Saving with weather compensation controls

Published:  02 November, 2016

Jon Phillips explains how weather compensation controls can unlock significant energy savings

There are many different types of heating control on the market today, and it’s easy to assume that the latest, all-singing, all-dancing smart controls are the best solution for optimum boiler performance, homeowner comfort and energy savings.

While the latest feature-rich smart options promise the customer ultimate control over their heating, it’s still worth considering long established products, as they too can provide valuable savings – often without any input from the enduser once commissioned.

Savings whatever the weather

Take weather compensation controls for example, by no means a new concept and indeed a statutory requirement in some countries and building types. Weather compensation technology regulates the primary flow temperature leaving the boiler in line with the measured outside temperature. This means that internal comfort conditions are maintained more efficiently and the boiler does not ramp up to maximum output unless absolutely necessary.

This control method promotes optimum boiler efficiency throughout the year, also reducing unnecessary wear and tear caused by boiler cycling, which can be an unwanted side-effect when using simple on/off control.

Since condensing boilers were mandated in 2005 there has been significant market penetration of fully modulating appliances, although given the prevailing minimum level of control stipulated within Building Regulations many have been fitted with simple mechanical room thermostats. Weather compensation can promote greater system efficiency and should not only be considered in new installations, they can also be retrofitted to upgrade most modern boilers, making it a particularly flexible option.

Hands-off heating

Another key selling point for weather compensation controls is that they are homeowner friendly. In fact, they are “fit and forget”. The homeowner doesn’t need to do anything to reap the benefits, as the controls do all the work once they are commissioned to suit the property and system in question.

The importance of controls

Since Ecodesign and Energy Labelling (ErP) legislation came into force in September 2015, the way in which controls can boost the energy efficiency of a heating system has become even more transparent, with the addition of controls improving the package energy efficiency rating. Choosing the right heating controls for an installation can make a big difference to a household’s comfort levels and lifestyle.

Furthermore, according to the government Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP), weather compensation controls can be attributed with a 3% uplift to boiler seasonal efficiency, therefore over the lifetime of a boiler installation significant savings can be realised in terms of both fuel bills and carbon emissions reduction. As SAP is used to calculate Energy Performance Certificates weather compensation can also help, along with other energy efficiency measures, to improve the overall rating of a property therefore making it more attractive to prospective buyers or tenants.

It is important to create a heating system that closely matches the needs of the homeowner and their lifestyle, whether that means choosing the latest in smart technology or opting for more simple, easy-to-use controls, like weather compensation.

Installers are a vital part of the chain when it comes to the heating industry supplying consumers with truly efficient solutions, and can guide homeowners into investing in increasingly more efficient systems to reduce their energy use and their environmental impact.

Jon Phillips is head of product management at Baxi

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