Smarten up your heating system to improve efficiency, UK households urged

With an increased focus on the need to take action on climate change, UK households are being urged to think about how they can smarten up their heating system to help contribute to the nationwide effort of reducing carbon emissions.

Recent provisional figures* reveal a 2.8% increase in emissions caused by residential energy use in 2018 compared to the previous year, totalling 65.9 million tonnes.

With new technology and smarter heating systems seen as an important tool in helping individuals consume less energy, OFTEC, which represents the oil heating industry, has produced a heating guide for UK households with top tips for improving efficiency.

The advice includes:

Improve your thermostat

  • Many homes have a simple thermostat which sets one temperature for the whole house. Installing a more advanced system can enable you to set different temperatures for each room and thereby only heat those you use.


Upgrade your heating controls

  • With some modern controls you can adjust your heating through an 'app' on your phone or tablet or even via a 'digital assistant' smart device. This gives you greater flexibility such as turning the heating off remotely if you are going to be home late. These devices are usually compatible with most heating systems, such as oil and gas, and are relatively easy to install by a qualified professional.


Monitor your fuel consumption

  • Some gadgets enable you keep track of how much fuel you are using to help avoid an unexpected expensive bill. For households on oil, you can install a monitoring device on your tank to monitor how much fuel is left through an app on your phone. This can also alert you when the levels are low to help you avoid any last-minute emergency deliveries.


Invest in self-bleeding radiator valves 

  • Self-bleeding radiator valves automatically vent the air from your radiators helping your system run more efficiently. They also remove the need for manual bleeding which can be a messy and time-consuming job.


Upgrade your boiler

  • If your boiler is over fifteen years old, it may be worth upgrading to a modern condensing model. These are far more efficient and can reduce your carbon emissions and fuel bills. Make sure you use a registered OFTEC (for oil) or GasSafe (for mains gas) technician to carry out any work to ensure it is completed to a safe and high standard. They can also advise if it would be worth replacing your boiler with a smaller model if you have recently invested in any other home efficiency improvements (e.g. better insulation or double-glazing).



Malcolm Farrow from OFTEC, commented: "Advances in home technology over the past few years has made it easier and more cost effective for households to smarten up their heating. Not only can this provide greater flexibility with how you control your system, but it can also help with monitoring and reducing energy usage which in turn leads to lower emissions and bills.

"Consumers have an important role to play when it comes to reducing our carbon footprint and the collective actions individuals take really can make a difference. Speak with your local technician when you next have your boiler serviced as they will be able to provide advice and guidance on the best way of enhancing your existing setup."

For more information and advice, visit www.oftec.org.

*Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – 2018 UK Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Provisional Figures 2018