Are you spending more money than you should on your heating bills?
The immediate answer is, of course, ‘yes’. The cost of living crisis has all of us spending way more than we should on heating our homes, which is why it’s so important to be aware of the cost-cutting measures we CAN control.
If you haven’t heard of thermostatic radiator valves, it’s a good time to get familiar.
Thermostatic radiator valves, or TRVs for short, allow you to have more control over your home’s temperature while also saving up to 18% on energy costs. TRVs automatically adjust how much heat is released into a room from the radiator by sensing the temperature of the environment.
Thousands of households in the UK already have TRVs installed, but are failing to actually use them properly. It’s never been more important to knuckle down on where we’re spending unnecessary money, so don’t waste any on heating your home this winter.
Aquila’s Managing Director, Jon Matthews, has said: “There’s been times our engineers have gone into large properties where people have spent £600 having all these valves installed, and we’ve gone back the following year and they’ve set all the valves to 5.
“There’s a misconception that the higher you turn the valves, the quicker the room will heat up,” he continued.
“But that’s not the case – it’s a thermostat, so it will keep that radiator open and banging out heat until it reaches the set desired temperature. Having them all on 5 means you may as well not have them installed at all because they’ll never turn off.”
In short, thermostatic radiator valves are individual dials, usually numbered 0 – 6, which can be manually twisted and are fitted to all the separate radiators in a property. The valve adjusts the flow of water from the boiler to the radiator and therefore controls the air temperature of each individual room in the home. This allows residents to avoid wasting money heating less-used spaces such as hallways, or in kitchens which are often organically heated by cooking appliances.
Need a little help in setting your valves up properly? Aquila have put together a guide to make sure you’re getting the most out of your TRVs:
TRV set-up guide
As we all feel the cold or heat slightly differently, setting up your TRVs can be a bit of trial and error.
Below is a guide to walk you through the initial set-up, but you may find that you need to tweak things a little after a trial period.
A recap of how TRVs work
When central heating is turned on in homes or businesses without TRVs, they will be heating the entire property all of the time; wasting energy, creating higher fuel bills and potentially causing discomfort to the occupants due to overheating.
TRVs should always be used in conjunction with a heating timer and master thermostat to ensure the boiler is turned off when heating is not required or when the whole property has achieved its desired temperature.
Most of us generally only occupy 2 or 3 rooms in our homes – for example the kitchen, living room and bedroom – and tend to prefer different temperatures in these individual rooms.
For instance, most people prefer to have the living room hotter than their bedroom. Other rooms, such as spare bedrooms, dining rooms and spare reception rooms, can have the temperatures reduced when not being used, which ultimately saves energy and money. While these assumptions are a general rule of thumb, you will need to tailor any proposed settings to your own personal needs and property.
Recommended TRV settings
Danfoss, one of the largest manufacturers of TRVs and other heating controls, recommends the following settings as a general rule, however it’s worth just checking the instructions for your own brand of TRVs for more accurate setting information as they do vary:
- 0 – OFF
- * – 8°C Frost Protection
- I – 12°C Cool / Frost Protection (unused rooms)
- II – 16°C Bedrooms
- III – 20°C Living Room / Kitchen
- IIII – 24°C Bathrooms
- IIIII – ON, No Temperature Control
Once you have set up each room and adjusted the valves to suit your own individual preferences, try not to adjust them any further until the summer when you can turn them off. It may be worth keeping TRVs on in bathrooms throughout the summer to reduce the risk of dampness in the rooms and keep towels dry.
Remember: Turning a valve from III to IIIII will not make the room heat up quicker and will normally cause the room to overheat and waste energy. Take a look at Danfoss’ video on TRVs to learn more.
Earlier this month, new regulations for carbon monoxide detectors came into effect, and we are offering to install a free carbon monoxide detector in every rental property visited by our engineers between now and the new year, in an effort to ensure every home is compliant with the new rules.
The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022 is an update to 2015 regulations that states that all relevant landlords must ensure at least one smoke alarm is equipped on each story of their homes, and a carbon monoxide alarm is equipped in any room used as living accommodation where there is a fixed combustion appliance, such as gas heaters and boilers. Landlords who fail to comply could be fined up to £5,000.
Landlords are also now required by law to repair or replace any alarm which is found to be faulty. The law applies to private rentals and registered providers of social housing, in a bid to create parity for all tenants in the UK.
These amended regulations have been added to the pre-existing requirement to ensure that a smoke alarm is fitted on every storey of a rental property where there is a room used as living accommodation.
Understandably, landlords are seeking ways to be more cost-efficient in light of the impending recession. However, when it comes to gas safety, it’s important not to cut corners. The reputation of carbon monoxide as a ‘silent killer’ sadly, isn’t just hype: in 2020 alone, 41 people died from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, and many more fell ill.*
What we’re noticing is a “bare minimum” culture when it comes to the safety and maintenance of rental properties, which could pose major health risks for tenants. For example, we’ve witnessed engineers write a gas safety certificate without even leaving their van. That certificate is simply a snapshot of the boiler’s current state – it doesn’t represent its efficiency, or its likelihood of needing repairs. Given the stakes for tenants being so high, this is a shocking example of how dismissive landlords can be. We are hopeful that this new legislation will go some way to improving that.
Moreover, we recognise that we as a business have a part to play in helping our local community. As a result, we have implemented a price freeze on all boilers and services this winter, which we hope will go some way to helping households and landlords combat the rising cost of living. This, plus the new alarms, should go some way to keeping people safe and warm this winter.
A culture of care
We continue to champion the highest standards when it comes to gas safety, but fear others don’t share this approach. We have worked across a range of schemes historically including Eco Affordable Warmth Scheme to support homeowners, landlords and tenants but have continued to encounter a recurring theme of cost-cutting over delivering quality. The free carbon monoxide alarm scheme, we hope, will encourage landlords and tenants to take gas safety seriously, in line with the new legislation.
Our offer to landlords
We will supply and fit carbon monoxide alarms, however landlords installing the alarms themselves should follow the individual manufacturer’s instructions. In general, carbon monoxide alarms should be positioned at head height, approximately 1-3 meters away from a potential source of carbon monoxide, ideally on a shelf or cabinet.
The regulations do not stipulate the type of alarms (such as mains powered (‘hard wired’) or battery powered) that should be installed, or where the alarms should be placed.
Landlords should choose the type of carbon monoxide alarms based on the needs of their building and their tenants, and that those alarms are compliant with British Standards BS 50291. Where battery-powered alarms are selected, alarms with ‘sealed for life’ batteries rather than alarms with replaceable batteries, are the better option.
Are you a landlord that needs help to meet the new carbon monoxide alarm regulations? Get in touch with the Aquila team and we’ll book you in for your free fitting.
Office of National Statistics 2020*
Hot, sticky, muggy, close, moist, sweaty – all the things we get to enjoy during British summertime. The epic heatwaves continue and are only going to get more intense each year, so it’s about time we got used to it right? Climate Change means us Brits are feeling the heat more than ever and we’re all looking for ways to stay cooler in the summer, dreaming of those cool air-conditioned shops and offices as we open yet another box of choc-ices.
Tips to make your room cooler
With the cost of living at an all-time high and that glorious British sunshine getting hotter by the day it seems, we’ve collected up some top tips for how to keep your home cool if you’re not yet ready to install air conditioning.
1.) Keep curtains and blinds closed
The ambient temperature in a room doesn’t just increase on its own – sunlight streaming in through windows can warm a room pretty quickly to uncomfortable temperatures.
Closing your blinds and curtains can go a surprisingly long way to keeping a room cool, even in the height of summer. Blackout curtains that completely block the sun will help the most, but most curtains and blinds will make a difference. If you want a room to be cool when you get up in the morning, you should also remember to close the blinds and curtains before you go to bed – especially in rooms with east-facing windows which will catch the sun in the early hours of the morning.
2.) Windows – shut or open?
If you’re trying to cool a room you will probably want to open a window to let in a lovely, cooling breeze… but in fact, this depends on the temperature outside compared to inside your home. In the heat of the day, when the temperature outside is high, opening a window will let that warmer air in and won’t do much to keep you cool. You should keep windows shut during the hot daylight hours, but open them later in the evening to let the cooler air in.
3.) Shut doors to rooms that are not being used
Shutting unused doors is a key part of cooling a living space or work environment – basically, a smaller volume of air in each room gives you more control over how warm or cool the air in that area is. So close the doors of any rooms you aren’t using or don’t intend to use, and you will find it easier to make a difference by following the other cooling tips.
4.) Use a fan to create a cross-breeze
Fans can be really helpful in making a room more comfortable. Although strictly speaking fans move air around rather than chilling it directly, clever use of fans can make a real difference. Create a cross-breeze by placing the fan in a naturally cooler area and angling towards a warmer part of the room or house. You can also turn a standard fan into a makeshift cooling unit by putting a bowl of ice in front of it – as the ice melts the fan will gently distribute a mist of cooling water droplets around the room. Don’t forget your kitchen or bathroom extractor fans, either – turning them on can actually help to get rid of warm, humid air and cool your home.
5.) Cut down on your use of electrical appliances
In baking hot weather you quickly realise how much heat electrical appliances can put out. Ovens, cooker hobs and kettles are obvious culprits, but other kitchen appliances such as your washing machine and dryer, as well as televisions, laptops and desktop computers can all contribute to making your rooms warmer. Try to avoid using heat-generating appliances until the cooler hours of the evening if possible. When it comes to cooking, there’s always the opportunity to eat more salads and cooling snacks… or it could be a great excuse to crack out the barbecue!
6.) Choose natural fibre bedding to keep cool
Keeping cool and comfortable isn’t just about lowering the temperature of your home. We all prefer to wear lighter, more breathable materials in the heat… and the same should apply to your bedding! Natural cotton or linen sheets will help keep you cool and get a good night’s sleep. You might also want to invest in a specially designed cooling pillow or gel pad that you can slip inside your pillowcase. It’s also worth considering switching between a winter and summer duvet. 4.5 Tog duvets are recommended for hotter weather, so purchasing a lower tog duvet for the summer and a higher tog for the winter not only cools you down in the heat but also keeps you toasty when the weather turns.
7.) Use a dehumidifier
Temperature isn’t the only thing that can make warm weather stifling, sticky and uncomfortable. Humidity also plays a part, and we’re no stranger to a humid summer here in the UK. Using a dehumidifier will reduce the moisture levels in the air and, while it won’t directly cool a room, it can help your home feel a bit less sticky in the heat.
8.) Insulate your home
It may seem odd to talk about insulation in relation to cooling your home, but just like a thermos flask can keep drinks either hot or cold, good quality household insulation will help keep your home cool in summer as well as warm in winter. It can also be worth looking into “weatherstripping”. With a relatively small amount of expense and effort, you can seal up gaps around your windows and doors, which ultimately gives you better, more efficient control of the temperature of your home.
9.) Heat pump technology
So if you’re not quite ready to invest in Air Con, this might not be the option for you, but heat pumps provide a longer-term solution to your warming woes. Widely used in Scandinavia and parts of Europe, the heat pump is a highly energy-efficient technology compared to traditional boilers and, what’s more, many types feature reversible heat flow which means that as well as providing eco-friendly heating during the colder months, it can also be used to cool buildings in the summer. Our article on the difference between boilers and heat pumps provides more information on the pros and cons of each system.
Whilst we’re all sweating (though hopefully a little less now) in the heat, now is the best time to consider preparing your home for winter by getting your boiler serviced or spreading the cost of installing a new, more energy-efficient boiler in your home on a pay-monthly finance plan. Get in touch with the Aquila team and we’ll be happy to provide more information on preparing for the next of the extreme seasons with new offers on Combi Boiler swaps!
Replacing a gas boiler isn’t the most exciting home upgrade you’ll ever make, but it might just be the most important.
Even if you’ve taken good care of your unit through regular servicing, the boiler won’t last forever. A registered Gas Safe engineer will be required to complete the new boiler install, not least because you need a gas safety certificate. Here’s what you can expect from the process.
How long does a boiler install take?
In today’s climate, it is almost certain that you will be looking to add a new combi gas boiler. As such, the timeframes are fairly standard, irrespective of the type of boiler you currently have. Before starting the process, you should be prepared for a survey. This can take place through a home visit or a video consultation while our engineer will provide a quote on the cost and times expected. This usually takes less than an hour.
Following this, your boiler install will include the removal of your old boiler, removal of waste for recycling as well as the installation of the new one.
At Aquila Heating, we understand that swapping/upgrading your boiler can be disruptive and you can sometimes you can be left without heating and/or hot water for several days, therefore at Aquila we always aim to have the following works carried out in 1 day.
- Replacing an old combi boiler with a new combi boiler
- Replacing an old system boiler or regular boiler with a combi boiler
- Replacing a back boiler with a combi boiler
What complexities could extend the duration?
All of the above time scales are accurate even when you want to move your boiler to a new location or if your gas pipe requires upgrading from 15mm to 22 or 28mm. If there are additional factors such as new radiators, valves or complex wiring for smart controls, we would expect a further 1/2 to a full day, but still with aim of restoring heating and hot water by the end of the 1st day of installation.
Whichever service is used, your Gas Safe registered engineer will also dispose of the old boiler in a safe manner while additionally cleaning all mess from your property. To learn more, call Aquila Heating and Plumbing on 01925 234 450 now.
You’ve probably heard of the debate between boilers and heat pumps, with boilers being the established heating systems across the UK, and heating pumps coming in as the new technology on the block. Here’s a look at the differences between boilers and heat pumps.
How does your boiler stack up against a heat pump?
The main heat pump benefit is their role as a renewable energy source, with a better carbon footprint.
Heat pumps also have a COP score of up to 3, meaning that every unit of energy you put into running one may return as much as three times that amount of energy as heat.
You can also have heat pump installation subsidised, thanks to the UK government’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme, which offers each household up to £5,000 for eco-friendly heating installation.
- Heat pumps draw heat from the environment, so they are most efficient in summer and least efficient in winter.
- Heat pumps don’t do too well in poorly insulated, older homes — which includes many of the UK’s residences.
- Heat pumps are larger and louder than boilers.
- A broad range of individuals find that heat pumps don’t heat their homes adequately, and there are few heat pump engineers out there to do repairs.
- Boilers are trustworthy, and will provide consistent heating all year round, no matter what the weather outside is like.
- Boiler repairs are also much easier to undertake, as huge numbers of engineers are qualified to handle boiler repair and boiler service work.
- For draughty older homes, gas boilers can be more effective at keeping things warm.
- Finally, boilers are smaller and quieter than heat pumps.
Gas boilers may be less sustainable as time goes on, in light of UK government carbon targets and plans.
If you are currently comparing heat pumps and gas boilers it is worth noting the following facts:
- Boilers are significantly less energy-efficient than heat pumps, in cases where heat pumps are performing at their best.
- Air Source heat pumps (ASP) cost more than double that of a gas boiler to run as demonstrated by Oftec.
- Boiler manufacturers have created boilers that have the potential to work using future fuels. For example, the current range of highly efficient gas boilers, by Worcester Bosch’s already have the potential to run on a 20% hydrogen blend.
It is possible that a combination of heat pumps and boilers may be the best solution in the future.
If you are looking to replace your boiler, the highly skilled and knowledgeable engineers at Aquila Plumbing are always happy to help.
Does your gas and heating bill regularly make you cry each month? If so, then you might want to consider taking a few steps to correct this issue. If your gas bill has risen suddenly, it’s possible there’s a problem here that needs to be corrected.
Check Your Boiler
First, you should check your boiler to make sure that there aren’t any issues that could be causing your high bill. It’s difficult to know whether there is a problem so you should definitely contact a Gas Safe registered engineer to check this out for you. It’s possible that your boiler might require maintenance, or you could need a new boiler to get your heat levels to the right point. A new boiler will always provide a far more efficient solution.
Improve Your Insulation
Do you constantly feel draughts in your home? If so, then it’s likely that the property has a poor level of insulation. This can lead to unusually high heating bills because your heating needs more energy to keep the home at the right temperature. The right contractor will be able to improve the insulation of your home. Alternatively, you can think about making your own changes such as adding thicker curtains or draught excluders to rooms where you are losing heat.
Think About Your Water Usage
Lastly, make sure that you are thinking about how you are using your water. It’s possible that your thermostat is set at quite a high temperature for your water. Turn it down a few degrees and you’ll immediately notice a change to the bill.
The future of home heating has been a hot topic in the news recently, with a lot of speculation about the future of gas boilers. We want to update you on what we are doing and help you to understand what the government targets really mean and the affect this will have on the future of gas boilers.
As a leading manufacturer of heating and hot water systems for homes in the UK, Worcester Bosch is continuing to invest in the technologies of the future so that when the time comes to change our heating systems, you can rest assured that Worcester Bosch will be there to provide all of the heating and hot water requirements needed.
With the Heat Pump Grant announced by the government, it seems that might be the way to go, but this isn’t necessarily true. Heat pumps have requirements that must be met to operate efficiently and may not be the best option for your home.
Call Aquila Heating & Plumbing today and we can personally recommend a solution that is both future proof, effective and great value today.
No matter the size of your home, getting a boiler system that will best suit your home is something that will make a difference. Having hot water and heating on demand can be required for some, whereas being able to have plenty of hot water all at the same time may be a need for others. So, what are the options for you, which is most efficient, and the differences between them all?
A combi boiler is a boiler system that works well in homes that want to have hot water and heating available on demand and instantly. They can be suited to most homes, especially smaller homes, as they don’t require you to install a hot water cylinder.
A regular boiler is a boiler system that is designed to provide hot water and heating, especially all at the same time. This is a boiler system that would suit a larger family home or perhaps a student house where multiple people could be using hot water at the same time.
A system boiler is a boiler system that works with a hot water cylinder, but it doesn’t have a hot water heat exchanger. System boilers do tend to be found in large and busy homes where the demand for hot water and heating is high. Through the use of a hot water cylinder, a system boiler can give you hot water for the home constantly, rather than offering it on-demand like a combi boiler would.
It may be hard to believe, but winter is just around the corner. With it will come freezing cold temperatures, snowstorms, and other unforgiving weather conditions. To prepare for these inevitable changes in temperature, you can improve your home’s energy efficiency by servicing your boiler before the winter arrives. This article discusses some of the benefits of this process so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not it is something worth doing.
An essential benefit of servicing your boiler before the winter is to improve its energy efficiency. If you neglect to service it and let sediment build-up, this will decrease the boiler’s overall performance.
Another great thing about getting your heating system serviced during the autumn is that any repairs necessary will be done before the cold weather arrives! Not only does this save you money on having someone come out multiple times throughout the colder months, but it also prevents major expenses from occurring if there are larger issues with your heating unit that need immediate attention.
One final reason why now may be a good time to look into getting your boiler service is that you’ll be able to identify any major repairs or replacements in the near future. If you neglect it and let issues build-up, these problems will become more difficult and expensive to repair as time goes on. Money-wise this can be a great thing because you won’t have to worry about finding money for such an important part of your home’s heating system.
It can be scary and daunting when you notice that your boiler is leaking. You’ll want to take action quickly and ensure the problem doesn’t escalate. But what exactly should you do? That’s what we’re going to discuss today, so read on and find out more about precisely that.
Ensure the Leak Doesn’t Cause Damage
The first thing you should be focused on is dealing with the initial problem in front of you. You probably don’t want that water damaging your floors or anything else nearby in the home, so move things out of the way and collect the water in a bucket. Of course, you should also turn the water supply off ASAP and keep the heating off too.
Identifying the Type of Boiler Leaks
It’s not too difficult to spot what type of leak you’re dealing with. Water leaks are obvious, and they’re the least urgent type of leak and also the most common. In rare instances, boilers might leak oil or gas, and if this happens you should call a qualified professional quickly to deal with the emergency.
Should You Fix It?
It’s rarely a good idea to try and fix a leaking boiler by yourself, unless you’re a qualified heating engineer. The safest and most stable outcomes will come when you hire a professional heating engineer to get the work done for you. They’ll know what to do and how to do it safely. When it comes to boilers and heating systems, it’s never a good idea to take risks. So, if you need any assistance, call us here at Aquila Heating & Plumbing Ltd.