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Using Your Heating – Dos and Don'ts

By Jamey Wagner | Home Improvement | Rating:

Heating is a very important tool that allows us to choose a temperature for our home using a thermostat and then keep it at that level. It is crucial that we have this capability in our home in order to ensure that we aren’t waking up to a cold room or risking causing ourselves pneumonia during the night. Existing in the cold will also tax your immune system and this will leave you susceptible to illness or disease. At the same time if you let it get too cold then this will cause moisture to form which will collect on the cold surfaces of your home such as the walls and ceilings and then turn into condensation.

Mould is a serious problem for anyone who has it in their home and it can have a lot of detrimental effects on our health as well as on our furniture and belongings. Mould growing on your sofa for instance is a sure fire way to damage it (and also just to make it a lot less pleasant to sit on in the meantime), while at the same time the mould will also create moisture and bacteria in the air which can exacerbate existing breathing conditions and even create new ones – too much mould can actually cause asthma.

It is important then to be able to avoid the negative effects of not using your heating properly to warm your house, and to ensure you keep it warm enough to stave off mould at all times. At the same time, using heating correctly is also equally as important for being able to reduce the amount of energy that you waste which will not only decrease your fuel bill, but will also help to minimise your carbon footprint and mean that you’re doing your bit for the energy crisis.

Despite this many people don’t know how to use their heating and end up causing themselves harm as a result – many elderly residents even end up causing themselves fatal illness as a result. Here then we will look at some guidelines on how to use your heating and what not to do… The ‘Dos and Don’ts’ of using your heating:

DO NOT

Leave your heating off until it starts to get to the colder months. If you wait until the winter to turn on your heating then the walls will lose the heat they have stored over that duration. It will then cost a lot more money and take a lot longer to heat the walls back up – at which time they will likely already have begun to attract moisture that will lay the foundations for mould.

DO NOT

Desperately try to save money by not heating your home – your health comes first and at the end of the day it will cost more in terms of days off of work, health costs etc if you should make yourself unwell. That and it is also surprisingly cheap to heat your home using a gas boiler.

DO

Turn you heating up around September (or earlier) and put the thermostat at a temperature of no less than 18Celcius. Make sure that you also adjust the valves on your individual radiators to put the temperature at about 16C in each room. This will help to automatically keep your building above the ‘dew point’ temperature at which mould and dew will otherwise start to collect.

With economy 7 or ‘night heaters’ this may be different. It is important to listen out for the weather forecast at nights and to then adjust the input control on these to take that into what the temperature will be like the next day. Most of these heaters will have two knobs, usually the one on the right hand side will control the level of heat input and left one will control the level of heat output. The left knob then controls a flat within the heater and it is important that you set this so that heat can escape gradually during the day. These control knobs are usually marked with a number between 1 and 10 around the outside of them. As a basic guide for average temperature (10-17C outside) you should set the input control to around 4 to 8 – around 10C. In cold weather you should turn it above 8.

DO NOT

Over-ventilate your house through leaving your windows latched open all day when it is cold. Again this will cause your walls to lose their heating.

DO

Open the windows wide however for around half an hour to an hour in the mornings and then close them leaving just a small gap of around a quarter of an inch (5mm). You can also air this way in order to get rid of short term condensation so open the window if you see this forming.

DO

Mop up any condensation or water that you find collecting on the window glass and sills. Wring out a cloth in the toilet or in the washbasin and don’t leave it lying around wet which can create a ‘reservoir’ for more condensation.

DO NOT

Turn your heating on for short durations (less than an hour). This will worsen rather than improve the problem as the air will absorb the water vapour quicker than the walls will be able to heat up. When the heater is turned off, air cools down very fast and the condensation will rapidly occur cooling the walls more.

DO

Use the heating for three hours or more at a time whenever you do decide to use it. You should have a timer attached to your heater that allows you to regulate when it automatically turns on and off (this is normally a dial with a red and blue block on it on a wheel, when the time reaches the point with the red block heating comes on, when it reaches the blue block it comes off). Set your heating to come on around an hour before you go to bed. If you are home for the whole day, then turn the heating on for not less than three hours in a go, but keep the temperature lower. Aim to set the thermostat to a temperature that you will be happy existing in for a long period of time.

DO NOT

Try to quickly warm your house up by turning the thermostat on high. This is a common mistake that fails to recognise how a thermostat actually works. If you turn up the heating very high then your home will continue to get hotter until it reaches that temperature. If this temperature is 30C then it will be unpleasant staying in your room. Turn it lower and it will still heat up your home just as quickly – but it will stop once it reaches the desired temperature.

DO

Get your heating checked regularly and your gas examined. This way you can ensure that your heating is as efficient as possible and mean that you are wasting the minimum possible amount of energy and the minimum possible amount of money. It will also mean that your heating is unlikely to suddenly break down while you’re in the house, and thereby leave you completely in the cold until you get it repaired.

DO

Help your heating to combat mould. There are other things you can do to prevent mould other than turning up your heating and leaving it at that. For instance make sure that you purchase a dehumidifier if the problem is bad, to ensure that you have adequate draining on your roof to steer away water. Run the cold water in the bath first, don’t hang too many of your clothes out to dry etc.





Jamey Wagner

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