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Understanding Central Heating Controls

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Understanding Central Heating Controls

Smart heating controls graphic

To ensure you’re using your heating to its utmost potential, it’s important to understand all of your central heating controls. A&D Plumbing Services are here to take you through the different controls and programmes to help you to get the best out of your heating systems.

Types of heating controls

Time programmers

Timers can turn the heating and hot water on or off at a time that suits you – perfect for warming water for hot showers in the morning or warming up the home for when you get back. Having your heating and water on timers is a great way to keep your energy bills low and your home energy efficient.

The trick is to set your heating up half an hour before you get out of bed in the morning and to set it to shut off half an hour before you leave; as it takes most systems 30 minutes to heat up or cool down.

You can set the timer by either using a mechanical timer or a digital timer. When using a mechanical timer, you will typically find a button in the middle of the timer that’s found on your boiler and this button can be moved between 1 and 0. When the button is switched to 1, the heating will be on constant and in between the 1 and 0, the heating will respond to the timer you have inputted. At 0, your heating will remain completely off.

On digital timer control panels, it’s likely you will be able to flick through the days of the week and the weekends by changing the settings. Firstly, slide the panel down to have access to the rest of the buttons. Check you’re on the right days – if your timings need to be specific. When a number or word flashes on the panel, this means you have the ability to change the time/date – so use with the appropriate button to alter and finish with ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to confirm. There will be a small switch on this device that reads: ‘set programme’ and ‘set time run’. You will need to switch this back to ‘set time run’ when you have set up the appropriate programme. 

heating controls Wall mounted timed programmers

Room thermostat

These are typically found in hallways or living rooms, and the role of a room thermostat is to monitor and maintain the heat inside the home. The benefits of a room thermostat are twofold: they make for an energy efficient home, as, once the rooms are warm enough, the heating will go off – preventing it from getting too warm. This helps you to save some cash along the way, too, as it’s only on when you really need it to be. Normally, room thermostats are set between 18 and 21ºc.

Thermostatic radiator valves

A thermostatic radiator valve gives you the power to control the temperature of the room. These valves can be found on one side of your radiator. Simply turn the gauge between numbers 1-5 to regulate the heat that is being expelled. The lower the number on the gauge, the slower the water flow through the radiators and the higher the number, the faster the water flows through. Essentially, if you want the room to reach temperature quickly, putting a radiator on 5 is the best way to achieve this.

Thermostatic radiator valves

Hot water cylinder thermostats

Hot water tanks/cylinder thermostats have the job of regulating the temperature of your hot water. Like your room thermostat, the hot water cylinder thermostat will heat the water in the tank and, once it reaches the set temperature, the heat supply will shut off to avoid wasting energy.

Set the temperature to 60ºc, this will kill harmful bacteria and ensure your water is hot enough for showers and safe for use. If this is too hot, try using mixer taps. Mixer taps draw both hot and cold water together and flow out of a single faucet.

Smart heating controls

With technology surrounding us day-to-day, smartphones and tablets can now be used to turn your home’s heating system on and off remotely – ensuring you always come home to a warm welcome.

Having smart heating controls means that you can be flexible with your schedule, so whether you’ve got home later than expected or had forgotten about a commitment, you can use your phone to make the heating turn on later instead.

Smart Heating Control on a smart pad

What Smart Heating Controls are Available?


This system allows you to be able to control all elements of your heating, i.e. individual radiators.


From basic packages to complex packages, nCube has the ability to control heating, lighting and the security within your home.


Nest has ‘occupancy detection’ which means your heating will turn on and off for you automatically when you enter/leave your home. Nest is paired to your mobile and will use your GPS to know when you’re at home and when you’re out.  


This product allows you to schedule and change your thermostat on-the-go, to suit your needs. Ideal for the change in seasons when we experience unexpected hot or cold weather.  

Wave Smart

This can be used manually or remotely. Wave Smart systems take the current weather into consideration by utilising Wave Smart sensors and postcode monitoring before adjusting the indoor heating, to compensate for the external weather outside.


This system allows you to control not just your heating, but lighting, smoke alarms, security and audiovisuals too.


British Gas’ Hive system is simple but effective, allowing you to control your heating manually or remotely.

If you’re looking for advice and assistance, call on A&D Plumbing Services today. We offer a range of boiler services including repairs, servicing and installations. With a wealth of experience in the industry and trained professionals ready to lend a hand, you can trust us to get a good job done. We operate throughout Cambridge, Brentwood, Chelmsford, Royston, Maldon, Southend, Felixstowe, Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill, Ipswich, Colchester, Braintree, Harlow, Newmarket, Sudbury and the surrounding areas.


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