|Temperature control is essential for energy efficient heating and is one of the simplest and most effective ways of reducing carbon emissions, lowering fuel bills and improving comfort levels.|
|So, it’s quite surprising that according to the Energy Savings Trust, around 40% of UK homes have no room thermostat – the simplest form of temperature control. TACMA suggests that a household can cut its carbon emissions by an estimated 500kg each year, just by using a room thermostat with boiler interlock. What’s more, using a room thermostat to turn down temperatures by 1C can reduce space heating consumption by up to 10%, according to the government’s Good Practice Guide (GPG) 302.
Room thermostats can reduce energy usage by simply switching the heating system on and off as required to limit fuel consumption, reduce comfort temperatures and prevent rooms from overheating.
Part L of the Building Regulations (2006) states that households must have separate temperature control in each heating zone (ie. living or sleeping area). This can be achieved using room or programmable room thermostats in all zones; a room or programmable room thermostat in the main zone and TRVs on individual radiators; or a mixture of these options.
Understanding room thermostats
A room thermostat can have the biggest impact on a boiler’s efficiency and every domestic central heating system should have one.
A room thermostat will sense the air temperature in a room and once it falls below the thermostat setting, it will call for heat. Once this set temperature has been reached, the thermostat will stop calling for heat and the heating system is then turned off.
The room thermostat works in conjunction with the boiler’s timer, so it will maintain the air temperature to a set level, but only when the heating circuit is already timed to be on.
The latest thermostat models have digital temperature displays, setback features and user-adjustable minimum/maximum temperature settings, all designed to make it as easy as possible for householders to control their room temperatures, according to their lifestyle.
A programmable room thermostat will allow householders to set what time their heating system comes on and what temperature it should reach to suit their living patterns. It can automatically provide different temperatures at different times of the day and week. This flexibility in temperature and time settings means the desired comfort levels are achieved throughout the day but with minimum fuel consumption, providing greater energy savings than a standard room thermostat
Hard wired or wireless ? its upto you
On/Off control is the method of control used by most heating systems in the UK. The controls simply switch the current supplied to the boiler on or off at different times.
TPI (Time Proportional & Integral) control is an industry standard term for an On/Off control using an advanced energy saving control method that can be used by most heating systems in the UK. The controls simply switch current supplied to the boiler on or off at different times. Unlike a traditional thermostat, these rely on digital technology that matches the boiler firing to theload on the system.
Smart thermostats are devices responsible for controlling a home’s heating. They allow the user to control the temperature of their home throughout the day using a schedule, such as setting a lower temperature at night. As they are connected to the Internet, they allow users to adjust heating settings from other internet-connected devices, such as smartphones. This allows users to easily switch off the heating when the house is empty. This ease of use is essential for ensuring energy savings: studies have shown that households with programmable thermostats actually have higher energy consumption that those with simple thermostats, because residents program them incorrectly or disable them completely
Some smart thermostats can automatically learn when the house is likely to be occupied, and when it is likely to be empty. This allows it to automatically pre-heat , so that it’s at a comfortable temperature when a resident arrives. If the residents’ lifestyle changes, these smart thermostats will gradually adjust the schedule, maintaining energy savings and comfort.
OpenTherm otherwise known as the boiler’s the digital connections.
These connections are becoming increasingly popular as they bring great benefits for both customers and installers.
So what is OpenTherm?
OpenTherm is a way of controlling the burner within the boiler so that it provides only the amount of heat that is required at a given moment in response to a thermostat sending proportional demand signals.
Many boiler and controls manufacturers now recognise the energy savings potential of OpenTherm.
How does OpenTherm work?
The standard way to control a heating system is to switch the boiler on and off at intervals with On/Off controls. OpenTherm provides more precise control on the boiler through the control of the gas valve.
It allows the amount of heat provided by the boiler to be controlled to match the varying demand signal. By reducing the flow temperature to a minimum as it leaves the boiler, the return temperature is kept below the dew point (55 degrees) whenever possible, thus allowing the boiler to operate in condensing mode.
What are the advantages of OpenTherm?
Are all controls compatible with OpenTherm boilers?
Any OpenTherm control gives any OpenTherm boiler the ability to work to its peak performance. This efficiency is then dependent on the quality of the response of that boiler to a proven demand signal.
OpenTherm enabled boilers work perfectly well with standard On/Off controls, but they will accept control signals from an OpenTherm compatible control and operate more efficiently.
Industry testing has demonstrated that energy efficiency improvements can be made to a heating system that has an OpenTherm compatible boiler, just by replacing an On/Off controller (even some of the most sophisticated) with an OpenTherm compatible controller. By replacing a like for like controller, programmed to the same levels is likely to produce an energy saving of as much as 10%.Many OpenTherm boilers are labelled with the OpenTherm logo, but if in doubt a quick check with the manufacturer will fully clarify.