With summer just around the corner, there’s no better time than now to upgrade your heating system and improve your home’s energy efficiency. You may be wondering why, and why now? Well, not only does the energy efficiency of your home keep it warm in the winter, but it helps to keep it cool in the summer, on top of that you’ll want to carry out any upgrade whilst you’re not heavily reliant on your heating – and the warming weather helps with that!
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll tell you all you need to know about how and why to upgrade your heating, discussing the benefits of doing so along with some of our top tips for how to use your heating in the summer months. Read on below to learn more.
Why Upgrade Your Heating Now?
It may seem contradictory to upgrade your heating system right before the summer, since the warm temperatures cancel out the need for central heating – that’s the beauty of it, however. Since you aren’t as reliant on your heating system now that we’re working our way through spring and towards summer, it is the perfect time to upgrade it.
You will be able to comfortably go without your heating whilst it is being upgraded thanks to the warmer weather, especially if you have an electric shower and cold fill appliances (e.g. washing machines) that can still heat up water without being affected by the lack of a boiler. Furthermore, there will likely be less demand for plumbers and boiler technicians at this time, since many people do not think to improve their heating when they aren’t as reliant on it, so any repairs and replacements can be carried out in a shorter period of time.
By having upgrades completed now, then you can rest assured that your home’s energy efficiency will be improved for the next winter, so you can stay toasty warm at an affordable price without as much worry on whether energy prices will rise again, as they have previously. Not only this, but you can also reap the benefits of improving the energy efficiency of your home in the summer, also – not to stay warm, but to stay cool, which is much needed considering our homes are built to keep the heat in!
The Potential Heating Upgrades
It’s all very well improving your boiler, but this isn’t going to be as effective as it could be if there are other areas of your home that could also be improved. Rather than looking specifically at upgrading your main heating system, you should consider how to improve the overall energy efficiency of your home, as this is what will give you the most effective results for the most affordable price.
We’ve listed some of the improvements you could make below.
If you have an older boiler, then it is a good idea to upgrade this to a modern boiler, since these are more reliable and cheaper to run compared to a lot of older models. The most common boiler people opt for nowadays is a combi (combination) boiler, which gives you unlimited access to hot water, unlike conventional boilers, and heats both the water that runs through your taps and your central heating.
If you haven’t had your boiler upgraded since before 2005, then we strongly suggest you look into getting a new boiler. This is because all modern boilers since then are condensing boilers, which use 20-30% less electricity compared to the old standard ones and are more efficient since they recover heat from the exhaust flue gas to help heat the water inside.
One of the biggest improvements you can make to your home (if it is currently insufficient) is your insulation, whether that be loft insulation, cavity wall insulation or both. Insulation acts as a barrier that slows down the rate of heat transfer between the inside and outside of your home. This doesn’t just help to keep your home warm in the summer, but can also help to keep it cooler in the summer.
Since outside will be hotter than inside your home in the hot months, insulation will help to slow down the rate of heat transferring from outside to inside your home, keeping it cooler for longer. This is why improving your insulation is just as effective now as it is before the winter!
If you use a conventional boiler rather than a combi one, or even if you’re simply looking to just reduce your energy usage, then installing solar thermal panels is an excellent option. These convert energy from the sun into heat, which can warm fluid that runs through the panels to then heat up your home’s water.
This is a sustainable way to both save energy and save on your energy bills; solar thermal panels can produce up to 60% of your home’s hot water annually, with this being up to 100% in the summer months. Installing them ready for the summer ensures that you can utilise them to their maximum efficiency throughout the summer when the amount of solar energy we receive is abundant.
As a result of using solar thermal panels to heat up your water, this frees up the use of your boiler to be used more for your central heating without increasing your energy bills further, should you wish to benefit more from your heating without compromising for the sake of financial worries.
Heat pumps are an incredibly effective way of saving on your energy bills whilst keeping an optimum ambient temperature in your home throughout the year. They work by pumping heat from one place to another through the use of a compressor and a circulating structure of refrigerant, which works to extract heat from outside sources (such as the ground or the outside air) and transfer it into your home.
This process requires much less electricity compared to electric boilers and can often achieve an incredible efficiency rate. Not only this, but with many units this process can be reversed to transfer cool air into your home as opposed to hot air, meaning they can also double up as air conditioning units to keep your home cool in the summer as well as warm in the winter!
Summer Heating Tips
● Turn individual radiators off if you want to leave your central heating on (e.g. to dry clothes in an airing cupboard on rainy days).
● Turn your heating off ‘winter mode’ and adjust comfort/economy settings on your thermostat(s) to a lower temperature – this means your heating won’t come on unless your home reaches the programmed temperature.
● Change combi boiler settings to only provide hot water and not heating if you don’t plan on using it at all.
● Remember to run your central heating for a few minutes every few weeks/once a month to keep the system in working order.
● Have your heating serviced towards the end of summer to ensure it is in working order and ready to be relied upon again.
UK Energy Management
In the winter just gone, many families were forced to live in damp, cold conditions due to the energy crisis that meant they had to face the threat of financially crippling energy bills. At UKEM, we may not be able to stop the energy crisis or predict whether the same fate is in store this winter, but we can help to soften the blow if the same does happen again.
If you are struggling to stay on top of your energy bills or live in a home with a poor energy efficiency rating, then you may be eligible for financial help to upgrade your heating for free through the government-backed ECO4 funding scheme.
If you’re eligible, then we’ll take care of the hard work for you, applying on your behalf and carrying out any necessary installations in your home that are agreed upon by the scheme.
Get in touch with us today to check if you’re eligible and with any questions that you may have for us – we are here to help as best we can!