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Adjusting time and temperature settings


Many modern room thermostats include both time and temperature control – these are known as Programmable Room Thermostats. If you have one of these it will allow you to set the on and off times for your heating system, and also the temperature setting for each time it comes on. Small adjustments to these time and temperature settings can lead to big energy savings.

BEAMA commissioned some tests on a heating system in 2014 to see how much difference could be made to the heating energy consumption with some reasonable changes to the settings.

The first test followed a typical pattern of heating settings for a weekday as shown below. The heating comes on in the morning from 6.30am to 9am, and then back on at 3.30pm through to 11pm. For both periods the temperature setting is 21 degrees C. The picture below shows how this looks from a settings perspective, with the red blocks showing the heating settings.  

PRT test 1.png

Time and temperature profile in Test 1

We made some slight adjustments for the second test. In the morning we set the heating system to come on for 30 minutes less with a temperature setting of 18 degrees C rather than 21.


The thinking behind this is that most people spend this period moving around, getting ready for work or school, and don’t need the house to be at full temperature. In the afternoon we set the heating to come on an hour later – around the time people are likely to be arriving home rather than well before it.


The first hour and a half of this period was again set to 18 degrees C, in the expectation that people would be moving around getting dinner ready and so on, before lifting to 21 degrees C from 6pm, when people are more likely to be settling down and relaxing.


The picture below shows how this knew profile looks, compared to the profile in the first tests, which is in light pink below.

Time and temperature profile in Test 2

Running the heating system for 24 hours with the test 1 profile used 68.3 kWh of gas, while test 2 used 57.5 kWh, a saving of around 16%. Under the Energy Price Guarantee introduced by the Government in October 2022, a kWh of gas will cost 10.3p for a dual fuel customer paying by direct debit. This means that this level of saving would equate to an overall saving of £192 for an average home this Winter.


We are not suggesting you should simply replace one specific set of heating settings with another, but this does indicate how adjusting the operation of the heating system to match your lifestyle more closely can reap significant financial benefits.


In particular, you should look for times when you are less likely to require higher temperatures, or when you are simply not in the house, and use your Programmable Room Thermostat to cut out potentially wasted heat.

Other ways of reducing energy use:

Lowering temperatures around your home
Running your heating for longer, rather than short bursts
Switching heating off when it’s not needed

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