In the UK, central heating is used almost daily from October to March. It is during this period when the outside temperature falls, the clocks go back, and winter fuel payments are given to elderly people on a state pension. To help you keep warm during the coldest months of the year, we’ve gathered our top winter heating tips for you below.
1. Get your boiler serviced
In the lead up to winter, whether you have a regular, system or combi boiler, an important first step of preparation is making sure it is all in working order by booking an annual service. A boiler service consists of a qualified engineer inspecting and cleaning all the parts and components in your boiler – furthermore, getting an annual service is required to maintain your boiler’s warranty.
2. Give your boiler a test run
Giving your boiler a test run before the colder days begin is simple and easy, just run your boiler for 3-4 hours and keep an eye on its performance with your smart controller or by the built-in digital display. This will allow you to notice and get any performance issues rectified before you’re left without heating when you need it most.
3. Bleed your radiators
If you find your radiator is colder at the top, it can be a sign of trapped air in your home’s heating system. Trapped air reduces your radiator’s heat output – to ensure your heating is performing, simply turn the radiator key anti-clockwise until you hear air escaping, then tighten the valve again by turning the key clockwise when you see the water begin to leak. Bleeding your radiator will help you get the most out of your heating system by allowing it to run more efficiently.
4. Use pipe lagging to insulate your pipes
Poorly insulated pipes can be detrimental to your boiler’s overall effectiveness. If the external condensate pipe freezes it can cause your heating system to completely fail.
For example, if you have a condensing boiler (a boiler that captures hot gases and uses them to generate more heat), the wastewater vapour from the condensing process goes out of your home very slowly – typically 2 litres per hour. This slow trickle of water makes them prone to freezing on days with temperatures below zero.
Before the really cold weather begins, make sure you pick up some pipe lagging from your local DIY shop and ensure your pipes are properly insulated.
5. Check for gas and carbon monoxide leaks
All too often, gas leaks are only noticed by homeowners when they smell gas, which is already a dangerous level of exposure. Getting your boiler checked by an engineer who is Gas Safe registered will help avoid any dangerous gas leaks and hindrances to your boiler’s performance.
Homeowners should also make sure they have a high-quality carbon monoxide alarm installed to detect any deadly leaks.
6. Heat the whole room
It might sound simple, but a lot of the heat from radiators is wasted by being directed towards the walls. If possible, try not to block your radiator with furniture, as the convection of cold air at the bottom and warm air from the top needs free flowing air movement to provide convection of heat from the radiator into the room.
7. Use TRV’s correctly
Thermostatic radiator valves ensure the right level of comfort is maintained across different zones in your house, but you don’t always need your thermostatic radiator valves on maximum. To make sure that you’re using yours correctly, make sure that the head of the TRV is clear of curtains and furniture so that the air can flow efficiently. Always use a professional, accredited heating engineer to fit them whilst the heating system is drained down and utilise a room thermometer to help with the setting. It should be noted that bathrooms and especially towel rails may not need a TRV.
8. Know your ideal temperature
While it’s tempting to have your thermostat high when it’s freezing cold, it’s better for your energy bills to know what your ideal temperature is. Setting your temperature between 18°C and 21°C is a good start. It’s also good to use your smart controller to set your thermostat to one temperature and use the timer to turn it on and off during the hours you need the heating most. Doing so will prevent you from wasting excess energy from leaving your heating on too high, for too long.
If you’re looking for a new boiler to get you through the winter, you can use our find a boiler tool to find your optimal heating solution. For help with installation, find your local Navien installer today or get in touch for more information.
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