Ryan Gill, Engineer
31 Jan : Updated 10 May ● 5 min read
Programming your boiler to heat your home up to specific temperatures, and only when you need it, maintains a comfortable home environment while saving on energy bills. When it’s colder outside, heat is lost quickly, especially in poorly insulated homes, so scheduling your boiler to come on at set times is important for energy savings.
With this in mind, the team at BOXT researched how Brits typically schedule their boilers and the average temperature they set their heating to across the day. To find out if you can save on heating bills by changing your boiler temperature and programming, continue reading.
The research revealed that, on average, Brits set their daytime temperature to 19.9°C. 2.4% of the surveyed participants had their central heating set at temperatures above 22°C.
BOXT recommends an ideal daytime temperature of 18°C to 21°C, to remain comfortable indoors whilst saving money on energy bills.
According to Uswitch, households could save around £80 per year by simply turning their heating down by 1°C. With an average daytime temperature of 19.9°C, you could trial turning your heating down by 2°C to maintain a comfortable home temperature while saving £160 per year.
The research revealed that Brits set their nighttime heating to 18.1°C on average. Although this is a relatively low figure, Brits could still benefit from turning the thermostat down by up to 2°C.
According to The Sleep Charity, the ideal room temperature for a comfortable night’s sleep is between 16°C to 18°C. To achieve this temperature, homeowners can reduce the temperature on the thermostat or turn radiators/the boiler off temporarily at night. Avoid temperatures above 24°C, and below 12°C as temperatures that are too high or too low can impact your deep REM sleep and cause restlessness.
The Sleep Charity states “your body heat peaks late afternoon and then starts to drop in the evening to prepare your body for sleep, kickstarting melatonin production. An ideal bedroom temperature is around 16-18°C (60-65°F).” An exception is “young children and elderly people (who) may require a slightly warmer environment.”
The study revealed that 64% of participants set their nighttime temperature either below or above 16°C to 18°C. Only 36% of the surveyed participants set their nighttime temperature to the recommended range. If your bedroom temperature is 18°C or above and you feel tired or restless at night, reducing the room temperature could result in a better night's sleep and lower energy bills too.
Andy Kerr, the co-founder of BOXT, said: “During winter, it can be tempting to crank up the thermostat. But experimenting with different temperatures can both reduce energy bills and potentially lead to a better night’s sleep.
“Instead of setting one temperature across the whole day, try switching between daytime and nighttime temperatures, as this may make you more comfortable at home and also reduce your energy usage.
“Smart thermostats make this especially easy to program.”
BOXT’s research found that only 27.3% of surveyed participants scheduled their boilers, with 12.6% programming their heating to come on in the morning and evening, and 14.6% scheduling specific times throughout the day.
The survey revealed that 21.3% of participants leave their heating on permanently, while 51.4% don’t schedule their boiler at all.
Of those who didn’t schedule their boilers, the majority turned the heating on according to demand, which in some cases meant that participants rarely had the heating on.
Andy Kerr continued: “To minimise instances where you leave the heating on accidentally or let the home get too warm, try scheduling specific times and temperatures throughout the day. You can also use a smart home thermostat, like the Google Nest, to create a schedule based on your home heating preferences.
“Leaving the heating on permanently can lead to a rise in energy bills. In properties with less insulation, heat is quickly lost in the colder months, so scheduling your heating to come on just before you come home from work will save a significant amount of money, and may not alter the indoor temperature you arrive to by much.”
To ensure optimum comfort and a reduction on energy bills, BOXT suggests the optimal boiler calendar as demonstrated by the graphic below.
BOXT suggests leaving the boiler on between the times of 6.30AM and 10.30PM, turning the boiler off or reducing the temperature whenever you leave home or go to work. This will make sure your boiler is both effective and efficient.
Your boiler can be turned on or up to daytime temperature half an hour before waking up, making it cosy enough to leave the quilt behind. The temperature should be reduced or the boiler turned off half an hour before going to bed, to prepare the body for a restful night’s sleep.
Further energy savings can be made by reducing the boiler temperature when residents leave the home. The Google Nest detects when you’re away from home, and alters the temperature using this information. You can also change the temperature from your phone if you leave or arrive at home unexpectedly.
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BOXT commissioned a survey of over 500 UK participants via UK forums.