Is it the time of year in your home when you have to familiarise yourself with the all too complicated set-up of your central heating system? Do you walk over to the little box on the wall which has at most four buttons and try to crack it like a game of chess? While I have been watching Queen’s Gambit these last few weeks, I’d love to see a chess master learn how to program individual heating timers for every day of the week.
Keeping your home nice and warm is costly, but it doesn’t have to be as expensive as it is right now if you know how to keep dependencies down. Here are some ways you can hack your way to a warmer home.
The one-hour test
You can’t magically have heating come on in different rooms at different times (well, you sort of can and I’ll explain how next). You can, though, figure out how long rooms take to heat at the same time. Every room in your house will have elements which make it warmer or colder than the other rooms. And even if all of your radiators are the same, you might not notice these inefficiencies.
That’s why I encourage you to do the one-hour test. Simply turn all your radiators on and up to full, and have the heating run for just one hour. When the hour is up, go from room to room and get a sense of whether it is warm or not. If it’s roasting, your radiator is working phenomenally, and you can now turn the valve down from 5 to just 2 or 3.
If the room is barely warm, and the radiator is roasting hot, then one of two things are happening. The radiator might not be big enough for the room it is in, or there is something in the room which is pulling that warm air out like there’s no tomorrow. If it’s a case of the former, the solution involves some magic…
The magical power of electricity
So, let’s say you have a room where the radiator is working fine, but the space just isn’t getting hot enough. You’ll need to call in support, and there’s no better thing for it than an electric radiator. And I’m not talking about those little blow heaters. I’m talking about specially adapted radiators which sit on the wall just like any other radiator.
You’ll want to work out the heat requirements for your room and to do that, you will have to Google heating calculator. Once you have done that, subtract your radiator’s heat output (measured in BTUs) from the number you got from the calculator. With the figure you have left on, look online for a swanky and cheap electric radiator to help meet that target BTU level. I highly recommend visiting https://www.traderadiators.com/electric-heating/electric-heated-towel-rails, where there are some great deals on electric rails.
The zen nature of radiator balancing
Do you have a radiator or two which seem to take the longest time ever to get warm? The whole house could be feeling the heat, yet a few are taking their sweet time to get anywhere. If so, you have a few radiators which need to find some balance.
Everyone and their dog knows about bleeding a radiator to get air out and water in, but most people probably don’t know how to balance their radiators. It’s a simple hack which helps problem radiators heat up faster.
Simply get some pliers or a wrench, and ever so slightly open up the Lockshield valve on your radiator (that’s the valve on the opposite side from your temperature). If you open it up, water will come into the radiator and move through your home to the next radiator faster. If it is just the one radiator causing problems, a quick adjustment should see it working fine. If it’s a few radiators, then you’ll need to turn your heating off, and adjust every single one accordingly (I bet you can’t wait for that).
There you have it. A few hacks to a warmer home that aren’t just about telling you how to bleed a radiator. If you’re looking for more home advice, check out all our DIY articles.