Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

Most efficient way to use my thermostat?

venus23 Member Posts: 1
Good evening,
Please could I have some advice on the best way to use my thermostat and heating?

I currently just whack it on ‘sunshine’ a couple of times a day (for a couple of hours in total or maybe more if I indulge or am so tired to keep on top of what I’m using), and then it’s turned off the rest of the time. Is this most efficient as I simple struggle to understand how in my situation it would be better to keep the house permanently heated at a constant temperature.

-big’ish old country cottage house, with about 14 rooms, over two floors, house is in a permanent long term state of renovation, with only about 2/3rds of the rooms used for daily living/sleeping. The rest are ‘junk rooms’
-Kerosene combi boiler, and I’m currently spending about £2000/year (or slightly less) on kerosene.
-9 year old Grant boiler (which I don’t think is the best, but it’s what I have and I’m not looking to change it until it breaks permanently)
-rooms are not amazingly thermo-efficient I would imagine. Many of the bedrooms have sloping ceilings, and therefore not any loft cavity above much of upstairs, but I do have loft insulation that has recently been topped up. I have some old windows, some new.
-Each room will only get renovated over many years, so a big thermal investment won’t happen.
-I have two log burners in the main living spaces and free access to wood which get my two main rooms as roasting hot as I wish.
-I have electric underfloor heating in the kitchen spaces, which I put on for the evening once home from work, and turn off before bed.
-myself and children have electric bed blankets and a few electric oil filled portable heaters up on the bedroom to take the winter chill off at bedtime/through the night. Then all turned off in the day.
-I get up at 7am, out the house by 8am and we don’t really leave the bedroom and upstairs bathroom in this time. I generally pop the radiators on for this hour to take the chill off. Is this a waste, as I’m heating all of downstairs.
-I come home between 5pm and 8pm on different days, to a cold house. I put electric underfloor on in kitchen (large kitchen with very good underfloor insulation takes about 1-2 hours to go from 14 deg to 20.5deg) whack the thermostat/radiators on full for an hour or so and light both or one of my log burners, as long as it’s not too late and I’m not flagging in motivation.
-then at bedtime I warm the bedrooms with the electric oil heater and put the electric blankets on.

So any opinions please would be welcome. Is it better to heat the bones of the house permanently with my rads, especially as a third of the house is very well heated with free wood burning? Is it efficient to warm the house all day when I’m out in the winter often from 8am-6pm or later? How should I actually use/program my thermostat, because currently I just turn it from ‘off’ to ‘auto’ and then click the moon/sun button to ‘sun’ which is currently set at 21deg

*of course weekends take a different routine, and in summer I rarely need heating, just occasional use of electric underfloor and the odd hour or radiators on.


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,458
    What are your electric rates like, as compared to the cost of kerosene?

    I rather suspect that, all things considered, that the routine you have set up -- particularly with the wood being low cost -- may well be the least expensive in your situation. Mind you, I'm not really keen on the electric heaters in the bedrooms when you are sleeping, but if they are in good condition and you are an absolute fanatic about keeping anything which could restrict them (like stray clothing) it's probably OK. I'd want to see fire/smoke alarms up there, though.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,128
    edited March 2023
    I agree with Jamie. You seem to have a State of the Art system already in place with interactive humanoid interface in real time to operate all the different appliances at your disposal. I'm just wondering if you have a backup system in the event there is a malfunction of the primary human control system? Sometimes they are referred to as a Spouse. Other options are the eldest Son or Daughter can become a secondary backup. As a last resort you may need to have a Mate on the payroll for a backup.

    Stiff upper lip... Bob's your uncle... and all that rubbish... as long as you are not absolutely knackered by the routine then just... Keep calm and carry on...

    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

  • Dave Carpentier
    Dave Carpentier Member Posts: 596
    Letting parts chill down does help.
    The structure itself (walls, windows, sealing cracks, insulation) has an overall loss rate. As you improve that stuff your loss rate goes down.
    Loss rate goes up in relation to the difference in temperature between the in and out sides of the structure. (Wind and sunshine affect it too)
    When you drop the temp in a room, the temp diff goes down and you save some energy.
    Warming it back up of course takes quite a bit of energy (and time), but during that 'cold' period it saved some.
    The question is, is the 'pain' of living with cold periods worth the savings ? If someone was watching every single penny, then for sure. Some of our forefathers went thru worse.

    For a while I was on a time-of-day electric plan. Our fam of 4 was trying to keep the hot water (showers, clothes) and cooking on the lower time pricings. Shift work was making it too difficult. After a year or so we gave it up and went regular usage pricing. I never did a long apples to apples check, but it seems like my bill went up 10% ? Thats money I could use for other stuff for sure, but ya gotta pick your battles.

    30+ yrs in telecom outside plant.
    Currently in building maintenance.