Making the most of your central heating

Content owner : Last updated : 05/03/11

Central heating will keep you and your family warm. It will help prevent condensation dampness and mould. If you use it properly, it can cost LESS than other kinds of heating.

Heating controls

Heating controls will keep your home at a comfortable temperature, making it warm when you want it but switching off when you don't. They include: a programmer, a room thermostat, a combined programmable room thermostat, a cylinder thermostat and thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs).

Making your heating work for you

It might seem like more trouble than its worth; learning how to make your heating system work as effectively and efficiently as possible. However, by spending just a little time setting the right temperature and ensuring that the system is only on when required, you will be able to cut your energy bills substantially.


Your central heating can keep you warm and comfortable at a reasonable cost if you follow some simple guidelines:

  • Set your room thermostat at a comfortable temperature (usually between 18 and 21) and then leave it. Don't be tempted to turn it up - it doesn't heat up your home any quicker.
  • Use the TRVs if you have them. Set them at the temperature you want for each room. The radiators will not be hot all the time. They will come on when needed to keep your room warm.
  • Set the time switch for when you want to be warm. This could be from 7am to 11pm if someone is in most of the day, or 7am to 8am and 4pm to 11pm if no one is home during the day.
  • Leave your heating to run itself. When your heating is running, the boiler is only on for short periods, just long enough to keep your home at the temperature you have chosen. The system is controlled by thermostats and a time clock, so you don't need to turn it on and off.
  • Keep your home warm. If your home gets cold, the boiler has to work hard - and use up gas - to warm it all up. But once everything is warm your boiler only needs to come on every now and then to keep it that way. Turning the heating on and off can cost you more than leaving it on. A little heating over a long time costs less than a lot of heat for a short time.

If you need more information on the setting of your heating controls or advice on being more energy efficient to help the environment and save money, contact the Energy Team.

Hot Water controls

Your water temperature doesnt need to be too high. Your hot water cylinder thermostat should be set at only 60C or 140F. Any higher is a waste of energy; any lower and there may be risks of legionella bacteria forming.

Your hot water should also be set to come on only when needed. It is a myth that its more efficient to leave your hot water on all the time. If you switch it on just in time to heat up the water for when you need it, it will use this amount of energy. But if you have the hot water on for any longer, you will need to keep adding energy to keep it warm. More energy means more money...

For most households the water will be switched on once for the morning and once for the evening. If your home has low hot water demand and a well insulated cylinder, it may be sufficient to have the hot water come on once just before you wake up only. That way enough warm water will be left over to clean the dishes in the evening. Experiment to see which works best.

Problems with your central heating

Before reporting a fault, please check the following:

  • Is the heating system turned on? There will normally be a switch near your boiler.
  • Is the timer set correctly? If you are unsure how to set your timer contact your housing team or the KNH Energy Team.
  • Is your room thermostat turned up to the required temperature?
  • Are your TRVs, if fitted, turned on?
  • Is your gas turned on? If you have a pre-payment or token meter, does it have credit?
  • If you have checked all the above and still cannot get the system to work, call the Repairs Call Centre.