A thermostat for central heating and air conditioning

A common point of debate in many households up and down the UK is what the temperature should be in the home. Some people like to feel toasty and warm, while others feel stuffy and like throwing open the windows to get some fresh air, even during the coldest months. Throw in the fact that cranking up the heating (or even air conditioning in summer) can lead to higher energy bills, it's no surprise that the quest for the perfect home temperature is so contentious. In this article, we'll look at the factors that can help you come to the conclusion about the temperature in your house.

The recommended temperature

Public Health England recommends that the ultimate temperature for homes in the Uk should be "...at least 18°C for everyone, but with scope for flexibility to individual circumstances."

Cold temperatures cause the blood to thicken and can increase blood pressure, so it is particularly important for older people or those with reduced mobility to ensure their homes are at least 18°C cold help protect against any cold weather-related illnesses or conditions. As people get older, the body becomes less competent at regulating body temperature, so having a minimum temperature threshold should be of great help to their well-being.

Younger people, or those who are fit and healthy, are able to experiment a little more with slightly hotter or colder temperatures, but Public Health England state that 18°C is a good broad temperature that will enable us to live and sleep comfortably in our homes.

Well-insulated homes

An important factor that can really help with keeping your home at a regular and consistent temperature is ensuring it is well heated. A home that allows too much heat to escape is going is end up costing the householder in heating bills because the heating system will be working much harder to compensate for the loss of heat.

Some thinsg that can be done to ensure insulation keeps heat in and costs down are:

  • Loft insulation - Lots of heat is lost through the roof of homes, so installing loft insulation at least 270mm thick is a great way of preventing heat loss.
  • Cavity wall insulation - Putting insulation in cavities in the wall will stop heat escaping and will help rooms to maintain a consistent temperature. During summer, cavity wall insulation can also help to keep rooms cool.
  • Pipe insulation - Wrapping insulation around hot water pipes and water cylinders can help keep water hotter for longer.
  • Check your doors and windows for any draughts and upgrade if necessary.
  • Check big items of furniture are not blocking radiators and stopping heat circulating around the room.
  • Add thermostatic radiator valves to your radiators to ensure they come on when the room drops below a certain temperature.

Annual boiler maintenance

An often overlooked factor when it comes to efficient home heating is having central heating systems checked over on an annual basis. Much like servicing a car, boilers and heating systems are well-used pieces of equipment and their components can wear out. Getting a boiler serviced once per year can help to ensure that the system is running smoothly and efficiently, while also helping to reduce the possibility of a costly breakdown.

A registered Gas Safe Engineer can come round on a yearly basis and check your heating system - including the boiler, heat pump and chemical inhibitor levels - which will enable your central heating system to be heating your home comfortably and cost-effectively.

Modern radiators

If your radiators are more than 15 years old, then replacing them should be a serious consideration as they could help keep a comfortably temperature in a cost effective manner.

Over time, radiators can become rusty internally with a brown sludge forming at the bottom. A common symptom of radiator sludge is a rad that is hot at the top but cold at the bottom. Sometimes radiators can be power-flushed in order to remove the debris, but many old radiators made be too damaged to rescue and could be costing more than necessary to heat up.

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