How to save 18% on your fuel bills

Posted November 29, 2022 by Jon Matthews

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.