Is your home heating ready for winter?

PUBLISHED: 11:28 01 November 2018 | UPDATED: 12:36 01 November 2018

Ensuring your heating system in tip-top shape will keep those chilly winter days at bay.

Ensuring your heating system in tip-top shape will keep those chilly winter days at bay.

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Winter’s just around the corner so, to help keep you warm and cosy, we asked Oliver Murphy, retail operations manager at Gasway, to answer some home heating questions.

Set your thermostat to 18 degrees in non-habitable rooms, such as a bathroom or kitchen, and 21 degrees in other rooms, such as bedrooms.Set your thermostat to 18 degrees in non-habitable rooms, such as a bathroom or kitchen, and 21 degrees in other rooms, such as bedrooms.

The pipes make a lot of noise when I turn the taps on. Do I need to get them looked at?

Generally speaking, pipes making noise with taps is referred to as ‘Pipe Hammer’. This is typically caused by limescale in the pipework. The normal way to fix this is to replace pipework.

Is there anything I can do to ensure my radiators are working at their best before winter?

Insulating pipework to stop them freezing can also save you money.Insulating pipework to stop them freezing can also save you money.

I always find it best to run the heating in August or September – open your doors and windows and turn the heat up! If you have any doubts, then engage with a heating firm and have a full system check.

I’ve heard that you should insulate pipes to stop them freezing. Is that really necessary?

Insulating pipework to stop them freezing is the normal, industry-recognised method of protection. Not only does it stop the freeze, it may even save you some money. During the ‘Beast from the East’ there was a marked increase in the number of call-outs for frozen pipes stopping heating and hot water working.

Why does the central heating kick in even when I’ve only got the water heating switched on?

This sounds like a fault on your system. It may be something simple like a wiring issue, or more complex like a failed diverter valve. I would recommend a heating engineer take a look and see where the fault is.

Is it best to have the central heating on all day with the thermostat at a set temperature, or turn the thermostat up and have it on a timer twice a day?

This depends entirely on your property. Personally, I prefer to have my heating system on a little lower, but on constant. The radiators may not be as hot, but the house is always warm!

What temperature should I set my thermostat to?

Ofgem has standards for room temperature, and 18 degrees Celsius is the standard for a non-habitable room, such as a bathroom or kitchen. For other rooms, such as bedrooms, the optimum temperature is 21 degrees Celsius.

I’m worried about carbon monoxide poisoning. Is there anything I can do to put my mind at rest?

Having your gas appliances serviced, ensuring any ventilation is not covered up and installing a carbon monoxide audible alarm are the best ways to protect yourself from the risks of CO.

CO is a deadly gas that cannot be seen, smelled or tasted. Having a functioning alarm fitted is as essential as a fire alarm.

I’ve never had my boiler serviced and it works fine, so why should I start now?

It’s always essential to ensure your boiler is serviced regularly to prevent any risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. This can be produced from a dirty burner within the boiler that needs to be cleaned.

There is also a benefit to ensure your boiler is at its best for the winter. A service can’t stop a breakdown from happening, but it can reduce the risk.

How do I know if it’s time for a replacement or a repair?

The average life of a boiler is 15 years. If it’s over this age, it may be time to consider a new boiler. Of course, boilers do fail before this. It’s a choice that has to be made. Some repairs are just not viable as the cost of replacing the boiler may be less than the repair.

I’ve heard a lot about ‘combi’ boilers. What are they and why are they a good option?

Combination boilers essentially replace the hot-water cylinder in your property. They provide an instant source of hot water, and normally at a better water pressure. They are an excellent option for flats or small houses due to their compact size and performance.

Anything more than three bedrooms though may not see a benefit as the water supply has to be shared among all the taps. The more taps you run, the lower the water pressure.

For more home advice see our Beautiful Homes & Gardens supplement

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