Introduction: The energy crisis
The energy crisis began last year but is set to continue well into this year. Recent government budget annoncouncements continute to offer some support to thos most in need, but do little to attenuate inflated costs. We have collated some information relating to domestic boilers, which may help homeowners to reduce consumption and save money. The energy crisis is having a ripple effect throughout the economy; read our guidance and take these steps to reduce your gas consumption.
Before we begin it is important to state that only gas safe registered engineers can work on gas appliances. If you’re unsure about the information below, please consult a central heating engineer for more information and advice.
The purpose of this guidance is to help homeowners reduce gas consumption by maintaining the central heating system. To begin with, homeowners should have their central heating and hot water appliances serviced regularly by a qualified central heating engineer. This usually takes less than an hour and costs approximately £50 (charges do vary). Servicing a boiler annually will help to maintain its efficiency and ensure that it is operating safely. Regular servicing will also be a condition of the manufacturer’s warranty.
Bleeding the system
Hot water central heating systems heat water and an electronic pump distributes the hot water to radiators which in turn, release heat to each room by way of convection. In order for this process to work efficiently, there should be no air trapped within the system. However, over time air enters the central heating system. Bleeding radiators is one of the easiest and most effective ways to improve the transfer of heat from radiators to internal spaces. Please follow this link to learn more about bleeding radiators.
Balancing is the process by which heat is delivered consistently to different rooms in the home. We’ve found this excellent guide which explains, in simple terms how to balance a central heating system. Consider switching radiators off in rooms that are not used frequently. Please remember to leave at least one radiator in the system completely open i.e. the highest value on the TRV (Thermostatic Radiator Valve). If using a mobile thermostat, remember to fully open the TRVs in the room where the thermostat is located.
Due to the nature of hot water central heating systems, corrosion can restrict flow and reduce efficiency. We would recommend homeowners ask their central heating engineer to undertake a full drain down of the central heating system once a year. Central heating filters help to reduce the build-up of sludge and usually cost between £150-£200 to install.
Homeowners should consult the operating instructions of their gas appliance. Most new boilers are called ‘condensing’ boilers which means they recycle heat from exhaust gases produced by the boiler. This can increase their efficiency above 90%. However, if the temperature of the water, as it returns to the boiler from the radiators is too high, the boiler will not achieve its maximum efficiency. For a more detailed explanation please follow this link.
Conclusion: Energy crisis
Finally, turn the thermostat down but avoid going below 18 degrees, as this can cause the body to work harder to maintain its core temperatue. Service your central heating equipment (boiler, hot water cylinder etc.), ensure there are no leaks and the central heating system retains pressure, remove air from the system, balance the central heating system, flush and drain the central heating system periodically (typically once a year), install a central heating filter, consult your boiler manual and ensure the flow temperature is set correctly to achieve maximum efficiency. These measures will lead to reduction in gas consumption if done correctly and safely.
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