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Discuss Heating help please!! in the Central Heating Forum area at UKPlumbersForums.co.uk.

  1. hurricane501

    hurricane501 New Member

    Hi,

    Im new here and only made this account due to getting no help from the council or my energy supplier...

    Im having issue with my central heating, it seems really expensive and doesnt even heat the house up!

    Im on smart meters due to no standing charges but the heating just eats my credit.

    I topped up £20 last monday when i had £5 credit and its used all £25 within a week, i only have my heating on for a max of 6 hours per day, ive timed it and it seems to use £2 for 2 hours usages, which seems stupidly high?

    The radiators heat up fine down stairs and ive bled them myself which did seem to help, but the main bedroom rad doesnt get very hot and as soon as i turn the heating off its stone cold within 5 minutes while the rest retain heat for some time.

    My boiler doesnt ever seem to turn off and just keeps heating the water, i thought its supposed to turn off when the house reaches a certain temperature? Mine doesnt..

    So i know my rad in the bedroom is broken, but ive watched videos and done everything i can to fix it, yet it just doesnt get very hot and loses its heat instantly, this combined with the heating just eating my money makes me thing theres a bigger issue? £20 per week when i live alone and only have my heating on for VERY small amounts of time see stupidly high and my gas cost is pretty average/low.

    Please somebody help me work this out.
     
  2. king of pipes

    king of pipes Trusted Plumber GSR Top Contributor!!

    This can be a common problem when was it last serviced? this needs doing every year, your GSI should carry out energy checks and advise on energy saving tips 300mm of loft insulation , cavity wall insulation , draught proofing your windows and doors, thermal lined curtains to keep heat in if you recieve any form of benift you may qualify for help and if not your energy supplier has a duty to help you insulate your home its the only way to keep the heat within your home start with a heating system health check . cheers kop
     
  3. SimonG

    SimonG Trusted Plumber Top Contributor!!

    6 hours a day isn't a very small amount of time.
     
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  4. hurricane501

    hurricane501 New Member

    6 hours per day is a lot? As soon as i turn the heating off its freezing so it needs to be on for some time.

    The average cost per month is £48 yet id be paying over £80 and they have their heating on for over 6 hours a day? How long do you leave your heating on for?

    Most my rads in this house are singles, its an old house, the windows are double glazed but all the rads are under the windows, where in my old house they were at the back of the room.
     
  5. Harvest Fields

    Harvest Fields Trusted Plumber GSR Top Contributor!!

    My heating is on 2 hrs in the morning and 2 at night. And it has only been on about the last 2/3 weeks. Must be one of the lucky ones with good insulation.
     
  6. king of pipes

    king of pipes Trusted Plumber GSR Top Contributor!!

    The rads could probably be undersized in the living space what boiler is it ? As i said before you need stop the heat escaping which will mean making some home improvements yourself . Kop
     
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  7. hurricane501

    hurricane501 New Member

    I understand that but i dont think this is the main issue, having good insulation will help but the rad in my bedroom going cold instantly while the others remain hot is not right.

    Also the boiler not turning off and constantly going is that right? I thought combis heat your house up and then turn off at a certain temp? Im thermostat is in the passage near the front door, the rad gets really hot but is the heat escaping the front door and causing the boiler to go 100% none stop?

    The council have checked the boiler and gas and said both are fine, they have not checked any rads and i had to bleed them myself they havent been bled in years, one of the bleed valves snapped when i put it back on...

    Im pretty sure these rads are too small and old for this house but the council wont do anything about that.

    Having heating on for 4 overs is only 2 hours less and sometimes i dont have my heating on at all due to the cost! How much a month are you paying for heating Harvest? Like i say i can time my heating and watch the money be eating, it really is that bad.

    Also its a Potterton Promax combi?
     
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  8. Ric2013

    Ric2013 Plumber Top Contributor!!

    Centre terrace house here. My heating is nominally on from around 7 in the morning to 10 at night and set to about 17°C in the warmest room. I don't heat bedrooms.
    In practice, the heating will run constantly for about an hour in the morning to bring the temperature up, then is switched off by the room stat and then will typically come on for a few minutes per hour during the day, running a bit more in the evenings as the outside temperature falls, and heat losses increase. Then it switches off and I go to bed. If no one is oin during the day, I sometimes turn the thermostat down to 15°C, so the heating is usually not running at all.

    Combi just means it gives you instant hot water.

    What is your gas consumption in m2 or kWh, rather than in £? This may be the problem. Some energy suppliers sting you with a very bad rate on the first xxx units, or a high standing charge.

    If you genuinely aren't using much gas, try getting a price comparison from 'ebico' as this is the only company I know of that charges a flat rate of x pence per unit of gas used.

    The above sound like a contradiction? The boiler will switch on and off to keep the water in the rads hot. The room stat will switch the entire system (including the boiler) off when it feels warm enough: it does not set the boiler to 100% or otherwise, but it might continue running the heating when the lounge, say, is perfectly warm enough.

    Do any of your rooms get hotter than you need them?
     
  9. SimonG

    SimonG Trusted Plumber Top Contributor!!

    The wife has ours on all day, controlled by the thermostat. So it comes in and out as required.

    Start recording meter readings at start of day. Same time each day and record how long you have the heating on for.

    It may well be you have an issue, but you need to take it up with the council. At least you will have data to back it up.
     
  10. hurricane501

    hurricane501 New Member

    None of the rooms get hot lol, the rads are hot to touch but my feet are freezing and i still need to wrap up, i cant feel any heat really.

    I got an oil rad from my dad and had that on and can instantly feel the heat but it eats the electric and only heats one room.

    My tarrif =
    Unit Rate 1* (pence per kWh) 7.896p for the first 180 kWh of gas per month
    Unit Rate 2* (pence per kWh) 3.283p
    NO standing charges.

    I have no idea what my consumption is as i have no way to tell? but if i add it up by £ its VERY high for a single person. I only really want the bedroom rad on as thats the place where i spend most my time, but the thermostat rad you cant switch off and the thermostat on the rads needs to be at 6 or it doesnt even turn on. I swear this house is so old nothing works. I was on storage heaters before i moved here and they did destroy the electricity but your house was roasting.

    My boiler never turns off, if i put the heating on it just keeps going 100% until i turn it off. The timers on it dont work at all, its ancient, nothing seems to work.

    Running baths and cooking doesnt use much gas at all, its only the heating.
     
  11. ShaunCorbs

    ShaunCorbs S. Mod Trusted Plumber GSR Top Contributor!!

    Sounds like your rads are undersized
     
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  12. Ric2013

    Ric2013 Plumber Top Contributor!!

    Yes, so your supplier is charging you more per kWh for the first lot of units in place of a standing charge, which is not unusual.

    Assuming you have a bill, that will have the meter readings - but are you on estimated readings? I would suggest if you don't have a bill, you ask your supplier for details of what they have based your charges on, and, yes, do read your gas meter, as Simon has suggested. It will normally read in cubic metres or 100's of cubic feet and from there we can work out the approximate kWh.

    For comparison, my gas from 10th October till today (6 days off two months) is 108 cubic metres, which is about 1188kWh, which, on my tariff, comes to £59, inclusive of VAT at 5%.

    If your tariff is as you say (I'm assuming I need to add 5% VAT to your prices per kWh), 180 units = £14.92. This leaves £33 odd at the lower unit charge, so a further 960 units, making your total gas consumption 1139 kWh per month. (Don't bother with ebico - it would cost you more at this time of year if you are using this much gas.)

    The other things you may wish to check with your supplier is that A you aren't paying off a previous occupant's debt (prepayment metres can do this) and B that you are only paying the higher rate on 180 kWh in December, in January etc etc - npower once averaged my higher rate at so many units per month, but when I asked them specifically, they admitted that actually, they charged more higher-rate units in winter than in summer, and that the stated number per month was just an average.
     
  13. Ric2013

    Ric2013 Plumber Top Contributor!!

    Getting back to your bedroom radiator - do you have TRVs (thermostatic radiator valves - the ones with numbers)? If it's only getting lukewarm, that will explain the fact that it gets cold more quickly.
    Sounds like a stuck TRV, or balance/flow problem, which is your landlord's responsibility.
    Or does it have the old fashioned manual valves?
     
  14. hurricane501

    hurricane501 New Member

    Hi thanks for the info.

    No them rates are with tax included, its the cheapest for a single person due to no standing charges, i only pay for what i use, so when im away from my house it doesnt cost me anything.

    Ive just been on the phone to utilita and worked out it cost me 37p to cook some pasties in the oven for 27 m? This means it used 4.6 kwh at gas mark 7 for 27 m.

    Im not sure this is right? and the guy on the phone said it doesnt sound right either. So its not just my heating thats the issue, it seems the oven is eating the gas too!

    The guy has advised me how to track my daily usage so i will time it all and get some data to show the council.

    Hes also sending my last few months usage but they cant give me times, its just daily usage, so i need to time it all myself from now on and use the daily usage to add it up.
     
  15. hurricane501

    hurricane501 New Member

    The council gas guy bodged a tvr on it and ive took it off to make sure its not stuck and its not, it moves fine, the rad gets hot but not really hot but doesnt retain heat, its a TINY rad for a massive bedroom too and its under the window, im pretty sure it should be bigger and be a double rad.
     
  16. Chester

    Chester New Member

    I too suffer with a cold house at this time of year, things I changed were - curtains or furniture covering your rads? Check whether you have drafts from windows and under your external doors, if your front door is letting the cold in 24/7 your thermostat might never reach temp for obvious reasons and keep boiler running. As others have said the rads could be undersized.
     
  17. hurricane501

    hurricane501 New Member

    Okay, ive just putting the heating on now, turned off all rads in the house and only the bedroom rad is on. When i first put the heating on it was so hot i couldnt touch it! its been on 30 mins now and its luke warm, i can easy hold the rad.

    So it can heat up, but wont heat up? This is doing my head in, its fking freezing!
     
  18. Ric2013

    Ric2013 Plumber Top Contributor!!

    The radiator is doing its job - it's supposed to lose its heat to the room and I would expect it to cool over half an hour.

    If it is getting hot when other rads are off and wasn't before, then the system isn't balanced properly.

    Lots of companies have zero standing charge tariffs, so it is worth shopping around, now you know your precise usage. I've been told before 'we are the cheapest for you' but the company was basing that claim on an average person, and we're all different.

    4.6kWh for half an hour of oven does sound like a lot (more than my boiler could use in that time!), but probably best putting a separate thread on this specific question. I expect the registered gas installers on this site will know what is typical for an oven...
     
  19. neilrj

    neilrj New Member

    This isn't a cubic metre reading versus a 100's cubic ft reading on the meter is it - that's an error of nearly x3 from memory - not that I can remember which way? What does it say on the gas meter about it's measuring unit, and what does the bill say - not the kW figures but the meter figures before conversion?
     
  20. hurricane501

    hurricane501 New Member

    Okay the rad is not supposed to lose heat when the heating is still on, its supposed to stay hot, not go luke warm in 30 mins, ive never been in a house thats done that...

    The 37p for 27 mins is 4.6 khw at 8p which is what im on, its mega high and it shows how bad my system is. Due to this it also shows its not just my heating, it seems theres an issue with the gas feed.

    Im not plumber so have no clue but im good with numbers and have been on at the council for months about this, ive changed supplier twice since ive moved here, thinking it could be a supplier issue but my tarrif seems good for me and i couldnt see any other company that doesnt have a standing charge or cheaper than this at my address.

    My bedroom rad is set to 3 but if i set to 5 it makes noises and heats up, if i set to anything under 5 it will stop making noises and go cold, even though the heating is on. The pin is not stuck as i have taken the top off and checked and by turning it up and down shows the pin is fine.

    If i had the money id put a full new system in, there seems to be so many different issues and its costing me too much to run, even now the heating has been on nearly 3 hours and my feet are freezing, the rad is not even a meter away from my feet and i cant feel it...
     
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  21. king of pipes

    king of pipes Trusted Plumber GSR Top Contributor!!

    You have definitely have a problem there your usage should not be that high, a engineer will need to attend and tightness test your system and do a gas rate to work out your heating load , if the council refuse to come out tell them you think you have a gas leak play them at their own game once they get there you can have your say , failing that contact citizens advice and let them help you get this resolved . cheers kop
     
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  22. SimonG

    SimonG Trusted Plumber Top Contributor!!

    You also need to understand how a thermostatic radiator valve works. Your heating can be on and a radiator can be cold if the room temp has made the thermostatic valve close. Even harder if a trv is dodgy.
     
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  23. Ric2013

    Ric2013 Plumber Top Contributor!!

    Hurricane: I had no idea how clued up you are or aren't. I'm only trying to help and I don't always get it right. If I come across as patronising, it's because most people simply don't have a clue and I have to assume that's the case with any new poster.

    I'm not saying that the radiator should get cold when the system is on, I'm saying it may well be normal for it to cool - once the system switches off. Often, systems that are off still have considerable quantities of hot water in the pipework that can keep the rads warm, or the rads can have a high water content. I don't know what type of radiator you have, or how much heat your house needs vs. how much heat your system puts out. Depends on where you are, the site, how hot your party walls are, the type of house, and how hot you need your house to be - I'm assuming you're mostly in bed due to not being able to be very active, and this may mean you need a warmer house than some can get away with.

    Basically, though, it sounds like a system that is designed to heat the entire house and you're trying to heat only one room. I can't say I blame you, and I don't like the concept of central heating for the very reason that it will often work inefficiently and ineffectively when you using it as you are, or as I do at home.

    Difference is though, that you are, in a month, somehow using almost the exact amount of gas I am in just under two months. But this alone wouldn't really surprise me as I don't know many people who pay as little as I do for gas. But most people do manage to keep their houses much warmer than mine.

    I don't think I can help you more than this. I think you need to push the 'fuel poverty' card and hope someone in the council can be persuaded to take an interest. If you can get Citizen's Advice, the NEA, your local councillor etc to push your case forward, as it sounds like your dwelling is defective, this may help you. Good luck.
     
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  24. The Marnix

    The Marnix New Member

     
  25. The Marnix

    The Marnix New Member

    Hi Hurricane,
    I think first of all you should calculate how big your radiators should be. I use an online calculator at Best Heating (BTU Calculator | Radiator Sizing Guide - BestHeating »»). Then measure the size of your rads and compare them to something similar to get an idea of what output they have.
    If your rads are undersized, the boiler will run and run and never get the place hot. Its not too good for the boiler either.
    It sounds like you may need to balance your radiators to push the flow to the one in your bedroom.
    Yes, it is right to put radiators under the windows. It can be a problem if you have long curtains hanging over the radiator.
    Regarding thermostat positioning. I think the hallway is probably the best place for it but if the hall never gets warm enough to activate the stat then the boiler will never switch off. Does the radiator in your hall have a TRV? Because it shouldn't. The way a heating system should work is the room where the stats is should be the last one to get to temperature and the first to lose its temperature. That is why the hallway is good. So if you over heat your hall the stat will shut the boiler off too early and if it never gets warm enough it will never shut off.
    This is why balancing the radiators is so important.
    Have a go at balancing them yourself. It's not difficult.
    Switch you heating on and off a few times and walk around and feel your rads to see what ones heat up first and get an idea what ones are the most served and which ones are the least served (the index).
    You then need to leave your index radiator (presumably your bedroom) fully open and close all other to about 1/2 a turn open.
    Yes 1/2 a turn. Radiator lockshield valves (the one without the thermostatic head) go through about 4 turns from open to closed, but all of the regulation (valve authority) is on that last turn. So 1/2 a turn open is a good place to start if you already now where your index is.
    If you already know that this radiator is undersized, don't try to balance to it. You will just sacrifice the rest of the system for no benefit. Balance to the next coolest rad instead and get that one changed or repaired.
    You said that you shut off all the rads except the one in your bedroom? When you did this did the bedroom get up to temperature?
    I don't like the sound of your TRV being noisy. See if you can work out what make and model it is and check to see if its bi-directional or not. If it isn't, has it been installed in the wrong direction?
    Check that the pin is moving. The pin is on the valve, the bit inside the thermostatic head that you referred to, presses the pin down. With the head off, press the pin on the valve up and down to check that it isn't stuck down. You can try pulling it up with a pair of pliars if it appears to be jammed but take care, I've heard of people pulling that pin out quite easily. You only trying to test if there's movement on it. If there isn't leave it and get it replaced.
    Next, is the system dirty? You can get someone round to check this for you, but in my experience, flushing companies are usually more than happy to tell you it needs to be flush whether it does or not.
    If your rads are sludged up you may find that they are cold along the bottom and around the centre. Have a look at some rad flushing company websites, they will probably have some pictures to show you where sludge builds up.
    I've seen british gas engineers determine if the pipework is dirty by placing a magnet onto the copper pipework. The idea is that if the magnet sticks then there is sludge in the system. DON'T DO THIS or let anyone else do this. When you do this you will magnetise the sludge and turn a partially blocked pipe into a fully blocked pipe.
    Let me know how you get on with these checks and we will try to narrow down the problems. I am happy to write a report on the system for you to submit to the council.
    I hope this is of some help.
     
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