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How to use your heating system

We've created heating guides to help you understand how to efficiently heat your home.

Getting to know how your heating system works best can help save you money on your energy bills and also help reduce our impact on the environment.

These handy heating guides will help you use your heating system as efficiently as possible. 

  • Gas boiler guide

    How to use your gas boiler efficiently

    Gas boilers work best when your home is kept at an even, comfortable temperature of between 18-20 degrees c. You should try to avoid big spikes in internal room temperature as these can cause a buildup in condensation and mould.

    You can control the internal temperature of your house by using the thermostat. If you want to control the temperature of individual rooms, use thermostatic valves on each radiator.

    It can be helpful if you’re watching your gas bill to turn down the thermostatic radiator valves in rooms which are rarely used or where you don’t like it too hot, for example in your bedrooms. And then keep the doors to these rooms closed so that warm air from the hallway/landing isn’t being wasted. You should also avoid putting large items of furniture in front of radiators because this will stop heat being distributed throughout your home.

    Your hot water tank temperature should be no lower than 60 degrees c. This temperature kills any bacteria that might be in your water tank. Turning your water tank to a lower temperature could leave you at risk of becoming ill.

    The essentials to managing your gas boiler

    Try to:

    • Heat your home to a comfortable temperature of between 18-20 degrees.
    • Get to know the controls for your heating system and use your thermostat and thermostatic valves on the radiators to control the temperature of your house.
    • Turn down thermostatic valves on the radiators in rooms which are not in use.
    • Leave the settings alone once you have found a comfortable heat.
    • Keep the doors closed throughout the house to prevent heat from escaping.

    Avoid:

    • Allowing internal temperatures in your house to fluctuate causing spikes in temperature.
    • Turning thermostat temperature up by too much.
    • Putting large items of furniture in front of radiators – this will prevent heat from being distributed throughout your house.
    • Letting your hot water tank temperature get below 60 degrees c.

    More detail if you need it

    What is a gas boiler?

    • Gas boilers act like mini-fires and continuously heat water. Gas boilers run on mains gas. Mains gas is the natural gas that is distributed to homes through pipes. Gas boilers are the most popular heating system in the UK.

    How do gas boilers work? 

    • Our properties that use mains gas will either have a balanced flue or a condensing boiler. Both of these boilers run on mains gas that is burned to heat water for the central heating and sometimes the hot water system as well.
    • Balanced flue boilers are generally found in older properties. A balanced flue system allows all the gases produced from burning the mains gas to be removed from the home. This system also allows air to enter from outside to supply the system with oxygen.
    • Condensing boilers pass the mains gas through a heat exchanger which warms up the cold water returning from the radiators. This reduces the work the boiler has to do. There are two types of the newer, condensing boilers. Combination boilers supply heating and hot water directly from the boiler, whereas system boilers require a separate hot water tank.

    For more information on your specific central heating system please refer to your user manual. If you would like a copy of the manual please contact the Hub.

    Gas suppliers

    There are a number of mains gas suppliers. Hastoe recommend that you regularly review your tariff and when your contract period is coming to an end, make sure you explore the market to ensure you are on the most competitive rate. Price comparison website may be useful.

    Useful links

     

  • Oil storage guide

    How to use your oil storage system efficiently

    Oil storage heating systems work best when your home is kept at an even, comfortable temperature of between 18-20 degrees c. You should try to avoid big spikes in internal room temperature as these can cause a buildup in condensation and mould.

    You can control the internal temperature of your house by using the thermostat. If you want to control the temperature of individual rooms, use thermostatic valves on each radiator.

    It can be helpful if you’re watching your heating bill to turn down the thermostatic radiator valves in rooms which are rarely used or where you don’t like it too hot, for example in your bedrooms. And then keep the doors to these rooms closed so that warm air from the hallway/landing isn’t being wasted. You should also avoid putting large items of furniture in front of radiators because this will stop heat being distributed throughout your home.

    If your heating system is also heating your water, you should set your thermostat to no less than 60c to kill any bacteria in your water tank. Turning your water tank to a lower temperature could leave you at risk of becoming ill.

    The essentials to managing your oil storage system – in brief:

    Try to

    • Heat your home to a comfortable temperature of between 18-20 degrees c.
    • Get to know the controls for your heating system and use your thermostat and thermostatic valves on the radiators to control the temperature of your house.
    • Turn down thermostatic valves on the radiators in rooms which are not in use.
    • Leave the settings alone once you have found a comfortable heat.
    • Keep the doors closed throughout the house to prevent heat from escaping.

    Avoid

    • Allowing internal temperatures in your house to fluctuate causing spikes in temperature.
    • Turning thermostat up by too much.
    • Putting large items of furniture in front of radiators – this will prevent heat from being distributed throughout your house.
    • Turning your thermostat down below 60c degrees. If your heating system is also heating your water, the thermostat must be set to no less than 60c to kill any bacteria in your water tank.

    More details if you need it

    What is an oil storage system?

    • Oil storage systems are mainly found in rural areas where houses aren’t connected to the mains gas network. Oil is delivered by your chosen supplier and stored in tanks close to the property. Pipes connects the tanks to the boiler inside your home and heat your property.

    How do oil storage systems work?

    • Oil storage systems work in a similar way to  gas boilers. The key difference is that oil is used to fuel the boiler instead of gas. The oil creates a flame which heats the pipes carrying water. This water is used to warm radiators and provide hot water to the home.

    Oil supplier

    There are a number of oil suppliers. Hastoe recommend that you regularly review your tariff and when your contract period is coming to an end, make sure you explore the market to ensure you are on the most competitive rate. Price comparison websites may be useful.

    Useful links

  • Air source heat pump guide

    How to use your air source heat pump efficiently

    Air source heat pumps work best when your home is kept at an even, comfortable temperature of between 18-20 degrees c. You should avoid big spikes in internal room temperature as these can cause a buildup in condensation and mould.

    A good way to prevent the internal temperature of your home from spiking is to keep kitchen and bathroom doors closed when you are cooking or bathing. You should also avoid putting large items of furniture in front of radiators because this will stop heat being distributed throughout your home.

    Another reason to maintain a steady and comfortable room temperature is that you’ll save money. It’s actually often cheaper to run you heat pump at a steady temperature rather than relying on the boost function to raise temperatures quickly.

    It’s a good idea to get to know how your heat pump works and how long it takes to comfortably heat your home. This will allow you to program the system so it comes on early enough to provide you with the warmth you need.

    If your heat pump only provides hot water, then you can use the immersion back up when the heat pump is not producing enough heat - just remember to switch off the immersion back up when it’s no longer needed as it uses a lot of energy and may leave you with higher bills if you keep it on for long periods of time.

    The essentials to managing your air source heat pump - in brief:

    Try to

    • Heat your home to a comfortable temperature of between 18-20 degrees c – the system is designed to provide even heat throughout your home.
    • Make sure you leave your air source heat pump running 24/7, especially during cooler weather.
    • Make sure the system is running all day all year round if your air source heat pump provides hot water to your home.
    • Keep kitchen and bathroom doors closed when cooking and bathing – this prevents the internal temperature of your home from spiking.
    • Get to know the controls for your air source heat pump and learn how to use the system to comfortably heat up your home.

    Avoid

    • Allowing the internal temperatures in your home to fluctuate – you should try not to let your home get very hot or very cold.
    • Switching off your air source heat pump. It’s designed to operate 24/7 especially in cold weather.
    • Putting large items of furniture in front of radiators – this will prevent heat from being distributed throughout your house.

    More detail if you need it

    What is an air source heat pump?

    • An air source heat pump is a heating system that works by extracting heat from the air outside and using it to heat your home and hot water. It works in the same way that a fridge extracts heat to keep food cool.

    How do air source heat pumps work?

    • An air source heat pump steadily delivers heat to your home at low temperatures over long periods of time. This enables it to work in a more efficient way and at a lower cost to you.
    • Air source heat pumps run at lower temperatures than traditional central heating systems and, therefore, your radiators will not feel as hot as you would expect.
    • To work effectively, air source heat pumps need to run for longer than you might think, and during cold weather they’re designed to run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
    • If your air source heat pump provides hot water as well as central heating then it will run all day all year round.

    Electricity tariff

    • Air source heat pumps operate on a standard electricity tariff. Hastoe recommend checking your tariff with your electricity provider to ensure you are getting a competitive rate.

    Useful links

  • Ground source heat pump guide

    How to use your ground source heat pump efficiently

    Ground source heat pumps work best when your home is kept at an even, comfortable temperature of between 18-20 degrees c. You should try to avoid big spikes in internal room temperature as these can cause a buildup in condensation and mould.

    A good way to stop the internal temperature of your home from spiking is to keep kitchen and bathroom doors closed when you are cooking or bathing. You should also avoid putting large items of furniture in front of radiators because this will stop heat being distributed throughout your home.

    Another reason to maintain a steady comfortable room temperature is that you’ll save money. It’s actually often cheaper to run you heat pump at a steady temperature rather than relying on the boost function to raise temperatures quickly.

    It’s a good idea to get to know how your heat pump works and how long it takes to comfortably heat your home. This will allow you to program the system so it comes on early enough to provide you with the warmth you need.

    If your heat pump only provides hot water, then you can use the immersion back up when the heat pump is not producing enough heat - just remember to switch off the immersion back up when it’s no longer needed as it uses a lot of energy and may leave you with higher bills if you keep it on for long periods of time.

    The essentials to managing your ground source heat pump - in brief

    Try to

    • Heat your home to a comfortable temperature of between 18-20 degrees c – the system is designed to provide even heat throughout your home.
    • Make sure you leave your ground source heat pump running 24/7, especially during cooler weather.
    • Make sure the system is running all day all year round if your ground source heat pump provides hot water to your home.
    • Keep kitchen and bathroom doors closed when cooking and bathing – this prevents the internal temperature of your home from spiking.
    • Get to know the controls for your ground source heat pump and learn how to use the system to comfortably heat up your home.

    Avoid

    • Allowing the internal temperatures in your home to fluctuate – you should try not to let your home get very hot or very cold.
    • Switching off your ground source heat pump. These systems are designed to operate 24/7 especially in cold weather.
    • Putting large items of furniture in front of radiators – this will prevent heat from being distributed throughout your house.

    More detail if you need it

    What is a ground source heat pump?

    • Ground source heat pumps are central heating systems that use solar heat naturally stored in the ground.

    How do ground source heat pumps work?

    • Ground source heat pumps use the heat from the ground to warm up pipes. A mix of water and anti-freeze pass through these pipes, absorbing the heat from the ground and passing it to the pump’s heat exchanger. The system then uses a heat pump to increase the temperature of the water to provide heating and hot water to your home.
    • As ground temperatures remain fairly consistent throughout the year, ground source heat pumps are an efficient way of providing heating and hot water. They steadily deliver heat to your home at low temperatures over long periods, which enables it to work in a more efficient way and at a lower cost to you.
    • Ground source heat pumps run at lower temperatures than traditional central heating systems and, therefore, your radiators will not feel as hot as you would expect.
    • To work effectively, ground source heat pumps need to run for longer than you might think, and during cold weather they’re designed to run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
    • If your ground source heat pump provides hot water as well as central heating then it will run all day all year round.

    Electricity tariff

    • Ground source heat pumps operate on a standard electricity tariff. Hastoe recommend checking your tariff with your electricity provider to ensure you are getting a competitive rate.

    Useful links

  • Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery guide

    How to use your mechanical ventilation with heat recovery system efficiently

    Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery systems provide filtered air into your home. The system controls humidity and condensation within the home by providing a continuous flow of fresh air. Air with high humidity levels is extracted continuously from wet rooms.

    In the summer months you should use the summer bypass function which stops incoming air from being heated. This ensures that the incoming air is no hotter than that outside the home. It also prevents energy and money being wasted on warming up incoming air.

    Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery systems also have a boost function, which should be used when more ventilation is needed.  When the boost function is used the system extracts moist air at a higher speed. For example, during a long shower or bath when the moisture in the bathroom is at a high level, the boost function should be used.

    The essentials to managing your mechanical ventilation with heat recovery system – in brief:

    Try to

    • Learn the functions of the mechanical ventilation with heat recovery system to maximise comfort inside the home.
    • Use the boost function when additional ventilation is required. Remember to switch off the boost function when it’s no longer needed.
    • Use the summer bypass function in the summer months when incoming air doesn’t need to be heated.

    Avoid

    • Switching off the mechanical ventilation with heat recovery system as the system is designed to run continuously.

    More detail if you need it

    What is a mechanical ventilation with heat recovery system?

    Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery systems provide fresh, filtered air to rooms, whilst retaining most of the energy that has already been used to heat the building.

    How does a mechanical ventilation with heat recovery system work?

    Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery systems work by extracting moist, polluted air from the wet rooms of a house e.g. kitchen, bathroom, toilets and utility rooms and supplying air to rooms such as bedrooms, living rooms, studies. The extracted air is taken through a central heat exchanger which recovers and retains the heat that would otherwise be lost from the extracted air. In cooler seasons, this heat is used to warm the fresh, filtered air that the unit is supplying to rooms such as bedrooms and living rooms.

    Useful links

  • Photovoltaic panels guide

    How to use your photovoltaic panels efficiently

    To make the best use of the energy generated from the photovoltaic panels, you should try to run household appliances such as washing machines, vacuum cleaners and dishwashers during daylight hours.

    You should also avoid using multiple appliances at once as this may exceed the electricity being generated by the photovoltaic panels.

    Most photovoltaic panel systems don’t normally store electricity, so any electricity that isn’t used in the home will be exported back to the National Grid.

    The essentials to managing your photovoltaic panels - in brief:

    Try to

    • Use appliances during daylight hours to make the most out of the energy generated.
    • Charge electrical items such as phones during daylight hours.

    Avoid

    • Using multiple appliances at the same time as the energy demand will be more than the amount of energy generated by the photovoltaic panels.

    More detail if you need it

    What are photovoltaic panels?

    • Photovoltaic panels are also known as solar panels. They capture the sun’s energy in cells and convert this energy into electricity to be used in the home. Photovoltaic panels work effectively even on cloudy days because they aren’t reliant on direct sunlight.

    How do photovoltaic panels work?

    • Photovoltaic panels are made from semi-conducting materials, so when light from the sun shines on the panel it creates an electric field. The stronger the sunshine the more electricity is produced.
    • Hastoe have installed Dimplex Free-E devices to a small number of properties where heating upgrades have taken place and the property already had photovoltaic panels or installing photovoltaic panels was part of the upgrade.
    • The Dimplex Free-E devices divert surplus energy not used in the home to the hot water tank heater instead of back to the grid. The energy is then used to heat water for your house.

    Useful links

  • Solar thermal heating guide

    How to use your solar thermal system efficiently

    If used carefully, solar thermal heating systems are a cost effective way of providing hot water to the home. Try to only use and set the backup boiler or immersion heater boost function to run for a short while before heavy usage and remember to either set them to switch off or manually switch them off after use.

    You should try to take advantage of the solar thermal systems ability to provide sufficient hot water twice a day and try not to use the hot water all at once.

    Your hot water tank temperature should be no lower than 60 degrees c. This temperature kills any bacteria that might be in your water tank. Turning your water tank to a lower temperature could leave you at risk of becoming ill.

    The essentials to managing your solar thermal system - in brief:

    Try to

    • Take advantage of the solar thermal system's ability to replenish hot water and stagger your usage throughout the day. Especially during the summer months because when it’s warmer the solar thermal panel can meet most or all of the hot water demand
    • Set the boost function of your backup boiler or immersion heater to work before heavy usage, for example first thing in the morning.
    • Set your hot water tank to a minimum temperature of 60 degrees c. 

    Avoid

    • Switching the system off as it’s programmed to work efficiently and has safeguards to prevent overheating and freezing.
    • Forgetting to switch off or forgetting to program the boost function of your backup boiler or immersion heater to switch off. The boost function uses electricity and can be expensive.

    More detail if you need it

    What is a solar thermal system?

    • Solar thermal heating systems otherwise known as solar water heating uses the heat emitted from the sun to provide hot water for the home.

    How do solar thermal heating systems work?

    • Solar thermal energy is captured by solar panels. These panels absorb the energy and heat from the sun and via pipes use this to heat up the water stored in your hot water tank.
    • We also install boilers or immersion heaters to be used as a back up to heat the water further to reach the temperature you want it to be.

    Useful links

  • Storage, panel and down-flow heating guide

    How to use storage, panel or down-flow heating systems efficiently

    You should use the controls on your heaters to maintain an even internal room temperature of between 18-20 degrees c. You should try to keep the temperature of your home at a steady rate and avoid big spikes in internal room temperature as these can cause a buildup in condensation and mould.

    Storage heaters charge overnight and run on a cheaper electricity tariff called either economy 7 or economy 10. It’s worthwhile checking your electricity tariff to make sure you are getting the cheaper electricity rate for your storage heaters.

    Older storage heaters usually have two control dials, one controls the dampner and the other temperature. The dampner enables the storage heater to retain heat, so we recommend that you try to keep this closed during the day unless you need the heat.

    We recommend you only use the boost function on your heater when you need an extra burst of heat and remember to turn it off. The boost function operates from the standard electricity tariff and is therefore more expensive.

    The Dimplex Quantum storage heaters we have fitted in a number of homes are designed to heat your entire home and we recommend that to most efficiently heat your home, you have all the storage heaters running at the same time. If you use individual room heaters, instead of having them all running at once then heat will be lost when a door is opened into a cooler space. This will require the system to work harder and use more electricity, which will cost you more money.

    You should only use panel and down-flow heaters for short periods of time to quickly warm up the rooms they are in. The best way to use panel and down-flow heaters would be turn them on for a short period of time to quickly take the chill out of a room, for example first thing in the morning first thing in the morning. If you leave them on for long periods of time your electricity bill could increase significantly.

    The essentials to managing your storage, panel or down-flow heating systems – in brief:

    Try to

    • Heat your home to a temperature of between 18 – 20 degrees c.
    • Check your electricity tariff and ensure you are on either economy 7 or 10 to get lower cost electricity to charge up your storage heaters overnight.
    • Use panel and down-flow heaters for short periods of time to quickly take the chill out of a room.

    Avoid

    • Allowing internal temperatures to fluctuate causing rooms to become excessively hot or cold.
    • Leaving the boost function of storage heaters on as this runs off a standard electricity tariff and is expensive.
    • Using panel and down-flow heaters for long periods of time. They operate from a standard electricity tariff and can be expensive.

    More detail if you need it

    What are storage, panel or down-flow heating systems?

    • Storage, panel and down-flow heaters are all heaters that run on electricity.
    • Storage heaters use cheaper off-peak electricity by charging individual room heaters overnight. Heat is then released the following day at a controllable rate.
    • Panel and down-flow heaters are very similar because they operate in the same way and both provide instantaneous heat. They are more expensive to run than storage heaters because they operate from a standard electricity tariff.

    How do storage, panel or down-flow heating systems work?

    • Storage heaters use electricity to charge overnight and then they release heat the following day at a controllable rate.
    • A number of Hastoe properties have Dimplex Quantum storage heaters. These heaters keep a log of the amount they’ve charged overnight, the usage the following day and the weather. If the stored heat isn’t all used, then these heaters will automatically adjust its settings to take less charge the following night. This reduces your electricity consumption. These heaters are also more efficient at retaining heat and maintaining ambient internal temperatures.
    • Panel heaters are often used in rooms where you would spend less time so need less warmth. Panel heaters warm up very quickly and operate from a standard electricity tariff. This means they are more expensive to run than storage heaters. There is more information on electricity tariffs further down in this guide.
    • A number of Hastoe homes have down-flow heaters in kitchens and/or bathrooms. Like panel heaters, these heaters provide instantaneous heat to a room and operate from a standard electricity tariff. Therefore they have a higher running cost than storage heaters and are not designed to be used for long periods of time.

    Electricity tariff

    Storage heaters operate from economy 7 or 10 tariffs. These tariffs provide either 7 or 10 hours of lower price per kWh electricity at nighttime and a more expensive rate in the day. You may have two separate meters one for the standard rate and another for the economy tariff, so you can monitor your energy usage for both. It is recommended that you check your electricity tariff to ensure you are getting the cheapest rate and a tariff that is suitable to your usage.

    Useful links

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