The objective here is to learn how to make your home comfortable with the minimum amount of heat, by using the heating systems and the controls that you have, e.g., programmers, timers, thermostats, and radiator valves. Experiment with the following tips and mix and match to see what works for you.
|Obtaining the ideal room temperature||Heating efficiency|
- Switch the heating system on later in the morning and off earlier in the evening. The best way to find the right balance for your house is to experiment a little, first of all try turning on the central heating 30 minutes before you get up and off 1 hour earlier in the evening.
- Turn the heating in living areas down to 20°C – this could save you 10% off your heating bill. The temperature in hallways and bedrooms should be cooler – ideally 15-18°C. Use temperature cards (available from SEAI) in a number of rooms, to prevent overheating and familiarise yourself with what different temperatures feel like.
- If you have a thermostat on your central-heating boiler, experiment to get the lowest setting (some systems may require a plumber). You can reduce it in mild weather, but don't go below 60°C. Typically, the optimum setting is between 70°C and 80°C (i.e. adjust the dial between 'min' max' on gas boilers) — but it really pays to experiment. Make a note of the settings you try, and the results you obtain to control the heat output in response to the weather and indoor temperatures.
- Use Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs) to adjust heat output from radiators when in rooms in response to your heating needs.
- Turn off your heating at night when you're in bed and likewsie when you're not there, or if you're going to be away for a few days.
- Open the curtains and blinds in rooms facing south during the day to let in the heat of the sun.
- Use conservatories during sunny winter days to heat the house by opening the doors from them into the house while it's sunny, but by closing them when it's overcast and dark outside.
- Effective use of windows to provide sufficient ventilation without overcooling rooms. Don't leave external doors and windows open unnecessarily.
- Use internal doors to maintain heating zones and distribution of heat throughout the main spaces. Close doors to separate heated from unheated areas of your home, and minimise the heated area.
- Turn off radiators in rooms which are not used very often.
|Actual Energy Savings|
|Below are examples of the energy savings made during the Power of One Street campaign which worked with a number of families around the country as they reduced their energy consumption, and who were able to make significant savings by applying the energy tips and by changing their behaviour.|
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The Meehan Family
A family of six, living in a detached, cavity wall house, built in 2004.
Step 1: Space Heating
- Energy Reduction = 31%
- CO2 Reduction = 2.2 tonnes
- Cash Saving = €680 per year
The Horler Family
A family of five, living in a detached, cavity wall house, built in 2004.
Step 1: Space Heating
- Energy Reduction = 32%
- CO2 Reduction = 1.7 tonnes
- Cash Saving = €450 per year
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|Some low-cost options to save energy|
Timer or programmer
Most houses have far too few controls on their space-heating systems. For only a small outlay, you can rectify this easily. Ideally, the space heating and domestic hot-water circuits should be separate. A time clock or programmer will allow the householder to ensure that the boiler will operate to provide heat only when required for various heating periods during different days of the week and also (with suitable motorised valves) allowing separate control of the water heating. This will guarantee that the domestic hot water can be provided in the summer using the boiler even though central heating is not required.
By installing a thermostat in an area of the house that is indicative of the general heat conditions required, this will turn the burner off when the temperature in the area rises or falls below the value at which you have set the dial. 18-20°C will be sufficient in most cases.
Thermostatic Radiator Valve (TRV)
TRVs may be installed instead of the hand-wheel valve. The TRV has a number of settings, which the householder may use to set the desired air temperature for each room. In locations where a high level of heating is required, e.g., living area, the TRV will be set at the top setting. If only background heating is desired, e.g., hallways, then the valve can be fixed at its lowest setting.
Regular maintenance of your heating system can reduce fuel consumption e.g. maintain the boiler casing and burner, and check for corrosion and airlocks in the radiators.
When buying portable heaters, make sure that they are the right size for the rooms they are to heat, and that they have thermostatic controls. Use a space or portable heater instead of the central heater if only one room needs heating.
Grants may be available if you are upgrading your boiler or heating controls.
For more information visit the SEAI Grants Section.