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Is someone knowledgable about heating systems please?

(13 Posts)
ancienthistrionics Thu 11-Oct-12 13:34:52

We have a bit of a weird situation in the house we rent. We have the whole house apart from a one-bed flat in the basement. When they made the flat they didn't split out the water or the heating. We have the thermostat, boiler and tank etc in our bit, so our downstairs neighbour is reliant on us to have the heating on when he wants it. If we were to go away and leave the heating off, he wouldn't be able to do anything about it.

Each radiator has an individual control, so our neighbour says we should put it on constant and each switch our radiators off and on as we need them.

Is this OK? It worries me it's on constant.

I'd love to know if it uses more energy varying the radiators individually.

PigletJohn Thu 11-Oct-12 14:15:27

you could get a heating enginner to convert it to a zoned system, and fit a programmable thermostat in your section so you can set it to "on holiday for xx days" and it will do no more than protect your part from frost or damp, until the day of your return when it will warm your part. The downstairs section wil have its own thermostat and the boiler will run when it calls for heat. A motorised valve will prevent the heat circulating round the radiators in the rest of the house.

Obviously the person downstairs has no need to economise on fuel. If you felt mean you could disconnect them from the CH and fit electric heaters, or even their own small boiler.

ancienthistrionics Thu 11-Oct-12 14:21:48

Thanks Piglet. That sounds like a really great solution. Unfortunately we rent, so we can't carry out jobs like that. I will mention is to him though, as an option - he is very embarrassed by the situation, but owns it jointly with his sister and she won't agree to spend the money.

I just wondered, if all the radiators are off, but the system is on, whether that is using up energy and costing more money. I just don't really understand these things.

PigletJohn Thu 11-Oct-12 14:37:49

has he got a room thermostat in his flat? if not, how will the boiler turn on and off when heat is/is not required?

Are the radiator valves thermostatic?

ancienthistrionics Thu 11-Oct-12 14:41:56

He has the same as us, a setting on each radiator. That's how he switches his heating on, but it relies on us having the system set to constant.

Not sure about the radiator valves.

PigletJohn Thu 11-Oct-12 15:23:15

there is no room thermostat?

ancienthistrionics Thu 11-Oct-12 15:51:06

No, it's all individual radiators. There is a thermostat in our hall, but I don't think it works. We have all the controls to set the timer etc. for the hot water and the heating. So, technically, I can decide the heating will come on at x o'clock, but I can only set the temperature by individually regulating each radiator.

My issue is that my neighbour doesn't believe it costs any more to keep it on constant.

lljkk Thu 11-Oct-12 16:56:01

WE had a whole thread about this type of thing about a year ago. A lot of people couldn't believe the set up (don't think that thread resolved anything for its OP, either).

ancienthistrionics Thu 11-Oct-12 17:03:30

I think that was probably me. We moved in in March and discovered the set-up. There hasn't been a problem (despite dire warnings to the contrary on that thread) because I left the hot water on constant.

Now we are switching the heating on I don't want to leave it on constant because DS leaves his radiator on full blast and goes out, etc.

I just can't find out if it costs to leave the system on and the radiators off. Maybe I need to ask the ll to get a heating engineer out to give me an answer.

PigletJohn Thu 11-Oct-12 17:24:40

if there is no thermostat, then there will be a waste of heat. The boiler will keep itself, and probably a certain amount of pipe going to the bypass, hot. The boiler will act as an unwanted radiator. It will run quite inefficiently, because it will frequently start up, run for a short time, then go off.

The purpose of a room stat is to prevent the boiler firing up when no heat is required.

It would have cost between £10 and £80 when the boiler was being put in, so not having one is pure folly.

Try turning the hall stat to the highest setting for a couple of days, and to the lowest setting for a couple of days, and see if it makes any difference. Maybe it does work? Or it might have been left over from a previous heating system, and be purely ornamental.

ancienthistrionics Thu 11-Oct-12 17:49:53

Hm, thanks PigletJohn that is a brilliant answer.

I checked the hall thermometer and it is set to zero, so I imagine that means conclusively that it's not working.

I'm going to get a heating engineer out to fit a thermostat.

Thanks smile

PigletJohn Thu 11-Oct-12 18:31:59

jolly good, it will save money.

if you are having to pay him for the fitting of it, consider whether you can get by with a basic stat which you will probably find yourself fiddling with

or a programmable stat that enables you to set different temps for different times of the day and days of the week, and also has a "number of days away on hols" option. For example mine runs at 20C during the evening, then 15C during the night but comes up to 20C before getting-up time. If the house is regularly empty during the day on certain days of the week, the heating can turn down until half an hour before home time. It can also gave different bed-times and getting-up times at weekends.

The wiring is usually exactly the same whichever one you have, and you can change at a later date if you want.

You can get wireless stats as well, though I am always anxious that this gives another layer of complexity to go wrong.

ACL Drayton and Honeywell are good brands.

ancienthistrionics Thu 11-Oct-12 18:53:52

Wow, Piglet, that is brilliantly informative, thanks so much.

The LL has just texted me to say his man will be coming round, I am going to get him to set it while he's here.

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