As the winter months approach and heating systems across the country are thrust into action, cost-conscious consumers will be looking for the most efficient ways to heat their homes amid high energy prices. Ensuring that their customers are aware of, and have access to, up to date tips and advice for the most efficient methods of operating heating and hot water systems is arguably something installers are best placed to achieve.
Here are some of the most important considerations for installers to make when helping their customers.
First things first
For homeowners looking to make efficiency gains, installers should first check that a modulating boiler control has been installed. As per the latest Boiler Plus regulations, new boiler installations require this control to provide the most efficient performance improvements for systems.
Check room temperatures
A simple, yet effective efficiency marker are room thermostat controls. By reviewing the control systems and lowering the set temperature, almost immediate efficiency gains can be made.
For homes with the latest self-adjusting room thermostat technology, this will not be necessary and it’s important to note that any adjustments to room temperature should be made alongside the consumer to ensure comfort levels are maintained.
Right on time
Setting a heating schedule is a smart way for consumers to monitor their home temperature. However, installers should advise customers that reviewing these schedules can maximise efficiency levels through reducing the amount of time that heating systems are in operation.
Discussing this option with consumers will help identify the time of day where heating is required and avoid unnecessarily warming an empty home.
Adjust boiler thermostats
Many consumers may be daunted when faced with thermostat controls on their boilers and require the expertise of an installer. Heating engineers should see it as their duty to explain the control systems and their benefits to homeowners, especially during a period of higher energy prices.
For those consumers with combi boilers, adjusting the flow temperature on thermostats will save energy and lower bills. It’s also important that installers check whether smart thermostats have been installed since they will remove the need for manual adjustments.
Although consumers can, of course, do this themselves, installers should make them aware that if the temperature is set too low, the home may feel too cold. When the temperature outside is too low, the thermostat should be adjusted to a warmer temperature and vice versa for warmer months.
The HHIC recommends that heating systems with a hot water cylinder should have their thermostats set to approximately 65ºC, which is a requirement by the Health and Safety Executive for stored hot water.
Regulation is key
Installers should ensure that Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs) are operating adequately and regulating temperatures in individual rooms. Fitted to each radiator system, the technology ensures a standard level of comfortable temperature is maintained and, in turn, reduces energy usage.
When speaking with consumers, installers should ask whether those rooms that are used less often can have TRVs turned down to a minimum, another energy saving technique.
Keep the cold out
Insulation is a well-known method of maximising energy efficiency in homes and can be achieved using a wide range of materials. Installers can inform homeowners of the different insulation options available, including A-rated double glazing, loft insulation, and cavity wall insulation, which all work to reduce the amount of heat required in each room. Lower energy bills will eventually provide payback for the initial insulation outlay.
The latest technology upgrades for heating systems can eliminate the need for some manual inspections and can bring automatic efficiency savings. Modern gas combi boilers modulate their output automatically when connected to suitable room thermostats, which, in turn, helps homeowners reduce their energy consumption.
Installers should make consumers aware that there are a variety of room thermostats available, including enhanced load compensation (ErP Class V) and weather compensation (ErP class II), while explaining the differences between these.
An annual event
Installers are used to encouraging consumers to keep up with annual boiler servicing to maintain warranties. However, it is also worth reminding consumers of the efficiency benefits a service can provide.
Discussing a full check of the heating system and what an annual service comprises can help provide a clearer understanding and put consumers at ease.
The HHIC consumer guide to gas boiler servicing is an excellent source of guidance that installers can signpost to homeowners.
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