Controlling your heating system with a thermostat provides greater energy-efficiency and temperature accuracy for your home but according to research, a lot of us are making some costly errors when it comes to using one. In this article, we’ll look at the most common mistakes that people make when using their thermostat and how you can avoid them to keep your heating bill as low as possible whilst staying cosy and warm throughout the cooler months.
1. SETTING THE WRONG TEMPERATURE
Setting the right temperature on your thermostat is key to feeling comfortable at home. However, a lot of people tend to overheat their homes, leading to wasted energy and restless, stuffy nights. Unlike underfloor heating thermostats, basic central heating systems don’t allow control of individual room temperatures and all too often there is only a single thermostat located in the hallway, making it more difficult to balance the temperatures of your home. However, a simple tip can help: turn on the heating and set the radiator valve in the room you are in to a comfortable level, then set the valves in the remaining rooms that you are using one level lower. Unused rooms should have their doors closed and radiators set to the lowest level.
What’s the best temperature for my home?
Whilst ideal comfort temperatures are often a personal preference, the official Cold Weather Plan for England suggests a minimum winter temperature of 18°C in UK homes for beneficial health. Different thermostats offer specific benefits for controlling your home’s heating system, whether that be a floor heater or central heating system and we recommend assessing the features of a thermostat before purchase to work out exactly which one is right for you.
2. TURNING UP THE THERMOSTAT TO HEAT THE ROOMS MORE QUICKLY
If you’ve just come home to a cold house on a freezing winter’s day, it might seem reasonable to turn up your thermostat. But that won’t help you feel warm and comfortable any quicker. The reason for that is simple: a thermostat has no control over how quickly your house heats up, all it does is set the final temperature for your comfort level. It’s best to think of a basic thermostat as a temperature limiter. It allows the heating to be fully on until the set temperature is reached, at which point the thermostat will turn the heating off until the temperature drops again. Turning your thermostat higher than your comfort level will therefore allow the system to overheat the space, making your home uncomfortably warm and wasting significant energy.
3. KEEPING THE HEATING ON CONSTANTLY
For enhanced energy-efficiency, the best thing to do is lower your temperature when you’re not at home. The amount of heat your home loses is linked to the difference in temperature between inside your house and outside, so the colder it is outside, the more heat you lose and the warmer it is inside, the more heat you lose. Reducing these levels of heat loss is important as the less heat you lose, the less energy you’ll need to use to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home.
Coming home to a cold house causes most people to turn the thermostat up higher than normal comfort level, overheating the house and wasting the money they have saved by using a low temperature when they were out. Programmable thermostats are ideal to avoid this energy wastage, ensuring you come home to warm rooms that have been running efficiently while you were out.
How do I set my underfloor heating controls?
Things can get a bit more complicated when your schedule changes, but this is where an underfloor heating system controlled by a Smart thermostat can help. You can control a Warmup electric or hydronic system using the 4iE Smart Wifi Thermostat alongside the MyHeating app on your smartphone which provides increased efficiency, offering a more bespoke ‘zoned’ based heating solution and learning the exact time it takes to warm your home. Its SmartGeo technology also automatically warms up your heating system in time for your arrival home, greatly reducing energy wastage. MyHeating is also suitable for use with central heating systems with the 5iE Wireless Smart Thermostat.
4. TURNING THE HEATING OFF INSTEAD OF USING A SETBACK TEMPERATURE
A lot of people turn off the heating completely when they leave the house. However, this can put your home at risk of damp, mould growth and, in extreme conditions, burst pipes. To prevent adverse complications in very cold weather, using a setback temperature is a great idea. A setback temperature doesn’t mean the heating is on when you’re out; if the setback temperature is right for your home, the heating will be off whilst you’re away for a normal amount of time but protected from dropping too far if you’re out for longer than expected.
What temperature should central heating thermostats be set at?
Getting the setback temperature right for your home can take a while and might require a bit of experimenting, but a good starting point is 16 degrees. The average home needs approximately 1 hour to warm up from 16 degrees to 21 degrees, so you should adjust your programme accordingly. Smart thermostats can remove the hassle of experimentation by automatically calculating the best temperature to use for your home when you’re away and activating the heating to warm up your rooms just in time for your arrival.
5. INSTALLING A THERMOSTAT IN A VERY COLD OR VERY WARM ROOM
Thermostats measure the temperature of the room that they are placed in via an air sensor and/or a floor sensor. These readings are key when programming setback temperatures and assist in running an efficient heating system, so if a thermostat is installed in a very cold or overly warm room, it may not accurately reflect the true temperature of your home.
Thermostats should be installed in a correct location within your home to ensure it can work at its most effective. We recommend installing a thermostat on interior walls, at an optimal height from the floor – five feet or thereabouts is most commonly suggested. Thermostats should not be installed near windows or in direct sunlight and they should be positioned away from heat sources such as radiators, lamps, ovens or other electronic devices that may produce heat.
We also recommend to always make sure you have sufficient levels of insulation in your home, which helps prevent heat loss and assists in maintaining a consistent environmental temperature.
6. TURNING THE THERMOSTAT UP INSTEAD OF PUTTING ON AN EXTRA LAYER OF CLOTHING
Wearing an extra layer of clothes can increase the temperature you feel by up to 3 degrees. In addition to that, government research has shown that lowering the average temperature in your home by 1 degree can save up to 10% on your heating bills. In other words, putting on a jumper allows you to set the thermostat at a lower temperature and can save you over a £150 per year on your average heating bill.
7. NOT CHECKING THE TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDES IF THE THERMOSTAT ISN’T WORKING CORRECTLY
Like all technologies, sometimes your thermostat may encounter a problem or two but more often than not any issues can be quickly resolved by reading your instruction manual and learning how to accurately use your thermostat’s features.
If you have any problems using your thermostat such as being unsure of how to create a new heating schedule, set a new target comfort temperature or how to override the thermostat, all Warmup Thermostats come with in-depth installation and troubleshooting guides and you can also access Warmup Support, a website specifically designed to answer all your queries about our range of products.
In some cases, there may be a more technical problem at work, such as an installation error or something that begins to affect the workings of your heating system. Warmup provide further resources as wiring diagrams and also offer 24/7 support, 365 days a year.
8. USING A SIMPLE ON-OFF THERMOSTAT INSTEAD OF A SMART THERMOSTAT
Whilst some people may prefer using a traditional thermostat which only turns their central or underfloor heating system on or off, a more advanced Smart thermostat offers much greater energy-efficiency and long-term cost savings. Smart thermostats facilitate features such as automatic heating, remote access, energy-usage data and personalised heat scheduling. A Smart thermostat can even let you control your heating system with your voice using a Smart speaker like the Amazon Echo.
How do I use a manual thermostat?
Manual thermostats offer simple functionality and ease-of-use. There is no need to programme a manual thermostat instead you can control your heating system with a flick of switch or twist of a dial for immediate heat.
How do I use a programmable thermostat?
For enhanced control of your heating system, use a programmable thermostat which allows you to set personalised heating schedules specifically suited for your needs. Warmup’s Tempo Programmable Thermostat for underfloor heating utilises a digital screen to clearly set your heating schedule. So, if you need your heating system to come on at a certain time every morning or evening, or at different times on a weekday or weekend, you can programme the controller as easily as you would set your watch.
How do I use a Smart thermostat?
Warmup’s 4iE Smart Wifi Thermostat for underfloor heating and 5iE Wireless Smart Thermostat for central heating can learn from your routines and utilise full-colour touchscreens to clearly and quickly set heating schedules and change heat output levels. Using the MyHeating app on your smartphone to control your thermostat remotely offers even more intuitive access such as automatic heating, so your home is warmed in time for your arrival after a busy day without the need to programme a heating schedule. All thermostats should be installed by a qualified electrician.