How to use boiler thermostats and heating controls

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Smart thermostats, boiler thermostats, and central heating room thermostats, oh my! There are lots of different controls to choose from, depending on what works for you and your home. Let’s take a look at what’s out there.


What are heating controls?

Heating controls are the clever way of keeping your home comfy and warm while cutting down on bills. They regulate the temperature of your home to suit you and your family’s needs.

Built-in boiler controls

Built-in boiler controls are the controls you’ll find on the front of your boiler that allow you to switch your boiler on and off, just like that. A standby setting normally uses no more than 10W meaning less wastage and lower bills.

This type of control manages the temperature of the water in your radiators and also your showers and taps. And, if you have a combi boiler and don’t want the heating on but still want hot water, you can easily turn one on without the other.

Built-in boiler controls are useful if you want to turn everything off – when you’re going away, for example. But they may not be the best option for everyday control, particularly if you have a boiler that’s hidden up in the loft or squeezed in a hard-to-reach place.

Programmable Boiler timers and heating controls

Programmable boiler timers, often just called heating controls, make heating your home even easier, using set schedules to automatically turn the heating on and off when you need it. This is useful for fitting alongside your family’s daily plans and for when your needs change as the seasons do. Not only is it great for reducing your energy waste, but it’s also an easy way to keep your home warm and cosy when it’s most important.

This type of heating control can be found attached to your boiler or is often a separate box stored somewhere discreet, like an airing cupboard. If you have a combi boiler, you’ll most likely find two dials on the front of it – one for the temperature of your radiators and the other for your hot water.

Central heating room thermostats

Central heating room thermostats are probably the first thing that come to mind when we say heating controls.

The thermostat is traditionally separate to the boiler timer but they work together to keep the temperature in your home just right. Your thermostat constantly monitors the temperature of your home and turns the boiler off when it reaches your target temperature.

Central heating room thermostats tend to come as a compact plastic box which you can either fix to the wall or move around your home. This can be really useful if you want to turn the heating off downstairs at night but keep it warm in the bedrooms, for example.

So, how does a room thermostat work? When your heating is set to ‘on’ via your boiler timer, your central heating is then controlled by your thermostat. Set your target temperature for the room and your boiler will automatically come on when your home drops below it, and then go off once it’s heated back up again.

This means you can keep your home comfortable; not too hot and not too cold. And, as your heating’s less likely to be on when you don’t need it, you can save money on your energy bills too.

It’s important to install central heating room thermostats the right way, otherwise they may give you the wrong reading. If you’re unsure how to install a thermostat for central heating correctly, just keep in mind that they work better somewhere where they won’t misread the temperature of your home and over or under-heat your house. So avoid putting it next to appliances, near windows or behind curtains and keep it in the room you want to be the warmest.

Smart thermostats

Smart thermostats are great for any home and easily connect up to your current boiler. They bring your boiler controls and thermostat together into one device and allow you to control your heating from your smartphone, wherever you are. So that you can make sure it’s comfy and cosy when you’re in and keep costs down when you’re out.

With Hive Active Heating, our very own smart thermostat, you can set alerts, program, and change settings as and when you like. Set these using voice command, or remotely via the app. So when you’re on your way back from work, it’s a simple tap of a button and you can relax knowing a warm and welcoming home awaits.

Another real bonus of smart thermostats is you can link them up to work together with your other smart tech. For example, sync with smart motion sensors, so that the heating wakes up when you do. Just remember that your smart thermostat needs to be installed in a spot that has good WiFi connectivity for it to work best.

Zonal heating

Zonal heating is another really efficient option, because you can choose different areas to be heated at different times. With Hive Multizone, you can control the heating in different parts of your home. This means you only need to heat the areas you’re using.

For example, you can program zonal heating controls so it’s warm in communal areas like the sitting room when everyone gets home. But the heating stays off in the bedrooms until later on in the evening.

Make sure to set thermostats in bedrooms at night between 16-19 degrees, and rooms being used in the day between 19-20 degrees.

Get control of your home heating the smart way, find out more about our award-winning smart thermostat, Hive Active Heating, in our range of Smart Heating products.

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