows that have a built in vent, often known as a ‘trickle vent’, this should also be kept closed when your radiators are running but can be used for short periods as an alternative to opening the windows.
Even if the room is heated, insulating your central heating pipes can help to reduce heat loss. This means that it is possible to raise water temperatures between 2°C - 4°C, enough to allow you to save energy by reducing the hot water temperature setting on your boiler.
Leaking or dripping taps and pipes can cost money in wasted water, as well as reduce the efficiency of your hot water system through leakage. It is recommended that you regularly conduct a visual inspection to make sure that there are no leaks or drips.
Dripping taps should be rectified immediately, as these can cause a considerable amount of water to be wasted. Often a new washer is all that is needed to solve the problem yourself without the expense of a plumber.
A great way to reduce the amount of water you consume is to fit water saving shower heads and taps in your house. As well as reducing your water bills, this will help you to reduce the amount of hot water you use, saving energy and reducing the cost of your gas or electricity bill.
Be sure to also turn taps off when not needed, for example during washing up or when brushing teeth.
Did you know that a full bath uses as much as three times the amount of water of a typical shower - as well as three times the energy. By taking a shower instead of a bath, you could save some considerable energy at home.
Whilst the tips covered above will help you to save energy at home on a day to day basis, it is important to remember that at the heart of everything is your boiler - which is not unlike the engine of your car and should be serviced at least once a year by a professional. Ensuring you do this regular boiler service will keep your boiler in the best possible condition and keep it running as reliably and efficiently as possible.
As well as making sure that your boiler is not using more energy than it needs to, the service will also ensure that your boiler is safe to use.
A boiler should typically last up to 15 years under normal usage. However, it is worth considering how much technology has advanced over recent years. As a result, the latest boilers can now offer substantial energy savings and it may therefore be worth considering upgrading your boiler sooner than planned in order to save electricity and benefit from technological advantages.
An advanced, modern boiler such as those available from Viessmann will also be designed and manufactured ready for future energy sources such as solar or air source and ground source heat pumps which could help your home to become even more energy efficient.