The Plumbers Blog: How To Improve Your Central Heating System Ready For Winter

Categories:Central Heating, Energy, Northampton, Skilled Plumber

Winter is slowly creeping in again, and you may already be feeling the chill and turning on your central heating. Now is a great time to think about your central heating and whether it’s working well enough for you – before winter really kicks in! If you feel like your boiler isn’t keeping you as warm as it should be, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to get a new one. There are many cheaper things you can try to get your system working as good as new once more. These ideas can also help if you feel like you’re paying too much for your heating.

Here are just a few ideas for saving energy, reducing your bills, and lowering your carbon footprint – all while keeping your house feeling toasty.

Power Flushing

A power flush can clean out all the sludge rust, and other debris clogging up your central heating system. The aim of this is to restore full circulation within your system so that water can travel through all the pipes, radiators, and our boiler. This should make your central heating system more efficient, warming your radiators more quickly and heating your home for less.

Bleeding Your Radiators

Bleeding your radiators is another way to make your heating system more efficient. You can tell if a radiator needs bleeding if it is only heating up at the bottom. Bleeding your radiators releases any air trapped at the top of the radiator, allowing hot water to fill the entire system once more.

Thermostatic Radiator Valves

TRVs allow you to adjust the temperature of individual radiators so that you can heat some rooms in your home while keeping others a little cooler. This is a good way to save energy and money as it means you’re not heating the rooms you’re not using, but you can still keep the temperature comfortable in rooms you use more. You can find out lots more about TRVs and their benefits in our blog post.

Wireless Room Thermostats

These thermostats can accurately measure the overall temperature of your house and adjust the heating system to ensure your home stays at your desired temperature. This means you don’t have to worry about changing the temperature manually to save energy.

Cylinder Thermostats

Cylinder thermostats regulate the temperature within your heating cylinder, ensuring the water is only heated when the temperature drops to below 60-65 degrees.

Unvented Cylinders

These cylinders draw cold water from your mains supply and heat it on demand. Unlike cylinders that constantly heat the water, these only heat water when needed. They also don’t require a cold water storage tank, giving you the added bonus of extra space in your home.

Radiator Reflectors

Radiators give off heat in the space all around them, which means half the heat leaves the back of the radiator. If the radiator is on an external wall, some of your energy could be wasted heating your garden instead of your home! Radiator reflectors can stop this heat transfer and reflect the heat back into the room so it doesn’t escape through your walls. This means you don’t have to put the radiator on for as long, and you can lower its temperature if you have a TRV.

Radiator Fans

These are micro fans which are placed on top of radiators. They are very low wattage and they only come on when a certain temperature is reached. When they do come on, they blow hot air from the radiator further into the room, increasing the temperature so that you can have your heating on for a shorter amount of time and lower your heating bills.

Radiator Additive

Radiator additive can help your central heating liquid heat up faster and stay hot for longer, by changing its heat transfer properties. This means your heating will reach your desired temperature quicker and your boiler won’t have to work for as long, saving you money on your heating bills.

Heat Recovery Devices

Some of the gas generated by your boiler escapes through the flue, but you can buy heat recovery systems which capture it and use it to heat your water, making your system more efficient.

Hot Water Cylinder Insulation

New hot water cylinders are factory insulated to help keep your water at the right temperature, but older cylinders may need some additional insulation to stop heat escaping. You could save money and energy by topping up your insulation.

Inhibitors

The build-up of lime-scale can significantly reduce the efficiency of your hot water system, but inhibitors can prevent this build-up. A chemical inhibitor is a liquid which is inserted into your central heating system and slows down oxidisation, which is the reaction between the metal radiator and the water running through it.

Electrolytic scale inhibitors can also be fitted to your incoming water supply pipe, and these stop lime-scale crystals sticking to any surface in your system, preventing build-up.

Upgrade Your Boiler

The average boiler lasts for between ten and fifteen years, so if yours is getting on a bit and you’re encountering constant problems, it may be time to replace it. Modern boilers are more efficient than older boilers because they are all condensing boilers. All boilers burn fuel efficiently if they are well-maintained, but they tend to lose some heat in the gases that escape up the flue. In contrast, condensing boilers have larger heat exchangers, so they recover more heat and send cooler gas up the flue. Sometimes the flue gases get so cool that the water vapour in them condenses out and even more energy is recovered, making condensing boilers particularly efficient. In fact, a condensing boiler only wastes around 9% of its gas, compared to 20-40% for non-condensing boilers.

The best reliable boilers in the world will eventually breakdown and when they do, it’s great to know that we have boiler repair experts in Northampton that offer a fast response service for any emergency.

Take a look at our blog posts to help you decide whether it’s time to replace your boiler, and figure out what type of boiler is right for you.

If you would like more specific advice for your central heating system, or if you would like THS Plumbing & Heating to carry out any repairs, improvements, installations or upgrades, get in touch! Call 01604 212732 or contact us online, we have super friendly plumbers who will be happy to help you get the most out of your central heating and boiler.