Heating controls – Money saving tips

May 5, 2020 Winter

The heating regulation systems allows for significant savings. This can be done with thermostatic valves, programmable thermostats and home automation systems.

The heating needs in a house are not constant throughout the year nor even during a single day. The outdoor temperature varies, rising gradually from dawn until early afternoon and then dropping in the evening. Also, some days are colder than others and not all areas and rooms require the same amount of heat. There are even spaces, such as kitchens, which have their own heat sources and require less heating.

For comfort, it is important to have a heating regulation system that adapts the temperatures to our needs in houses, hospitality establishments, offices or shops.

Legislation requires that individual units have a thermostat and that shared central boiler units have a regulation system for controlling the water temperature, depending on the outdoor temperature.

Thermostatic valves

For boiler systems and hot water radiators, a simple procedure to maintain the desired temperature in each of the rooms consists of installing thermostatic valves on the radiators themselves. These valves have several adjustment levels, depending on the desired temperature, for opening or closing the passage of hot water to the radiator, as appropriate. This equipment, in addition, takes advantage of the natural heat emitted by kitchens and bathrooms or, simply, of the heat transmitted through glass surfaces. The best time to replace the current valves with thermostatic valves is when the old ones work badly or start to leak.

Programmable regulator

For situations when a house is empty for a large number of hours, it is advisable to use a programmable thermostat, which can set temperatures for different time periods and even for weekends or special days. No installation is necessary for the installation of a programmable regulator, so the purchase price is easily paid off by the savings obtained. A simple procedure, available to all, is to lower the temperature of the thermostat by 4 or 5ºC when we leave the house for a prolonged period and to raise it again when we come back.

Centralized control and regulation systems

Also, there exists centralized control and regulation systems in the marketplace, home automation systems or domotics. These allow to differentiate zones, to register and to send a warning signal in case of a breakdown. They also integrate safety functions for comfort and managing equipment, or against theft, even remotely.

The temperature at which the heating is programmed determines the energy consumption of the heating system. For each degree that the temperature is increased, the consumption is increased by approximately 7%.

Under normal conditions, an easy way to save energy is to turn on the heating system in the morning and to turn it off at night, except in cold areas. Since the heat accumulated in the house is usually sufficient (especially if shutters and curtains are closed) to keep the temperature comfortable at night in the bedrooms, that is between 15 and 17ºC. Although the feeling of comfort is subjective, it is possible to assume that a temperature of 19 to 21ºC is sufficient.

Tips for savings and comfort

- Maintain the temperature of the house at 20ºC, that of the bedrooms can be 3º to 5ºC less.

- The heating must be turned on after ventilating the house and closing the windows. Turn off the heating at night.

- Thermostatic valves for radiators and programmable thermostats are affordable solutions, easy to install and rapid to pay off due to the energy savings (between 8 and 13%).

- Reduce the position of the thermostat to 15ºC when away from the home for a few hours. (The position "economy" of some models corresponds to this temperature).

- Proper maintenance of an individual boiler can save 15% in energy consumption.

- The air contained inside the radiators makes it difficult to transfer heat from hot water to the outdoors. It is advisable to purge this air at least once a year, at the beginning of the heating season. (As soon as the air stops flowing and water begins to flow out, the purge is complete).

- Do not cover, plug or place any object next to the radiators, hindering the proper diffusion of the hot air.

- The time needed to ventilate a room by opening windows is 10 minutes,

- Close shutters and curtains at night to avoid heat loss.