Understanding Boiler Control ‘Buzzwords’

Understanding Boiler Control ‘Buzzwords’

Andy Douglas, MD at Timeguard, explains what those common boiler control features mean and how you can communicate these benefits to your customers.

When replacing a traditional heating thermostat with a more sophisticated programmable room thermostat it’s important to understand the basics before your customer asks.

Turning a programmable room thermostat to a higher setting will not make the room heat up any faster. How quickly the room heats up depends on the design of their heating system: the size of boiler and radiators. Neither does the setting affect how quickly the room cools down. The way to set and use a programmable room thermostat is to find the lowest temperature settings that are comfortable at the different times of day selected, and then leave it alone to do its job.

There are a few other settings that they might not be so familiar with:

Programming times

When you first decide with the customer whether weekday/weekend (5-2) or individual (7) day programming is required you may need to move a jumper on the rear of the product. After any change of jumper position, reset may need to be pressed, which will return the unit to default time and programme. The same may go for selecting swing control and optimum start settings although this is not the case with good WiFi controlled devices, where the user should be able to change these settings at will.

Swing control

Enables users to choose the range around a set point temperature. Within this range the thermostat will not turn the heating on and off and cycle the boiler, reducing wear and tear and minimising the energy loss that comes from gas purging each time the boiler fires and deactivates. Short cycling adds to wear and tear on a boiler and can also be annoyingly noisy. It is much more energy efficient to let the temperature rise and fall a degree or so and then run the heating/cooling for a longer time.

Typical swing options for domestic use are 1.0o and 0.5o. Choosing a 1.0o swing around a target set temperature of 20o simply means that the heating will not be switched on or off until the temperature is higher than 21o or lower than 19o. The difference between 1.0o and 0.5o may not seem to be all that significant, but in practice people do notice small changes in temperature, especially the very young and the elderly.

Night setback

Lowers the room temperature at night, which reduces heating costs. Conveniently, users don’t need to work out, or programme in, different settings.

Optimum Start

Is a feature that enables the thermostat to learn the response of the system it’s controlling and work out how long it will take to heat up the property. These thermostats work out the best time to switch on to ensure that the desired temperature is reached at the right time. Before the boiler fires up the actual room temperature is checked and, if appropriate, firing may be delayed, thus saving fuel while still ensuring the homeowners will arrive to a warm and welcoming home.

Proportional Control

Is another function that helps to eliminate the overshoot that can be associated with standard on/off control and lead to unnecessary short cycling. When Proportional Control is selected, it decreases the power used by the heating system as the temperature approaches target so that there is a ‘soft landing’ rather than overshoot

For more information about the range of intelligent thermostats from Timeguard visit: www.timeguard.com

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