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Gas central heating on constant or timer?
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# 1
crockpot
Old 13-02-2008, 4:29 PM
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Default Gas central heating on constant or timer?

Hi

A bloke at work was told by heating engineer that it was better, ie cheaper to keep heating on all the time, I had heard this before, but the chap I asked said not!!

I have an old gas central heating boiler (potterton) which I am ashamed to admit I have not had serviced for 10 years!! since we moved in!!

I am into MSE and only put the central heating on when needed, I see no point it having it on in an am when most days we are out at work and school.

So which is cheaper, on all the time in winter I guess,rad`s all have thermos on so could turn them all down?

Thanks
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# 2
danz0l
Old 13-02-2008, 5:20 PM
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i'd like to know this too. We have just recently turned to timed hot water and turning up the central heating when needed (although the latter is only constant at around 20o).
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# 3
Gorgeous George
Old 13-02-2008, 6:44 PM
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I'm not sure that you will get a conclusive answer on this one.

I have tried both and found that it made little difference.

Leaving the heating on all the time means that your walls and furniture etc., stay warm and the heating can be left at a lower, comfortable temperature.

Put the heating on only when needed and your walls and furniture need to be heated. To get warm, you need it on higher.

People will argue either way and the argments are convincing. As I say, I tried it and found little difference but it was hardly a scientific experiment.

GG
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# 4
Cardew
Old 14-02-2008, 2:05 AM
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looked at from every possible angle it is cheaper to have it on a timer; no question, there should be no debate(but there always is)

This question has been asked on this forum time and again.

Look at the Energy Saving Trust and they are categoric - a timer is cheaper!

Look at the laws of Physics and that proves a timer is cheaper!

If it is cheaper to leave something heated all the time,(because the mistaken theory states it takes more heat to warm from cold) why don't we leave our kettle boiling all the while, or our gas oven switched on all the time. It is exactly the same principle - albeit more extreme.

Timer Timer Timer - always cheaper. Absolutely no argument!(but someone will no doubt have conducted an experiment with his heating bills that proves the laws of thermodynamics are wrong!!!!)
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# 5
Conor
Old 14-02-2008, 2:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cardew View Post
If it is cheaper to leave something heated all the time,(because the mistaken theory states it takes more heat to warm from cold) why don't we leave our kettle boiling all the while, or our gas oven switched on all the time. It is exactly the same principle - albeit more extreme
Basic laws of physics state that it takes far more energy to heat to warm from cold than it does to heat from warm to slightly warmer. In addition to that, heat rises so for quite a while when the heating comes on, most of the energy is spent heating the volume of air above head height so it takes longer for you to feel any benefit. Don't believe me? When the thermostat clicks off as it gets to temperature, measure the air temperature at the height of the thermostat then measure it at ceiling height. You'll find a noticable difference. Just think of how much time the heating has been running and heating the ceiling as it brings the air temp at lower heights up to the set level every time the timer is set to come back on. With "always on", that period doesn't exist. The only time there's benefits with using the timer is if there are really long periods where the house is unoccupied and heating not required, say a single period of 8-10 hours a day. (that's 8-10 off, not how long you're out the house)

The oven and kettle analogy is broken because of usage patterns but you'll find that in high use situations (restaurants for example), the boiler and the ovens are left running constantly.

Last edited by Conor; 14-02-2008 at 2:59 AM.
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# 6
SP1
Old 14-02-2008, 9:32 AM
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Hi

Try looking at my previous post

Last edited by SP1; 06-06-2008 at 7:24 AM.
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# 7
Calvin_2k
Old 14-02-2008, 11:18 AM
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I work for an energy company and speak to customers everyday who think its cheaper to leave the heating/ immersion heater on all day.

Its not! Get a timer.
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# 8
Conor
Old 14-02-2008, 12:27 PM
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Working for an energy company is no indicator of expertise to back up your statement.

In fact it could be inferred that they've misinformed you so you to tell customers this as they've a vested interest in a customer increasing their consumption.
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# 9
Ken68
Old 14-02-2008, 2:49 PM
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You would need to ventilate the place, at some time, anyway.
Little point in running the heating and having the windows open.
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# 10
Gorgeous George
Old 14-02-2008, 6:00 PM
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Water is pumped around the radiators. If the house is cold, the water returned to the boiler is cool. If the house is warm, the water returning to the boiler is warm. It doesn't cost much to bring warm water to the heating temperature.

I guess it would also depend on how long you want the house warmed.

My parents use E7 radiators. Their home is always warm and costs no more than my GCH home which is on a timer.

GG
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Last edited by Gorgeous George; 14-02-2008 at 6:03 PM.
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# 11
tomstickland
Old 14-02-2008, 6:05 PM
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Quote:
Basic laws of physics state that it takes far more energy to heat to warm from cold than it does to heat from warm to slightly warmer. In addition to that, heat rises so for quite a while when the heating comes on, most of the energy is spent heating the volume of air above head height so it takes longer for you to feel any benefit. Don't believe me?
Yes, but what's been keeping the warm things warm all day?

Basic physics says that heat flow is proportional to temperature difference.

If you think you can save energy by already having the house warm then it would be good practice to leave the heating on all the time if you ever go away for a week or two, because then the house will already be quite warm when you get home, thus saving energy in having to heat a house from cold.
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# 12
space rider
Old 14-02-2008, 8:00 PM
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When I lived in an older property, ie 1930`s semi I used to leave my heating on all the time and used the room temperature thermostat to keep the temperature to around 18 when I wasn`t at home. I would then put it up to around 24 when I got home. Now I am in house that is only 2 years old I use the timer and have it come on an hour before I need it. As it`s a new boiler I don`t see the need to keep it on.

Regarding the immersion heater. That is more expensive to leave on. I used to advise customers on their electric use and I have never yet had a customer ring to say they did not see a reduction in their electric once they stopped having it on all the time.
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# 13
Calvin_2k
Old 14-02-2008, 10:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Conor View Post
Working for an energy company is no indicator of expertise to back up your statement.

In fact it could be inferred that they've misinformed you so you to tell customers this as they've a vested interest in a customer increasing their consumption.
No but it does mean I speak with many many more customers that someone who doesn't.

Yes I'm sure they energy company have lied to me, I guess the same goes for my friend who is a heating engineer.

You don't have to believe me. Sticking your heating on constantly and in three months the bill will speak for itself.
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# 14
Conor
Old 15-02-2008, 12:59 AM
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I have, the bills are the same as last year but it's not freezing cold when I get home.
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# 15
Cardew
Old 15-02-2008, 2:55 AM
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I have no difficulty with anyone stating what they believe - lots of people believed the earth was flat - and doubtless some still do!!

I really have difficulty with people who try to use the laws of physics to support their false arguments.

To imply that restaurants leave their boilers and ovens on all the time for reasons of economy is absurd - it is purely for convienience!

I sometimes think that people post such nonsense purely to be mischievious!
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# 16
X1GVC
Old 08-05-2008, 2:42 PM
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Default Cnetral Heating - Constant or Timed

I have read the posts on this topic with some interest as a question that is often discussed with varying thoughts and ideas. The reference to physics is particularly interesting. The answer is of course to use timers.

The transfer of heat from our homes is a function of the driving force between the two bodies. To keep it simple let's say for arguments say that during the colder months the ambient outdoor temperature is a 6C. For the purpose of a house we can assume everything to be at uniform temperature as would be the case at steady state. The driving force for temperature change is the difference between the two bodies. The higher the difference the higher the rate of transfer.

Based on this a home at a constant 18C loses more energy to a 6C surrounding (outdoor temperature) than a home that is say 18C for 2hrs on the morining and perhaps 4hrs on an evening. During the times between the temperature of the home is either reducing or increasing based on the timer settings. At these times the loss of heat from the home is less than would be the case for a home at constant high temperature, therefore you save money on your fuel bill.

If you really want to save money then spend your efforts on reducing heat loss from your home as this directly reduces heat loss (waste) from your home.
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# 17
Cardew
Old 08-05-2008, 3:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by X1GVC View Post
I have read the posts on this topic with some interest as a question that is often discussed with varying thoughts and ideas. The reference to physics is particularly interesting. The answer is of course to use timers.

.
Welcome to the forum - nice post.

However it is absolutely no use using any form of logic, or quoting the laws of thermodynamics to many people.

All that there theory is rubbish; they know a man down the pub who has proved that you are wrong by practical example!
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# 18
moneypooh
Old 08-05-2008, 3:17 PM
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Our timer broke a few years ago and we had to adjust the thermostat manually all the time. We did notice that sometimes we hadn't changed it from 18c for many days. It did make us realise that we actually didn't need as much heat as we thought and saved a real packet over 2 years!
When our boiler was replaced they fitted a new thermostat as a freebie and it's set a lot lower than we had it before. Our house is well insulated, and all rooms have thermo controls on the rads.
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# 19
Stardelta
Old 08-05-2008, 4:11 PM
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In the depths of winter why not read your gas meter on say a Sunday and for the next week leave your central heating on all the time. The Sunday after read it again and for the next week use as required, the unit's used should tell you. A women at the then NEGAS showroom said that to me in 1984 I replied trouble is I have to have central heating installed to try it. Were I could work out the cost of running storage heaters and still have them.
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# 20
mute_posting
Old 08-05-2008, 5:54 PM
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If I can add my 2p worth..

I work for a large company looking after building HVAC (Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning) controls. So I feel I am well placed to back up cardew and X1GVC (among others) with their advice - TIMER TIMER TIMER!!!!!!

If it didn't save money to optimise the times that a building is heated (and not), I wouldn't have a job!

One method used is called set-back where the setpoint is reduced (during un-occupied times) to a value that means the building won't be calling for any heat - this has the same effect on energy usage as turning off the heating in your home. (On big buildings we don't have local gas boilers, heat energy is supplied to the building as High Pressure Hot Water or steam from a central boilerhouse)

It can't really be stated any clearer than this...

IT IS NOT CHEAPER TO RUN YOUR HEATING 24/7 INSTEAD OF AS NEEDED.

If you want the science to back this up, read X1GVC's post above!

HTH

MP
:confused: I have a poll / discussion on Economy 7 / 10 off-peak usage (as a % or total) and ways to improve it but I'm not allowed to link to it so have a look on the gas/elec forum if you would like to vote or discuss.

Last edited by mute_posting; 08-05-2008 at 6:43 PM.
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