How to use central heating thermostat guide

Posted in: Energy and Heating

How to use central heating thermostat guide

A central heating room thermostatA central heating room thermostat

Knowing how to control the temperature in your home by using your central heating thermostat correctly will ensure that you're warming up your rooms in the most comfortable and energy efficient way possible. Taking the time to fully understand your thermostat is not particularly complicated but this extra bit of effort could save you a lot of money on your heating bills over the course of a year. In this article we'll look at the purpose of a thermostat and how best to use it correctly.

What are central heating thermostats and how do you use them?

It's important to note that an average home will have a boiler thermostat, a room thermostat and, quite likely, thermostatic radiator valves. Each work in harmony with one another and provide you with a high amount of control over your heating, and ultimately your heating bills.

Boiler thermostats

A boiler is there to provide hot water to your radiators and to your taps (and shower), so a boiler thermostat allows you to control the temperature of this hot water. In actuality, a boiler thermostat contains two thermostats so that you can set the temperature of your radiator water and tap water independently. Your boiler will also contain a timer so you can set it to come on or off at a time of your choosing.

The recommended best temperature to set your radiator water on your boiler thermostat is around 75°C. This will ensure your radiators will get hot enough to heat your home comfortably.

The recommended best temperature to set your tap and shower water on your boiler thermostat is to between 60 - 65°C. This will ensure that any bacteria in the water is killed but it is not too high a temperature to scald your skin.

Room thermostats

A room thermostat detects the general air temperature in your home and will try to keep your home at the temperature that you have set. If the temperature reaches your desired temperature, the room thermostat will communicate with the boiler and tell it to switch off. When the temperature drops below your desired temperature, it will tell the boiler to come back on again. The room thermostat sits below your boiler thermostat in the central heating hierarchy, so it will only switch your boiler on and off in accordance with your settings on your boiler timer.

The best place to install a room thermostat is on the wall in a room away from your boiler, such as in the living room or in a hallway. It should not be hidden behind a curtain or installed in a sun trap, both of which could make it difficult for the thermometer within the thermostat to take an accurate reading of the temperature. Installing the room thermostat away from the boiler will allow it to detect the true temperature of the home and communicate with the boiler accordingly.

The Energy Savings Trust recommends that room thermostats should be set to between 18°C - 21°C. The most comfortable lowest temperature you feel you can get away with will be better for the environment and your heating bills.

Thermostatic radiator valves

Even further down the chain are thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) which help to control the temperature in individual rooms. TRVs detect the air temperature in the room and will work in accordance with the settings on the valve, normally numbered 1 - 5. Each number on the valve dial corresponds to a particular temperature and operates a bit like your room thermostat. If the temperature in your room reaches the desired temperature, the valve will stop hot water entering the radiator. If the temperature drops below your desired temperature, the valve will open and allow more hot water into he radiator.

Many people wrongly assume that the numbers on the valve relate to how hot the radiator is rather than detecting how hot the air temperature is. Turning the thermostatic radiator valve up to 5 will mean that the valevs will always be trying to make the room over 30°C and will constantly be pumping hot water into the radiators to try and achieve this temperature. All this will do is result in very high gas bills.

Instead, it's recommended to set your TRVs to between 2 and 3. This will allow your radiators to keep your room at a comfortable temperature without using an unnecessary amount of gas and hot water

Smart thermostats

In addition to the traditional thermostats mentioned above, you can now get smart thermostats which are connected to the internet and allow you to control your heating via an app on your phone or tablet. If you don't have a set routine and are in and out of your house at all times of day, smart heating can be a great way of ensuring your heating comes on and off exactly when you need it, without the fear of heating an empty home.

A smart heating system can be as simple as replacing your room thermostat with a smart thermostat or it can be in-depth, enabling you to have smart radiator valves and allowing you to control the temperature in individual rooms remotely.

Heating controls in conclusion

Hopefully the article above illustrates the function and importance of the heating thermostats in your home and shows how much control you can have over your heating if you optimise them correctly. Though you'll probably have boiler and room thermostats, if you don't have thermostatic radiator valves, they are one of the easiest ways to gain morecontrol over your heating and keep costs down.

Keeping your home toasty and warm yet energy-efficient just got a whole lot easier thanks to the huge array of thermostatic radiator valves available from Trade Radiators.   Many people are making the switch from traditional manual valves to something which can afford the user a bit more versatility and control when heating any space. Take a look at the current range of thermostatic valves currently in stock at Trade Radiators, with some fantastic products from brands such as West and Trade Direct.

17 December 2021