The amount of energy you put into your house, in the form of domestic heating, is the same amount of energy you are losing through the walls windows and roof. If your house was perfectly insulated, just a single lightbulb would heat your house hotter and hotter… but there is no such thing as perfect insulation. So, we need to heat the house according to the losses, and as we make the house warmer, the energy losses build up. If we left the heating on all day and all night, the cost would be phenomenal, and most of the time, simply wasted. So, we need a system to control the heating so its on when we need it, and off when we don’t.
Heating controls can vary all the way from the simple timer (switching the heating on shortly before you get up, and off when you are at work, turning the water heating on for your morning shower) to complex computer and remote controlled systems that can respond to changes in your work pattern and changes in the weather.
Controls can be used to reduce the overall size of your heating system, with possible efficiency savings if you can set your system so that it heats the hot water when you don’t need your radiators on, for example.
Timers can switch on, and more importantly, switch off heating when you don’t need it, and manual overrides can then be used to warm things up when you are at home unexpectedly.
Most people are familiar with the concept of the thermostat that switches off the heating when a certain temperature is reached, but fitting thermostats to individual radiators can offer more precise control, allowing you to keep bedrooms slightly cooler than living rooms, and to turn down kitchen radiators when the oven is heating the room anyway.
Modern technology has opened up many more possibilities, allowing you to switch on your heating via the internet as you leave work, so its warm when you get home, or switching the heating back on from your ski resort as the weather forecast suggests its getting very cold back home, or even letting the weather forecast itself decide on when to start heating your home.
Precise control, so that you only heat the rooms you need to when you need to and to the correct temperature, will save huge amounts of energy in your home.
Turning down your thermostat by one degree can save 300kg of CO2 per year, and each extra degree of heat adds 8% to your bill. We generally heat our home hotter in the winter than the average warm summers day…