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Could brits be missing energy saving control at their fingertips?

With an increasing amount of working from home on the cards, more of us will be abandoning our usual morning and evening heating routines.

Over 91% of Brits admit that they will now have flicked their heating on. As we head into the winter months, and with an increasing amount of working from home on the cards, more of us will be abandoning our usual morning and evening heating routines and reaching for the dial throughout the day instead to keep us toasty and comfortable.

There has been talk that this seemingly simple change in habits seeing heating bills soar over the winter period. So, is there anything that can be done to reduce this impact?

When most of us think of a heating system, the boiler and radiators tend to spring to mind. So, it might come as a surprise to find that the heating controls we have connected to these, play just as big a part in making sure we can keep our homes snug as efficiently as possible. But do we know our thermostats from our programmable timers? Could smart technology help? Do we have to wait until we change the boiler to update our controls?

Robert Whitney, senior sales development specialist from home heating control experts, Resideo, looks at three steps that could help you make savings this winter without leaving you out in the cold.

Turn your Thermostat Down by One Degree

Somewhere between 18 – 21°C is the ideal temperature for a room to feel comfortable. However, so many of us are tempted to crank the thermostat way above this, thinking the room will heat much quicker. Sadly, it is not often the case and ends up causing the boiler to fire at a higher rate for longer - using more fuel in the process.

One of the simplest tricks to saving energy is by turning your thermostat down by just 1°C. According to the Energy Saving Trust, this could see saving of around £60 per year on your bills; and you may not even notice the difference.

Upgrade Your Controls

Millions of homes around the UK either don’t have any controls with their boiler or have one that is not right for the property. This can mean that a boiler is just ‘on’, pumping out heat without cutting off when the home reaches a comfortable temperature, and even resulting in the homeowner opening the windows to let the extra heat out. None of which helps your pocket or the environment.

With the right control in place, it puts you back in command. And there are a range of options and price points available to suit your home, lifestyle, and budget. A programmable timer, for instance, will allow you to set when and for how long your heating is on for and, when combined with a thermostat, will avoid the boiler being on when your home is at the desired temperature. More complex options include further energy efficiency features such as weather compensation, which works with outside temperatures to avoid energy being used unnecessarily, to cleverly communicating with your boiler to adapt how much energy it uses so it doesn’t need to keep switching on and off. You can also add Thermostatic Radiator Valves to your radiators to control the amount of heat needed to keep each room comfortable.

In fact, recent research by trade organisation, BEAMA3, suggests that these upgrades could reduce your total heating bill by up to 32% each year.

Knowing how and when to upgrade heating controls can perhaps put some people off making the switch. The obvious time to change your control is when you update your boiler, however, this doesn’t have to be the case. You can choose to update or add a control at any time as long as it’s suitable for your boiler.

Opt for a Smart Thermostat

In a recent survey carried out by Resideo1, over 34% of homeowners surveyed had already opted for a smart speaker for their home, so were well on board with technology. In fact, 15% had smart lights, 20% had smart security cameras, and over 11% had a smart doorbell. Remarkably, only one in five had a smart thermostat installed in their property.

Of those who would consider going ‘smart’ with their heating controls, saving money on energy bills was the number one reason to make the change (37%), followed by the ability to have greater control over the temperature in the home. Over half of those questioned felt that smart technology does make life easier as a whole and provides a real opportunity to make savings.

In fact, opting for a smart thermostat can give you a wide range of options to avoid wasting money and energy, from being able to monitor and control your heating from your phone to selecting different temperatures for separate rooms.

The Honeywell Home evohome smart thermostat from Resideo, for example, works with smart valves on your radiators to allow you to set 12 zones around your home, allowing you to control each one from one handy app. Meaning you don’t have to heat the whole house if you are mostly living or working in one or two rooms throughout the day.

This control also cleverly regulates the energy load needed to reach the right temperature, so the boiler doesn’t fire up at full power when it only requires a gentle boost and switches it off when it reaches it. Weather compensating features are also of benefit, especially as temperatures can chop and change quickly.

Robert adds:

“The switch to smart has undoubtedly taken hold in so many areas of our lives, from using an app to check we have locked our car, to being able to check what our pets are doing when we are out via smart security cameras.

“Heating our homes is so important to our well-being, especially as we head into the winter months, but we perhaps don’t always consider how opting for smart technology, or simply being smart with how we use our heating, can be effective and help save money in the process. Now, with more of us being in our homes for longer periods throughout the day, making sure we are comfortable will be at the forefront of our minds.

“Taking the opportunity to upgrade your controls, or even add smart technology to your heating system, could open up a wealth of opportunities to avoid wasting energy and money unnecessarily. Speaking to your installer will give you a clearer picture of what will work with your existing or new boiler model.”