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Lower gas boiler operational temperature to save money

This is:

This is a provisional un-finished web page to encourage thought & research I would welcome feedback, perhap easiest at one of the social events I organise or attend, such as Beer Gardeners, or contact me direct.

If only people would realise they could lower their gas boiler temperatures, they could be more efficient & save themselves money.

He had in-sufficient time to explain why. Possibilities that need researching:

Gas boiler technicians may generally set to safe average household defaults eg:

  • What will still work, even if there's a prolonged cold snap, & house needs more heating than usual, & radiator thermostats automatically open to full flow, but an economising house set to too low a boiler operational temperature would not then be able to fully deliver the extra demand, & that'd be a problem for occupants who didn't know how to temporarily raise the boiler operational temperature, & excess complaints to gas boiler technicians, so they probably set higher temperatures for less complaints.
  • What average occupants may need, eg families with a couple & 2 kids coming home from work & school, & rushing to have baths showers before/ after work; & several singles sharing, all rushing to shower & dress in just warmed rooms before rushing going out again; sunday evening parade of kids & adults all bathing before Monday work week etc.
  • Daily returns home from work & school to a house that time clock leaves cool during day, & wanting to warm up the house fast as pos. for a few evening hours before sleep.
  • People arriving to a primary house or 2nd home at weekends, after its been left cold all week, as people at work & leisure away from home or 2nd home.
  • People in bigger places deciding to turn on glass houses or (internal or external) swimming pool heating, which will take days to heat, & may degrade capability to also deliver enough heat to house, unless boiler runs at a higher operational temperature than needed most of the time to merely maintain house & pool temperatures.
  • Prolonged Cold Snaps when radiator thermostats occasionally demand more heat transfer than usual.
In all circumstance above, there's occasional heavy transient demand, & the only way to deliver fast & reliably with least complaints to boiler service technicians, is for installer & maintenance technicians to set the boiler to operate at a high temperature.

However most of the time, for a minority of people who are home a lot, High boiler temperatures are Not the best setting, as there's no heavy demand surges, & they could normally run the boiler at a lower internal operating temperature; which could be more efficient

(I need to think more about that, dependence on heat lost from boiler &/or pipes)

Also remember some loft pipes will have loose old pipe lagging. This author knows of a big house extension completed in 2021 , where a rogue builder (who used to have a good name, but approaching retirement was feathering his nest, ripping off an old established customer with poor work at his usual high prices previously justified by good work (So don't assume your builder's pipe lagging either exists or is quality, especially if pipes are out of sight)) didn't even lag the vertical wall pipes at all, of the boiler in the garage, & left a massive windy gap under garage vehicle door.
What chance such rogues might also not lag same pipes after they rise above & into adjacent ceiling ? Cos rolls of rock wool insulation are designed to lay between rafters, but pipes are easiest fastened On Top of rafters, so might be left bare ? Check your house if in doubt. Equally, pipes to floor mounted radiators disappear into concrete floor, but where land slopes away, thats a big air cavity under concrete floor, losing heat downward, & more so if those pipes are not lagged, & more so & if walls under concrete floor level have breather bricks to avoid humidity. If any of that is true, then its better to deliver hot water through those pipes as not So hot, merely hot enough).

Admittedly if heating runs at a lower temperature, then water in radiator pipes has to run more to achieve energy transfer. If the pumps only run when a wall mounted thermostat turns them on, that would use a little more electric pump energy, but probably not significant. But if pumps run constantly, & radiator hot water flow is merely regulated by radiator rotary thermostat mechanical knobs, then a lower boiler temperature might even save a trivial marginal amount on pump electricity, as radiator thermostatic valves open wider, producing less resistance for pumps to work against.

Conclusion: Review boiler operating temperatures, could be an easy way of saving money. Try reducing the operating temperature & see if you notice any difference. Only thing to then bear in mind is if there's a long cold snap some time, remember how to turn up boiler internal operating temperature again, as turning up just house thermostats may not suffice.

Odd Notes

  • Gas in Aachen, Germany was 1/3rd (or less) the price of electricity (both measured in kW/h) last I looked, which was before the European gas shortage & price hikes around the time of war criminal Putin's murderous Russian invasion of Ukraine.
  • Heat pumps use electricity & often run at a factor of 2.5 to 3.5, so no marked cost saving compared to gas heating, though they might save on CO2 & global warming. But not as much as one might hope, as electricity still comes a fair bit from coal burning power stations & they are incredibly inefficient. A book on that, somewhat old now, is linked here: berklix . com / jhs / epub / epub / withouthotair . com/

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