Using your heating efficiently
To make sure you are getting the most from your existing or new central heating system check out the following 5 controls on your gas/oil central heating system:
- The boiler thermostat (found on the front of the boiler) should be set at maximum in the winter and a lower setting in the summer when the heating is off. The boiler thermostat controls the temperature of water running around the radiators. Setting this to maximum will mean the boiler is working at maximum efficiency (if you don't have a cylinder thermostat set the boiler thermostat to a medium setting)
- Your room thermostat should be set to 18 to 21°C (22°C for older people and families with young children). Note - turning up the room thermostat will not heat the room up faster it will make the room hotter
- If you have thermostatic radiator valves (found on the radiator) use them to allow you to have different temperatures in each room. If you don't have any invest in some!
- The hot water cylinder tank thermostat should be set to 60°C/140°F (if you have a combi boiler you don't need one as you won't have a hot water tank)
- Use your programmer so that it is set to suit your lifestyle rather then it ruling your life! If you are not sure how to operate the programmer ring up your local energy advice centre on freephone 0800 512012 and they should be able to help you
Storage heaters work most effectively in well-insulated homes so make sure you have minimised the heat loss in your home through insulation and draught proofing!
If you have old storage heaters it may be worth replacing them with newer models. These are better insulated allowing more heat to remain in the storage heater during the day, which can then be released in the evening.
All models work on the same principle. They are designed to 'charge up' with heat during the night (using the cheaper rate of electricity) and release that heat during the following day.
What about the controls?
The two main controls on the storage heater are the input/charge control and the output/room temperature control. The input knob controls how much the storage heater charges up. The output control determines the rate at which the heat is let out during the day. In the winter it is best to set the input control on a high setting.
If you are out during the day
Set the output control to low during the day. In the evening turn the control to a higher setting, to release heat from the heater into the room. Remember to turn the control back to low at bedtime.
If you are in during the day
Set the output control to about 3-4 during the day. Leave the heater at this level until the evening when you can turn it up. Return the control back to low at bedtime.
What about heating my water?
It is best to heat your water using the cheap rate electricity during the night. Make sure your tank is properly lagged, it is large enough for your needs and the tank thermostat is set at 60°C/140°F. If you haven't not a thermostat get one! It is cheaper to heat up a big tank of water once using the cheap rate electricity then heating up a smaller tank throughout the day using the expensive rate.
Economy 7 Tariff
This provides cheaper off peak electricity. You need to be on this tariff if you use storage heaters. Off peak hours vary between suppliers and areas. Check with your supplier for details of their Economy 7 Tariffs.
- Environment Agency
- Friends of the Earth
- Global Action Plan
- Shell Better Britain
- Women's Environment Network
- Carbon Calculator - measure your C02 emissions
- Alupro - website of the UK Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation, including educational resources
- RECOUP - plastic recycling
- Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP) - lists recycled products and materials; working towards creating efficient markets for recycled materials and products
- ENCAMS - information about local environmental campaigns eg national spring clean
- DEFRA - UK government department for environment, food and rural affairs
- Report an empty home
- Report a rogue Landlord
- HMO enquiries
- Report housing disrepair
- I need landlord advice
- Report nuisance from another property
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