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Winter Weather Advice: Controls and Frost Protection

In the next instalment of our Winter Weather Advice series, we’re talking about how you can use your thermostat efficiently to ensure your home stays warm during winter and how to protect your boiler from frost.

Now that we’re in the midst of the cold British weather, it’s very likely you’ve turned your heating back on and are considering having to turn it up to combat the chill. However, it’s becoming increasingly important to be smart about how we're heating our homes in order to keep our energy bills down, as well as being aware of our usage.

Heating controls and thermostats allow you to easily regulate the temperature of your home, ensuring it’s comfortable and suits your living requirements.

On top of this, taking the appropriate steps to maintain the condition of your boiler in the cooler months can prevent any problems arising and help the longevity of your boiler.

When choosing your thermostat or heating control, it’s important to consider how often you're at home and if it is compatible with your current boiler. If you work from home a lot, opting for a smart control may be the best option. If you want your heating to come on at the same time each day, a mechanical thermostat may work best.

Here is a breakdown of the most common thermostat types that we offer here at Glow-worm:

Smart thermostats

Smart thermostats are an advanced yet easy way of controlling your heating and hot water needs from your smart device. They are connected to your Wi-Fi network and use intelligent sensors and user-controlled apps which allows you to adjust the room’s temperature from your mobile phone or via voice command to your smart hub assistant such as Google Home and Alexa.

If you’re using an app, like the MiGo Link you can control your heating remotely and schedule it to come on when it’s convenient for you. If you’ve been out all day, you can programme your heating to come on just before you get back so when you walk through the door, your house will feel warm and toasty.

Some smart thermostats learn your heating preferences over time, like Glow-worm’s MiGo and MiGo Select. Utilising optimium start, when the heating is due to come on the control will know how long the property will take to reach desired temperature. This means if you want 20 degrees at 7:00am, the system will have already begun the process to raise the temperature so there is no drop off in comfort levels.

If you feel like your home is a bit too warm, you can quickly turn your thermostat down using the app to give you the perfect temperature.

Read our guide to smart heating systems here.

Programmable thermostats

Using electronic sensors, programmable thermostats maintain the temperature of your home to within one degree of your chosen setting. They are often more accurate than traditional thermostats as you can easily increase or decrease the temperature at specific times so you are only heating your home when you need to.

Glow-worm's MiSet is available as both wired and wireless giving you complete control over your heating and hot water. Using our eBUS technology, the MiSet will communicate with your boiler to manage your system in the most efficient way possible. All you need to do is programme you system to suit your lifestyle. Read more here.

Mechanical thermostats

Mechanical thermostats are a more traditional type of control where you simply turn the dial up or down to get your required temperature. You can set a specific time for your central heating to come on and turn off. If you wish to change the timings, you will have to manually change them on the thermostat.

These types of thermostats are great if you routinely have your heating on twice a day, allowing you to leave it ticking along without having to adjust the temperature each time. Our Climastat Select thermostat is easy to use and is compatible with all Glow-worm boilers.

Although they are a simple way of controlling your heating, they tend to be less accurate compared to their digital counterparts.

How to heat your home efficiently

By programming your heating to come on at a time that fits your schedule is the most efficient method of making sure you're not heating your home unnecessarily. The government recommends the ideal room temperature is between 18 and 21 degrees. However, depending on your lifestyle, this may differ.

It’s not a good idea to leave your heating on all day as this can become very costly and it’s not particularly sustainable. Instead, use a thermostatic radiator valve or programmable thermostat to adjust your home's heating to best suit you. For example, a TRV allows you to increase or decrease the level of heat given out by each radiator so you’re only heating the rooms you use the most. Similar to this, if you have a programmable thermostat you can set your desired temperature for any part of the day. You can set the temperature to 20 degrees first thing in the morning, and then program it to 18 degrees later on, helping to keep you home at a comfortable temperature throughout the day.

There’s also a common misconception that turning your thermostat up as high as you can will heat your home quicker. Not only does this mean your boiler is working harder, it can hike up the price of your bills. To make sure your thermostat is set the correct temperature, Glow-worm controls can be paired with a weather compensation system to measure the outdoor climate to give you the ideal room temperature for your home, minimising the need to turn up the thermostat.

Additionally, Glow-worm's MiSet controls also allow for a 'Set-back' temperature to be programmed. This means when the system is in an 'Off' period the control will not let the property drop below a certain temperature. If the fabric of the building drops too low then the boiler has to work extra hard to achieve target temperature in its next 'On' period, 'Set-back' is an easy way to prevent this.

What is weather compensation?

As mentioned above, weather compensation works similar to a thermostat by using sensors or internet based weather data to assess the outdoor temperature to give you the ideal temperature for your home. .

This device can be installed onto your existing central heating system, meaning your heating will only run when it’s needed, keeping your home consistent temperature all year round.

This technology has lots of advantages as it can better your energy efficiency and reduce heating costs as your boiler will only fire up when it's needed.

To find out more about weather compensation and its benefits, read our guide here.

Frost Protection

The built-in frost protection on Glow-worm appliances will protect the boiler from freezing. This function does not protect external pipework, if the appliance is located in a cold area, such as loft space or garage, then additional measures should be taken to protect the system. Installing frost thermostats or pipe thermostats external to the boiler will give an extra level of protection.

Both gas and electric Glow-worm boilers have this feature and works irrespective of any room thermostat setting. The frost protection device will take action and operate once the boiler water falls below 8°C. A timer is used periodically so that the temperature is consistently checked and the boiler will act accordingly.

This process will not significantly impact your energy bills as the water is already inside the boiler and only uses a small amount of effort.

If you would like to know more about the frost protection setting on your boiler, contact your local Glow-worm installer.

Condensate Pipe

Another way of making sure your central heating system is working efficiently is ensuring your condensate pipe isn’t frozen up as this can impact the whole of your central heating system.

Your condensate pipe is a white overflow pipe that disposes of condensation to an external drain via this pipe. Read our step-by-step guide on how to defrost your condensate pipe here.

Book your boiler service

Another simple way of ensuring your boiler is in working order during the winter months is by having it serviced by a local Glow-worm installer.

They will check that the boiler is running efficiently and safely, preventing any potential issues arising. Your installer will examine the pipes, look inside the boiler and check the gas pressure and flow setting review.

You can book your boiler service here.

Upgrading your boiler

As boilers age, they can lose performance in terms of how efficiently they operate. This can affect the warmth of your home and how long it takes your radiators to emit heat.

If your boiler is ready for an upgrade, view our range of combi, regular and system boilers to see which would be best suited for your home or contact your local Glow-worm installer to discuss your options.

Want to find out more?

Find your local Glow-worm Club Energy installer

Club Energy is Glow-worm’s installer loyalty scheme. By choosing a Glow-worm Club Energy Partner, you’re choosing our network of fully trained, independent installers who can offer you exclusive extended guarantees, as well as a free no obligation quote to ensure your Glow-worm control is the perfect fit for you and your home.