How to improve boiler efficiency at home
02 February 2024
The purpose of the following advice is to provide useful tips for our Customers and is not designed to replace professional advice. It does not necessarily deal with every aspect of a topic and if you are in any doubt, you should consult a qualified expert for their help. You should never attempt to carry out any activity which may put you or others at risk or which may cause damage to your or anyone else's property and the activities described must not be attempted by anyone under the age of 18.
Always read any manuals and safety instructions alongside the advice.
Regular tidying, cleaning and general maintenance are some of the essential steps to take to keep your home comfortable and well-organised. This care also extends to your appliances and electronic goods, such as fridge, oven or washing machine to prolong their life span and make sure they work efficiently. But how often do you check the state of your boiler?
In fact, a boiler is one of the most important appliances in your household, providing you with heat and hot water, both essential for everyday life. However, maximising the boiler’s efficiency is not just about improving your comfort. It’s also a significant step towards reducing your energy consumption and minimising your environmental impact.
So, whether you’re a homeowner or a tenant, in today’s blog, you’ll learn how to improve boiler efficiency at home and get some useful tips on saving on utility bills.
Before diving into the tips on improving a boiler’s performance, it’s important to understand what efficiency is and how is it measured.
Boiler efficiency is a measure of how effectively a boiler converts the energy content of its fuel into usable heat. In other words, it shows how much of the fuel's energy is transformed into heat, and how much is lost as waste.
A higher boiler efficiency indicates that more of the energy from the fuel is being put to practical use, resulting in lower energy consumption and operating costs.
There are various factors that may affect your boiler efficiency, including:
- The size (output) of your boiler compared to the number of rooms and radiators in your property
- How old your boiler is, as older boilers tend to work less efficiently
- Whether your radiators are balanced properly
- Whether you are using the controls or thermostat optimally
- How well the boiler is maintained, including regular servicing and professional check-ups, as well as dusting and cleaning
Without regular boiler servicing, your heating system might perform below its standard, leading to increased energy costs as well as a higher risk of unexpected breakdowns and safety hazards.
Most experts recommend an annual boiler service. This routine check-up helps identify and address minor issues before they escalate, helping to ensure your boiler runs smoothly throughout the year.
If you are a Places for People customer, you’ll automatically get an annual boiler service, so it’s worth it to check your records or contact us to check when your next service is due. If not, you will want to get a professional Gas Safe registered heating engineer to do the service on your boiler.
Always refer to the manufacturer's guidelines, which may differ depending on the specific boiler model. Some manufacturers may recommend more frequent servicing to maintain the warranty and ensure optimal performance.
Alongside having your boiler professionally serviced, regular cleaning and maintenance can significantly improve its efficiency and prolong its life.
The best practice is to dust the exterior of the boiler by using a soft brush or cloth, removing accumulated dirt and debris. This will help the boiler maintain the heating system properly, preventing heat loss and combustion inefficiencies.
Bleeding radiators is a simple, yet very effective task to help improve your boiler efficiency and could also help keep your bills lower.
Why is it important to bleed radiators? Over time, air can become trapped within radiators, creating cold spots and reducing the overall efficiency of your heating system.
To find out which radiator in your house needs maintenance, turn on the heating and let everything cool down before switching it back on. Check if any of the radiators takes a while to heat up, or has cold spots on the surface.
Take a look at our guide on how to bleed a radiator.
After a boiler reaches the desired temperature, the hot water is pumped through pipes to the radiators. However, while carrying the water around the house, there's a risk of the piping system losing a significant amount of heat.
To reduce heat loss and save on energy costs, you might want to consider insulating the pipes that are accessible. While it may sound like a complex house job, pipe insulation is a relatively simple and cost-effective solution, with the foam tubes needed for insulation available in most DIY shops for an affordable price.
The benefits of insulation include:
- Reducing heat loss during water transportation
- Maintaining the water temperature as it travels from the boiler to radiators
- Preventing condensation and corrosion
- Energy savings and a more efficient heating system
Before the start of the winter, make sure you adjust the temperature settings on your boiler to match your actual heating needs.
Generally, the recommended output the boiler should reach to heat your house to a comfortable temperature is between 60 and 70°C and for hot water between 50 to 60°C. However, there are several factors that might affect your indoor temperature and heating needs, including:
- Insulation quality, including the attic, walls and floors
- Room size and layout
- Number of outside-facing walls
- Draughts and air leaks
Using a thermostat is the best way to control your indoor temperature and maintain comfort at home. Programmable thermostats can also help you optimise temperatures for different times of the day, aligning with your daily routines and temperature needs.
Finally, as strange as it sounds, doing a short summer heating switch-on can help your boiler tick over and be well prepared for the cold months.
Simply switch on the heating for about 15 minutes, letting hot water run through the central heating system. This will help prevent the boiler and all its parts from seizing up, ensuring that it remains in good working condition and ready to provide efficient heating when the winter months return.
However, don’t worry about turning the heating on too frequently – running the boiler once a month should be sufficient enough.
Overall, a boiler has a vital role in your household, and by looking after it throughout the year, you can improve its efficiency and extend its life span. So, whether it's regular servicing, cleaning or optimising temperature settings, even small adjustments can make a difference to efficiency and your energy bills.
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