Drayton thermostat, Valiant boiler, huge gas bill in my rented house. Help!

(17 Posts)
FinallyGotAnIPhone Mon 16-Dec-13 21:29:07

I moved into a rented house earlier this year. It's a 3 bed semi. I have just received my first gas bill (since August) and I almost fell off my chair as it's almost £400. So almost £100 a month.

Now this central heating system looks quite fancy to me, and even though I've read the manual many times (and regard myself as quite intelligent!) I still don't seem to "get it" as the house is always either too hot or too cold. I can't seem to get it right.

On the thermostat it's not like ones that I'm used to. I.e. You can't override it, but you can set the times and the temperature you want. I've read the manual about this bit and tried to set temperatures/ times that I want but again it typically seems too hot/ cold.

On the boiler itself there are two dials one for hot water and one for heating. The manual does provide a suggestion for where the dials should be positioned and again I've tried that for the heating one but seems too hot/ too cold. I've never touched the hot water one just been down and looked and it's set to 59 degrees I turned it down. We have an electric shower so I only need hot water for the kids bath / (and washing machine/ dishwasher??).

The radiators have valves on them in each room. Most are set to the highest level.

At night the radiators seem to be on even though on the thermostat I've set it to 17 degrees or something

Any tips please? I just want a "normally" heated house and to try and avoid these high bills.

I've already done a search on here but none of the threads I've seen quite seem to have the same problem.

Thanks in advance!

I have the same set up, and it's a pain.

What I do is set it to just below the temp I like, so 19 degrees, but 15 overnight, then it's only on if it gets cold. And our thermostat does let you click the digital setting up if you want a quick blast.

I also turn the radiators down, so they are only on in rooms I'm in at the time - eg bedroom off during the day, loving room off overnight.

The other thing to check is that the boiler has a "comfort" setting, where it keeps hot water ready at all times, that wastes loads of energy - I only realised when I saw the steam coming from it in winter ( just wait a sec for it to heat up!). The manual will tell you how to switch it off.

Hath

Hath? HTH!!

FinallyGotAnIPhone Mon 16-Dec-13 21:56:43

Ok I will try that tomorrow! And maybe read the manual again. I suspect it does indeed have a comfort setting and you're right I should start turning the radiators down. Thank you.

PigletJohn Tue 17-Dec-13 00:33:03

What is the model number of your thermostat?

Looking only at the meter readings, and not the £ on the bill:

what was the meter reading when you moved in? What date was that?

What is the meter reading today?

What were the start and finish meter readings on your bill, and their dates? Were either of them estimates?

How thick is your loft insulation?

How old is your house?

vitalia Tue 17-Dec-13 01:01:18

We too have a valiant boiler with fancy (shit) portable digital thermostat and controls.
A quick Google told me that the thermostat was Shite and riddled with problems.
Our radiators used to come on in the night too even though I'd set the temp at 13 or something ridiculously low so they wouldnt come on.
I now turn the heating dial down on the boiler when I go to bed to ensure they don't come on, then switch it back round when we get up in the morning. I never figured how to get the heating on timed either

FinallyGotAnIPhone Tue 17-Dec-13 07:05:49

Thanks both for replying. PigletJohn I see from other threads that you are a font of knowledge so thanks for taking the time to help.

In answer to your questions:

The thermostat says: Digistat + 3 RF. The boiler says ecoTEC plus.

The meter readings are actual ones and not estimates (08438 on 6 August and 09136 10 Dec or 7812 kWh according to the front of the bill).

When I turn to the back of the bill both those meter readings are on there along with various estimates along the way I,e, 6th- Aug - 22 Nov we estimated you used x, then we got your actual reading on 10'Dec ... Etc

House is 1910 I think but is built of stone and according to the neighbour is poorly insulated/ built. I don't know about the roof insulation sorry I am not allowed in the roof per the contract.

Yes vitalia my radiators even used to come on in summer despite me setting the temp low and turning the dial down on the boiler. (Hence the high bill obviously)

FinallyGotAnIPhone Tue 17-Dec-13 07:11:42

Just now done a quick google myself. Ha! Someone describes the thermostat as needing "a degree in quantum physics" to use. Makes me chuckle as I thought the same and every time I try and explain to people that the thermostat is complicated they look at me like I'm bonkers. fsmile

PigletJohn Tue 17-Dec-13 11:33:18

59C is OK for hot water. It is an economical temperature for a modern condensing boiler, and is hot enough to kill e.g. legionella.

Do you have hot water cylinder? Do you have thermostatic radiator valves?

Start taking your own meter readings more often. In summer, when you are using HW but not CH, it might use about half a cu metre per day. In winter, with CH on, it will use several cu metres, the colder the weather, the more it will use.

FinallyGotAnIPhone Tue 17-Dec-13 12:03:51

Hi there ok thanks for the tip about the 59c I will turn it back up.

Don't have a hot water cylinder (assume you mean a hot water tank?) and yes do have thermostatic valves on the radiator they are mostly on high and I never turn them up/ down but I think I will start adjusting the temperature if I am not in a room (which sounds like a lot of hassle).

Good idea about taking readings more often my neighbour suggested the same. He is in the house next door so I asked him if his bills were the same he said he rarely has his heating on (lives alone).

PigletJohn Tue 17-Dec-13 12:09:39

turn the TRVs to about 3 for a few days. Shut the internal doors so they can manage their own rooms. See if you need to adjust up or down by half a notch after a few days. Don't make big adjustments, you are trying to home in on a comfortable and economical temperature.

sometimes TRVs fail and jam open or shut. There are things you can do about it, but start a new thread if so.

PigletJohn Tue 17-Dec-13 12:13:03

p.s.

no, I don't mean a tank

I mean a cylinder

FinallyGotAnIPhone Tue 17-Dec-13 13:43:21

Hi PigletJohn ok thank you I will try that. I don't think we have a tank or a cylinder (I haven't seen one around the house). I have had the trv problem before in another house so yes I've seen about how you can fix that. Sorry one more question for you - assuming I keep them on "3" what temperature should I set the radiators to on the boiler (water now at 59 degrees)? Thanks very much in advance.

mabelbabel Tue 17-Dec-13 13:55:05

I know this might sound stupid, but are you sure your thermostat is actually 'talking' to your boiler, ie does it need new batteries?

Madmog Tue 17-Dec-13 14:16:47

We have a Digistat (not sure of the precise model) and you can set it manually, ie put it up and down as your please, or set it as you have - different temperatures for different times of the day but you can still override this and turn it up a degree or two while in that time mode.

Obviously £100 a month does seem high, but don't forget you'll hardly use anything May-August when only heating hot water - I'm always checking our readings and reckon we only spend about £50 on hot water in the summer.

We have a symbol that's meant to come on when batteries are running low, so check your thermostat will display this.

Do you have direct contact with the landlord? If so, would he/she be able to show you how to use the thermostat. If not, it should be serviced every year so if the engineer is due soon, ask them.

PigletJohn Tue 17-Dec-13 14:56:11

60C is the most efficient temperature for a modern condensing boiler, so try it on that. In bitterly cold weather your radiators may not give enough heat so you can turn up the boiler (the other way is to have bigger radiators).

FinallyGotAnIPhone Tue 17-Dec-13 20:11:31

Ok thanks everyone. I appreciate you taking the time to reply.

Good suggestion on the battery replacement but I don't think I have that problem because I've just been a and checked and all seems to be in order. No warning light showing. Date and time correct etc. It doesn't seem to "talk" to the boiler though as it shows 16 degrees when I'd set it to come on to 20 degrees. Maybe it's that I need to turn up the boiler I don't know.

Honestly though it seems very hard for someone who has lived in many different properties over the years/ owned properties I've never come across a central heating system so difficult to master.

I think as someone suggested I will contact the estate agent and see if they can send someone to show me how to get the best out of this system, maintaining a reasonable temperature in my house at times when I need it, while it not costing me the earth.

Thanks again v appreciative of the replies and suggestions I've turned all the radiators down to 3 now and am working through the other suggestions. Thanks.

(You can override the thermostat but when I override it it just doesn't seem to make a difference to the temperature I.e. I never see the heating go from 16 to 20 degrees even if that's what I ask it to do. Maybe you're right maybe it isn't "talking to the boiler" at all). Argh!

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