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5 easy ways to make your home more eco-friendly

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Ever-increasing gas and energy prices are making it more and more expensive to power our homes.

We’re also becoming more aware of the Earth’s finite resources, which means that finding a way to live our lives in a way that gives more consideration to the environment is imperative.

This article covers our heating-related tips that will help you to make your home more eco-friendly.

  • Aluminium radiators
  • Thermostatic Radiator Valves
  • Combi boilers
  • Programmable thermostats
  • Chemical inhibitor

Aluminium radiators

Efficient Aluminium Radiators

There are several benefits to installing aluminium your home that will definitely contribute to a more environmentally vibe about your living space.

Great heat conductor

Firstly, aluminium is a very good conductor of heat. In terms of radiator materials, this gives it an advantage over other metals because it can get up to the desired temperature very quickly.

So, rather than wasting a lot of energy on getting the heat in your room up to the level you want it, radiators made of aluminium will heat up fast. This uses less water, gas and electricity and will result in your having lower energy bills over the following weeks, months and years.

Lightweight metal

Secondly, aluminium is a very light metal and is able to be reshaped very easily without losing its strength.

Not only does this mean that you get some more extravagant radiator designs than other metals, it also means aluminium radiators are easier to transport.

This results in lower transportation costs and those savings are usually passed onto the consumer making aluminium radiators excellent value for money.


Thermostatic Radiator Valves

Thermostatic Radiator Valve

Thermostatic Radiator Valves (or ‘TRVs’) are a simple and low-cost way of making your central heating system more eco-friendly.

Attached to your radiators, TRVs allow you to control the flow of water into the radiator according to  the temperature in the room.

There are several misconceptions about how thermostatic radiator valves work and it’s important you understand so that you get the full benefit of them if you decide to install them in your home.

How TRVs work

Let us assume you have already installed thermostatic radiator valves on a radiator in one of your rooms.

You walk into the room and it feels cold. You put your hand on the radiator and it feels hot. The number on the TRV is set at number 3 out of 10.

So what do you do to ensure the room gets hot?

If you think that you should turn up the TRV to 10, you are incorrect and will not get the benefit of having TRVs installed.

If you think you should leave the setting exactly as it is then you are correct.

The reason is because the TRV is responding to the temperature in the room. It senses that the room is cold and has turned on the radiator to in order to warm the room up. Once the room reaches the desired temperature the TRV will cause the radiator to cut out so as not to waste energy.

If you had turned the TRV up to 10, the radiator would never cut out even when the desired temperature had been reached. It would continue to pump out heat and thus defeating the energy saving reasons for installing a thermostatic radiator valve.


Combi boilers

A combi boiler

Most new build homes and new boiler installations include the fitting of a combi boiler.

However, there are still a very large proportion of homes in the UK that rely on the old separate boiler and water tank system.

If your central heating system is particularly old and in need of replacement, you could consider switching to a combi boiler as a more eco-friendly option for your home.

A boiler providing 2 functions

If you have an old heating system, then it’s likely that you have a boiler for providing the hot water to your heating system and an additional water tank that provides the hot water to your taps and shower.

A combi boiler provides a combination of each of these tasks, having the ability to provide the water to radiators and to your taps and shower.

This means you don’t have a large water tank taking up extra space, either in the loft or in a cupboard.

More importantly, a combi boiler is able to provide hot water when it is needed to your taps and shower.

There is no need to wait for the water in the water tank to get hot before you can have a bath of a shower.

The hot water will be there on-demand, in real time, no matter how many people are using the water.

A combi boiler is a much more efficient way of providing hot water in your home, regardless of if it’s for heating or washing, and can be a great way of using less energy and lowering your heating bills in the long run.


Programmable thermostats

Smart thermostat

Having a programmable thermostat on your central heating system gives you a lot more control over your heating system than with one that simply allows you to turn it on and off.

A timer allows you to decide when your heating should come on and off, for example, for a couple of hours in the morning as you’re getting up and for a few hours in the evening as you’re returning home from work.

Smart thermostats, which are connected to the internet, allow you to access your heating from wherever you are. This gives you an even greater degree of control because to can set your heating to exactly what you want without even being at home.

Turn your thermostat down 1 degree

One of the easiest ways to use less energy, make your home more eco-friendly and save money on your heating bills is to turn your thermostat on your central heating system down by 1 degree.

A report by Energy.gov in the USA, found that for every degree that you turn down your thermostat, the average household could expect their heating bills to be 3% lower.

Of course everyone’s homes and lifestyles are different but it highlights how making a small change can have large impact on how eco-friendly your heating system is over the long term.


Chemical Inhibitor

Chemical inhibitor being poured

Something that is often overlooked when trying to run an efficient and eco-friendly heating system is the importance of chemical inhibitor.

When water flows through the boiler, pipes and radiators inside your heating system, it reacts with the metal inside all of these components.

Internal rust & corrosion

Over time, this chemical reaction causes internal corrosion (or rusting) which can lead to very small bits of metal flaking off into your system.

These tiny pieces of metal will then settle somewhere in your heating system, either blocking up pipework or at the bottom of radiators.

This will cause your boiler and pump to work extra hard to ensure that enough hot water is flowing around your heating system to keep your home warm.

Not only does this use more energy, it can also lead to an expensive breakdown of your boiler, due to the fact that it’s been overworked.

Similar to blocked arteries

You can make the comparison with your body.

If you eat a diet that is high in saturated fat, this will slowly cause your arteries to become blocked, making your heart work harder to pump blood around your body.

The harder your heart has to work, the more likely you are going to have heart problems at some point in the future.

Prevention

The good news is that you can seriously slow down or even prevent the internal corrosion from occurring by adding a chemical inhibitor to the water that flows around your system.

Mixing engine coolant/antifreeze into the water that goes into your car not only prevents the water in your car from freezing or overheating, it also stops the water from causing rust and corrosion to the inside of your engine.

Chemical inhibitor does the same thing to the inside of your heating system.

If you don’t know when chemical inhibitor was added to your central heating system, then it’s likely the levels need topping up. You can get a plumber to do this or you can even perform this simple task yourself.

Adding chemical inhibitor to your heating system will ensure that the system runs smoothly, uses less energy and reduces the risk fr a serious heating breakdown.


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