Highlighting the importance of the room ‘stat

Horstmann is enthusiastically endorsing the latest research carried out for the BEAMA heating controls group TACMA, which shows that the installation of effective temperature controls can reduce home heating system energy consumption by up to 40% through the installation of a room thermostat and TRVs. Importantly, it also estimates the installation costs can be recovered in a year or less.

Even before TACMA’s latest findings were released, Horstmann had revealed that the new installation or upgrading to one of its HRT4 series room thermostats would produce energy savings of 10% and now, endorsed by these latest independent findings, the importance of fitting a ‘stat as an integral part of the central heating control system is further highlighted.

As Paul Lovegrove, sales director at Horstmann explains:

“Work carried out by TACMA with the Energy Saving Trust has identified that about 8 million UK homes with a boiler don’t have a room thermostat, and over 70% don’t reach the minimum levels of control.

“Many of the 8 million homes identified are combi boiler installations using a time switch and TRV’s on radiators to provide control – in reality an inefficient solution usually resulting in excessive and wasteful boiler cycling.

“But, by introducing an upgrade package – a time switch working in combination with a room thermostat and with TRV’s already fitted – TACMA’s 40% energy cost reduction becomes achievable and importantly, if the wireless option is selected, the upgrade is easy to install and programme without needing any hard wiring.”

Whichever connection is selected, the room thermostat is at the heart of the upgrade.

A recommended upgrade would feature a wireless time switch such as the Horstmann CentaurPlus ZW working in combination with a wireless room thermostat – an HRT4-ZW.

Both units use wireless Z-Wave technology ensuring pairing is simple and reliable. The thermostat operates using the latest sophisticated TPI (Time Proportional Integral) energy saving software. TPI produces enhanced control of temperature settings and a boiler cycling regime that is both energy saving and efficient.

To achieve the energy savings, TPI makes a series of calculations that will precisely dictate the amount of heat needed every 10 minutes for gas boilers (20 minutes for oil burners) and switch the boiler on for a proportion of that time to maintain the set room temperature. This stops the wide fluctuations that can occur with conventional thermostats and fine tunes the performance of the boiler creating the opportunity to save on fuel.

And what of the payback?

Recent Department of Energy and Climate figures indicate that in 2012 the average household energy bill (electricity and gas) was about £1280.

An upgrade as detailed – wireless time switch and thermostat added to a system with TRV’s – will require professional installation as the receiver needs wiring into the boiler control. That said, the installation / controls package with a couple of hours of labour – should not exceed £300. On the TACMA estimate using the 2012 energy figures, the pay back on the upgrade will be comfortable achieved in a year.

“The energy and cost benefits from improved controls can be achieved straight away with any boiler,” adds Paul Lovegrove. “In fact, the percentage improvement from controls added to an older, less efficient boiler will result in a greater total energy saving than with a modern boiler. This opportunity has yet to be fully grasped.

“It is a significant investment for the householder so accelerating the rate is likely to prove difficult unless we have another government backed ‘boiler scrappage’ scheme.

“A low cost controls upgrade is a much easier decision to influence, and is a much quicker path to achieve cost savings and significant reductions in the carbon emissions from existing homes,” he concludes.