There’s nothing like a bit of snow and frost to get people falling into the trap of cranking up their thermostats in an effort to keep warm.
If you’ve done this yourself, don’t worry, you’re not alone. According to a survey by the Energy Saving Trust, 52% of people are guilty of doing this!
Lots of people mistakenly believe that by turning up their thermostat, their homes will get hotter quicker – but this is a central heating myth.
When it comes to heating our homes, there are a surprising number of myths out there.
So today, we’re looking at some of the most common misconceptions, to help you separate heating fact from fiction.
Central heating myth 1 – Turning up your thermostat heats a room quicker
We understand that when it’s freezing outside, it’s tempting to turn up your thermostat.
But this won’t heat your home any quicker, it just wastes energy and money.
This is because thermostats don’t have any control over the speed at which your house heats up. Thermostats just set the maximum temperature that you want your room to be.
So, if you’ve let your home get freezing cold, there’s no point cranking your thermostat up to 28 degrees. Your home will still heat up at the same speed that it would if it was set to 21 degrees.
The result is that you’ll get uncomfortably hot, and have wasted a significant amount of energy by overheating your home.
Government research has shown that turning down your thermostat by just 1 degree can save up to 10% on your heating bills.
So, if you want to be comfortable and save money, resist the temptation to turn your thermostat higher than your comfort level.
Put on an extra jumper on until your room gets to your desired temperature!
Central heating myth 2 – A bigger boiler is better because it will give you more heat
Another common heating myth is that when choosing a boiler, bigger is always better.
And it’s easy to understand why people fall into this trap. Nobody wants to run out of hot water, and it seems reasonable to expect that a bigger boiler will have a more plentiful supply than a smaller one.
But this simply isn’t true, and it’s an expensive and highly inefficient way of choosing a boiler.
A good way to think about this, is to think about the performance of cars.
If you want a reliable car to pop to the shops every day, there’s little point in buying a Ferrari with a five litre engine, that can reach speeds of 200mph.
You’re never going to hit that speed, and it’s going to cost you more to buy initially, and more to run in fuel. The same is true of boilers!
Heat loss calculations determine the size of boiler you need
Instead of choosing a boiler based on a maximum capacity (that it will rarely run at anyway) you need to get a boiler that’s correctly sized.
To do this, you need a heat loss calculation. This will determine the right output for your needs.
Your whole heating system needs to be taken into account. Even where a bigger boiler is pushing out more heat, if your radiators aren’t a good match for it, the amount of heat received will be the same as it would be with a smaller boiler.
Factors such as the boiler’s modulation ratio are more important than its maximum capacity.
Put simply, you won’t benefit from better or improved heat, simply because your boiler is bigger than usual.
Oversized boilers will cycle on and off, wasting energy (and money). Boiler cycling also puts unnecessary pressure on your boiler’s component parts.
To find the correct size boiler for your needs, contact The Heating People today, and one of our heating engineers will carry out a heat loss calculation for you.
Central heating myth 3 – Expensive boilers are always the best boilers
As consumers, we’re often led to believe that the more expensive something is, the better it is. But this isn’t necessarily the case.
In fact, choosing a boiler because of its price, rather than whether it is right for you, is a mistake.
At The Heating People, we’re not tied to any one manufacturer (although we have our favourites!) and we pride ourselves on finding the best boiler for your needs and budget.
We are able to find the most efficient boiler for your needs, which will save you money in the long run.
We also offer guarantees of up to 14 years, which will potentially save you money on any future repairs. It’s important to think about long term costs, as well as the initial cost.
Keeping up with your annual service by a Gas Safe engineer is one way to keep your boiler in great condition for a long time.
Central heating myth 4 – Combi boilers do not give you a very good shower or bath
There are lots of outdated myths about combination or ‘combi’ boilers, based on what used to be true around 15 years ago.
But like many things, combi boilers have come a long way since they were introduced to the UK in the seventies.
And there’s definitely a reason that they’re now the most popular type of boiler in the UK, making up over 80% of all sales.
This has further driven combi boilers to be more efficient and higher performing.
The main perceived disadvantage (or myth) about combi boilers is that they don’t give very good showers or baths. This is a hanjgover from the past, when they did struggle to meet hot water demands.
How do combi boilers work?
To understand why this used to be the case, it’s helpful to think about how combi boilers work, compared to heat-only or ‘regular’ boilers.
Combis are compact all-rounders that provide both the heating and hot water for your home.
Unlike heat-only boilers, combis don’t need a separate cold water storage tank or an external hot water cylinder. Everything it needs is inside the unit.
Combi boilers take their cold water supply directly from the mains. And they don’t store hot water, because they heat water instantaneously, on demand.
Since combis heat water on demand, the flow rate of the water has to be slowed down. This allows enough heat to be transferred, before it comes out of your taps.
Combis used to be slow in delivering hot water because they relied on a mechanical type of operation to heat water.
They also used to be adversely affected by cold weather and hard water. Neither of which is ideal for a boiler in the UK!
But thankfully, technology has moved on. Combi boilers have improved significantly in the last fifteen years.
Combi boilers and Boiler Plus
Thanks to the Boiler Plus Regulations, all new combi boilers must be at least 92% efficient.
Combi boilers must also have one of four additional energy saving measures installed.
But the performance of combi boilers is where dramatic improvements have been made.
Advancements in technology mean that combis now use an electrical operation process, rather than a mechanical one.
This means that the old problems with the delay in delivery of hot water is a thing of the past.
With no water tank to heat up, combi boilers can provide an unlimited supply of hot water on demand.
This is ideal in busy homes where showers may be used back to back each morning. It also means no more waiting for water to heat up for your bath. A combi is ready when you are!
Central heating myth 5: Combination boilers are not suitable for larger homes
Another common misconception about combi boilers is that they are not suitable for heating larger homes.
But this isn’t true, even the smallest combi boiler will comfortably heat the vast majority of larger homes.
This assumption about house size and combi boilers stems from the way in which they work.
As explained above, combis provide instant hot water to taps and showers by heating water directly from the mains.
This is different from heat-only and system boilers which store hot water in a cylinder.
Combis deliver strong water pressure to one tap (or shower) at a time. But if multiple outlets are being used at once, the pressure can weaken.
This means that combi boilers are best suited to homes with relatively small hot water demands at any one time.
But this doesn’t mean that a combi cannot heat a larger home.
The real drivers for determining the best type of boiler, is by establishing:
- the heat load of your property;
- how many bathrooms you have; and
- how you use your domestic hot water.
How do you use your hot water?
The number of bathrooms is a better indicator than the overall size of the house.
For instance, if you have a large house with just one bathroom, where the shower will be used consecutively each morning, then a combi may be fine.
But, if you have multiple bathrooms and everyone wants showers at the same time; then a combi won’t be suitable.
In this case a heat-only or system boiler might be your better option.
Some manufacturers also offer storage combi boilers. These boilers have a hot water cylinder within the unit itself. This allows them to meet a higher demand for heating and hot water than a standard combi.
For tailored advice on what type of boiler is right for you, contact one of our experts today.
Central heating myth 7 – Painting your radiators makes them more efficient
Some people make the mistake of thinking that painting radiators black will make them more effective at transmitting heat. But please don’t do this!
In reality, painting your radiators will have the opposite effect. Paint will stop heat being dispersed as easily, making them less effective.
You should also avoid placing any large furniture in front of your radiators. And don’t hang your washing on them either – invest in a clothes airer instead.
If you’ve noticed cold spots on your radiators, they may need need bleeding. Check out our step-by-step guide on how to do that, here. And if you really want to improve their efficiency, consider installing TRVs.
We’ve hoped that we’ve managed to dispel some common heating myths here!
For tailored advice on improving your heating system, contact us today.