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Central Heating Thermostats

Central heating is the most common type of heating system in the UK because it is one of the most energy efficient ways to heat a home.

The current trend of responsible energy consumption to reduce carbon emissions is aligned with the desire of many people to lower their energy bills in the face of rising fuel prices.

If you have a central heating system already, or you are having one installed, it pays to think about how you use the system; how you set it up, and how you can save money through the intelligent control of the system.

Simply turning down the room thermostat by one degree could save up to 10% on your heating bill; while measures such as timing the heating to go off when you are out, and using thermostatic radiator valves in each room to control the temperature will further improve the cost-efficiency of your system.

The temperature of the water circulating through the radiators in your home is controlled by the thermostat in your boiler.Lady adjusting the

Lady adjusting the heating thermostat in a room.


The boiler thermostat

The thermostat on the boiler controls the temperature of the water that is circulated through the network of pipes and radiators around your house.

Central heating systems usually operate at 60 – 80oC, and the thermostat should have been set correctly by the installer when the boiler was fitted.

If the water circulating in the system is too hot, there will be more heat than necessary for the radiators to heat the rooms adequately, resulting in heat loss throughout the system and inefficiency.

If the water is not hot enough to supply ample heat to the radiators, the property will take longer to heat up and the boiler will be on for much longer than necessary; again resulting in inefficient operation.


The room thermostat

The central heating thermostat, or room thermostat, controls the temperature in the house and calls for heat from the boiler as necessary.

These are usually situated in a hallway or a living room, although sophisticated systems may incorporate more than one thermostat in different room or zones of the house; it is also possible to buy wireless thermostats for central heating systems, which offer greater flexibility.
Thermostats with a simple dial for temperature control are available for as little as £15, and use a gas-sensing element to measure the temperature.
Digital room thermostats will cost in the region of £50 – £75, and use an electronic sensing element to determine the temperature.

These are likely to be more accurate, which will improve the efficiency of the system, and many come with programmable features which enable you to set on and off times throughout the day, with alternate settings for weekdays and weekend days.


Wireless thermostats for central heating

Wireless room thermostats can cost anything from £70 to well over £100, and include the same features as most digital thermostats, using an electronic sensing element to read the temperature.

Some will only control the temperature and do not replace the programmer, but most are fully programmable offering multiple on and off times for each day, and different settings for weekdays and weekends.

The advantage of a wireless thermostat is that you can choose where to place it to best control the heat in your home, and you can change the location of the stat as required.

This may help to improve boiler efficiency by taking a more accurate reading of room temperature when compared to a stat fitted to the wall in the hallway, although you need to consider whether the extra initial cost is necessary.


The hot water cylinder thermostat

If your central heating system incorporates a hot water cylinder, it should be fitted with a thermostat to control the temperature of the hot water. With most modern central heating systems it is possible to heat the water independently of the radiator circuit, and the thermostat will call for heat form the boiler as required.

It is recommended that the hot water thermostat is set to 60oC to prevent bacteria growth, although if you have young children or old people living in the house, it may be necessary to fit thermostatic blending valves at the tap outlets.

These valves are usually fitted directly beneath each tap and blend cold mains water with the hot water from the cylinder to achieve a preset, safe temperature.

Set different temperatures with radiator thermostats to suit requirements of your rooms.

Planning the location of thermostatic radiator valves for various rooms in a house.


Thermostatic radiator valves

Thermostatic radiator valves enable you to set differing temperatures at different radiators to suit your house and your lifestyle. Each radiator can be fitted with a valve, except one which is left as a bypass in case all the valves close while the boiler and pump are still operating.

When the desired room temperature is reached, the thermostatic valve closes and isolates the radiator from the circuit. This means you can set lower temperatures in rooms which are used less often or do not require as much heat, while maintaining higher temperatures in other areas of the house.



The cost of energy will continue to rise over the coming years, and most people are looking at ways to improve the efficiency of their homes and reduce their consumption. Along with good insulation, an efficient central heating system is a very effective way of lowering the bills.

In addition to making home improvements, many of us are also beginning to look at our lifestyles and how we can save energy through better use of our central heating systems.

There are a variety of controls with central heating, and the thermostats are an integral part of any system. The room thermostat should generally be set between 16oC and 21oC, although you may need to maintain a certain temperature for babies or elderly people.

If you have no specific temperature requirements, simply lowering the setting on the thermostat by one degree Celsius will save up to 10% on your heating bills.
There are an abundance of central heating thermostats available on the market today, and it is not always easy to know which to buy.

If you are upgrading your system, a good digital room thermostat will take a more accurate temperature reading leading to more efficiency, and one which incorporates programmable features, will make it easier to adjust settings more regularly to further aid efficient operation.

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