HeatinTg Helpline Tip of the Month
Tip of the Month
If you’re planning to be away from home this winter, whether for a quick visit to relatives or a holiday abroad, such a break could easily coincide with a severe cold snap in the British Isles and you don’t come home to a flooded house or flat caused by a burst pipe. So don’t be tempted to turn off your heating altogether – cold weather can wreak havoc on water pipes so it’s best to keep your heating on low – around 10º C / 50º F.
Glossary of terms
The following is a brief explanation of some of the heating and energy efficiency terms (and jargon) you might come across:
- Carbon monoxide A highly poisonous gas that has no colour, taste or smell. It can be produced by any appliances burning gas, wood, oil or coal, and can kill without warning in just a matter of hours.
- CHP Micro CHP (combined heat and power) units generate heat using gas like a standard boiler, but the waste energy is converted into electricity.
- Combination boiler Boilers that heat water immediately, with no need for a hot water cylinder.
- Condensing boiler A highly efficient boiler that extracts heat from flue gases instead of wasting it. It can be up to 95% efficient, the remaining flue emissions being released as steam.
- Energy efficiency The ratio between the amount of useful heat produced and the energy required to produce it.
- Energy performance certificate (EPC) Legal document required in relation to all houses rented or sold, which rates the property's energy efficiency.
- Energy Saving Trust (EST) Government-funded organisation which promotes energy efficiency across the UK.
- Feed-in Tariff The Goverment deal with energy suppliers that means if you generate elecricity from a renewable source (like solar pv panels) you will be paid by your energy supplier. The supplier pays a set rate for every unit or kWh of electricity you produce. Additionally you sell the electricity you don't use to the National Grid which pays a set amount for every unit sold. See also Dept. of Energy and Climate Change under Directory below.
- Gas Safe Register The national "watchdog" for gas safety in Great Britain.
- Ground source heat pump Renewable technology that transfers heat from the ground – via a buried pipe, into a building to provide heat (as part of an underfloor system) and, in some cases, hot water.
- Heat loss calculation A measure of how well a building holds on to heat, and how much heat/energy must be put into a home to keep it warm.
- Insulation Materials used to reduce the rate of heat transfer.
- Kilowatt (kW) Unit of measurement of boiler power.
- Kilowatt hour One kilowatt hour (kWh) is 1000 watts of energy used for one hour. As an example a 100-watt lightbulb switched on for 10 hours is equal to 1kWh.
- Microgeneration The generation of zero or low-carbon heat and power by individuals, small businesses or communities to meet their own needs. (Examples include solar heating, photovoltaics and wind turbines.)
- Photovoltaics Devices and equipment like roof mounted Solar PV panels that use energy from the sun to create electricity.
- Programmable thermostat Central heating controller that can adjust a room's conditions according to temperature and time of day.
- Renewable energy Energy generated from natural resources – such as sunlight, wind, tides and geothermal heat – which are "renewable" (ie, naturally replenished).
- R-value A measure of thermal resistance commonly used to characterise thermal insulation materials in buildings.
- Storage heaters A heater that works by taking an energy charge during off peak energy times (usually overnight), converting it to heat and releasing that heat throughout the day.
- Solar photovoltaic Renewable technology that converts energy from the sun into electricity.
- Solar thermal heating Renewable technology that uses the heat from the sun to warm water for use in domestic and commercial central heating systems and hot water supplies.
- Thermostat A device used for regulating the temperature of a heating system.
- Thermostatic radiator valve (TRV) An individual thermostat fitted to a radiator to regulate the temperature of the room in which it is installed.
- U value Used to measure the thermal performance of a building – the lower the U value, the greater the thermal insulation.
- Underfloor heating Efficient space heating system that uses either buried hot water pipes or electrical element to provide radiant heat.
- Dept of Energy and Climate Change www.decc.gov.uk For information on the feed-in tariif scheme.
- B&ES Heating Helpline 0800 810 8303 Free, impartial advice on home heating and energy saving.
- Gas Safe Register 0800 408 5577 www.gassaferegister.co.uk The gas safety "watchdog" for Great Britain.
- Carbon Monoxide Consumer Awareness Alliance www.becarbonmonoxideaware.com Network of organisations committed to raising awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide.
- Energy Saving Trust 0800 512 012 www.energysavingtrust.org.uk Essential advice on home energy-saving.
- TrustMark 0800 652 7868 http://trustmark.hvca.org.uk Government-endorsed register of reliable, competent tradespeople.
- Energy Performance Certificates http://epc.direct.gov.uk/index.html
- Microgeneration in the Home 0800 915 0990 www.lowcarbonbuildings.org
- National Energy Foundation 01908 665555 www.nef.org.uk
- Renewable Energy Association 020 7747 1830 www.r-e-a.net
- Public Services for the Home www.direct.gov.uk
- Gas Emergencies 0800 111 999
- Act on CO2 www.actonCO2.co.uk Guidance on how to reduce your carbon footprint.
- Warm Front 0800 3162805 www.warmfront.co.uk Information on grants to help with home energy-saving measures.