In a bid to save money while still keeping warm, homeowners in the UK often wonder if they should run their boilers continuously throughout the day or periodically. There are many conflicting arguments out there that tend to leave the general population confused on what to do.
The reason for this is, leaving your boiler running continuously or on a period depends on factors such as insulation and the type of boiler you have.
After going through this article, hopefully, you should have a better understanding of some factors that determine if you can leave your boiler on or set it at programmable intervals. We also go over a few tips that can help you save money and establish a rhythm to how you would like your central heating and hot water.
Can You Save Money with the Boiler Running Continuously?
When you leave your boiler on throughout the day and night, your boiler works to ensure the temperature in your house remains as set on the thermostat.
Therefore, if you set your thermostat at 17 degrees, your boiler will be working to maintain your house at this temperature. If, however, you opt to have your boiler running say twice a day, in the morning and the evening, the boiler will heat up to your desired temperature before going off.
For the second option, you might save money as obviously no gas is being used throughout the day but how much you save depends. In the first option, Your savings might be limited considering the boiler is working hard to maintain your desired temperature.
Factors Determining if Your Boiler Should Run Continuously?
Two major factors determine if you should leave your boiler on continuously. These are Insulation and your Boiler Type.
- Insulation – If your house is well insulated with thermal paper, spray form or any other reliable insulation material, then you can run your boiler for a few hours before turning it off. Since there is minimal heat loss through the walls, windows or doors, then your home can be reasonably warm for a few extra hours. This will allow you to save money without sacrificing the comfort of a warm house.
If you have not insulated your home or you worry your space will be limited, then it makes sense to leave your boiler on for a few hours before switching it off. The strategy you employ will determine if you will save money or if you will lose money from a boiler straining to heat up an ice-cold house.
- Boiler Type – This is important because if you have a system or conventional boiler, then you have a hot water cylinder as well. This will go back to the insulation bit because if your cylinder is insulated, then you can run your boiler for a few hours to heat up the water before leaving it off. If your boiler is well insulated, then the cylinder should retain heat for a good length of time even in the coldest winter months.
Leaving your boiler running continuously with an uninsulated boiler could cost you more because the hot water in the cylinder loses heat and when it drops to a certain temperature, your boiler fires up again to reheat the water.
Is it Energy Efficient to Run Your Boiler 24/7?
Having covered the factors that determine the impact on leaving your boiler on continuously, let us look at the energy efficiency of either leaving the boiler off when not needed or running it throughout.
In a house that is not insulated, heat loss occurs very quickly and your boiler works extremely hard to keep the house warm. In essence, this is not energy efficient and your heating bills could go up significantly. According to the Energy Savings Trust, you can save up to £240 per year through loft insulation only. Imagine how much you could save by insulating your entire property and cumulatively how much that is over 5 years.
On the other end, switching off your boiler then running it a few times each day might not be the best idea either, regarding energy efficiency. The reason is, in a very cold house, your boiler will still have to work really hard to get your home to a comfortable temperature.
As a matter of fact, a boiler serviceman once ran a test and the findings were interesting. It turned out that increasing the temperature of a room from 15 degrees to 21 degrees consumed less gas compared to increasing the temperature in a stone-cold house. A similar test was done using an efficient boiler over a 12 hour period and the result showed it was less costly to leave your boiler on continuously than to switch it on and off.
Whether you want to run your boiler continuously or periodically, the key thing we have established is you will need proper insulation to save more on your energy bills. With good insulation, then it would be ideal to run your boiler periodically since the heat loss problem has been mitigated. As a result, your boiler would not be heating an extremely cold house from scratch. If you would like to up your energy efficiency efforts significantly, then you should invest in smart devices such as programmable thermostats or weather/load compensators. With these devices, you can operate your boiler remotely and prevent your home from freezing up.