Heating controls (programmer and TRVs)

Priority for Completion: High

This recommendation is triggered if the property has not got a boiler programmer and TRVs installed. The exact benefit will depend upon a wide range of factors including the age and model of the boiler, the cost of the fuel used and the occupancy of the home. Generally, it is always beneficial to have a programmer as part of your system and, when one is not present, it should be fitted. However, changes to your home's heating system should be undertaken by a competent installer and may require some financial investment. We have rated this as being high priority for completion. This work may also have to be undertaken as part of other changes if required by the current Building Regulations.

What do these controls do?

A system programmer helps to control the temperature of your home making sure it is warm when you need it. Additionally, most systems now also have programmer controls for the hot water so you do not waste energy when your home is unoccupied or hot water is not required.

Modern programmers often have smart capabilities allowing you to save even more energy. As well as allowing you to change your setting from a computer or your phone, these systems can also include weather compensation to automatically adjust your heating system according to the weather.

Thermostatic Radiator Valves (better known as TRVs) help to control the temperature of different parts of your home. They are adjusted to select the required temperature and will switch off the radiators they control when this temperature is reached. Having TRVs allows you to select different temperatures in different rooms and avoid heating rooms you do not use.

There is a common misunderstanding that TRVs will slow down your home warming up. This is simply not true. Your home will only warm up as quickly as your heating system can produce the heat necessary. These controls just shut your heating off once your home has reached the required temperature so it is more comfortable and you don't waste energy overheating areas of your home.

Fitting these controls

It is generally not difficult to install a programmer but, for safety, it will require a suitable professional. This is due to it requiring electrical work to connect it to your boiler. Many modern digital controls allow you to select different temperatures at different times of day to match your occupancy patterns. Additionally, some have smart learning capabilities and / or internet connectivity to allow remote adjustment.

Building Regulations now require that alterations to heating systems are subject to Building Control. The easiest way to comply is to make sure all work is carried out by a suitably qualified professional who is registered with an appropriate industry scheme. It can be very dangerous to attempt this work if you are not fully competent and, if you are unable to prove the work was completed properly, it could affect your ability to sell your home in future.

TRVs are also easy to install but do require some plumbing knowledge. Getting it wrong can result in leaks and damage to your home.