Using Controls To Help Limit Heating Costs
Electricity is the most expensive and carbon-intensive heating fuel available in the UK, the average annual cost of heating and hot water using electricity is £2,053. An Ofgem study found that there are over 2 million homes in the UK using electric heating systems, these tend to be homes with a lower efficiency rating, reflecting the higher running costs, and tended to be occupied by people with lower incomes. This means that often, those that can least afford it are paying for the most expensive method of keeping warm.
To help alleviate these costs electricity suppliers offer low-rate tariffs which give a lower price for off-peak use. By far the most common of these is Economy 7, which offers 7 hours of off peak electricity each day. The exact times this takes place are dictated by the region and supplier, for example, in London the times are 7 hours between 11pm and 7am, in the Midlands it’s 7 hours between 11:30pm and 8am and in the North West it’s a pre-defined 12:30am to 7:30am for all users. Less common is Economy 10, offering 10 hours off peak split between the morning, evening and night, and Eco 20:20, an EDF tariff giving off peak electricity at evenings and all weekend.
Sangamo offer a controller that is automatically set to work with the various low rate times throughout the country. The Powersaver Dual Flexi, a dual immersion controller designed for use with electric heating and hot water, comes pre-programmed with Economy 7 times but, uniquely, also with Economy 10 and Eco 20:20 times which can be set on installation on the rear of the unit, this means it cannot be accidently switched to the wrong time and start calling for expensive peak electricity use, leaving the tenant confident that their heating and hot water is being provided in the most cost effective way possible.
While the controller is tamperproof to go beyond the off peak times they can actually be minimised further inside them, perhaps 7 hours provides too much hot water for a tenant, lessening the operation times avoids wasting expensive energy and helps keep those energy bills down. This allows the tenant to be able to adjust their controller with confidence to find the right setting for their home.
Of course, sometimes using peak electricity for heating is unavoidable. The PS Dual Flexi allows for this with its large multi press button that can be used to select a 30 minute, 1 hour or 2 hour boost period after which the controller returns to its normal programming, meaning the heating cannot be turned on and left on indefinitely.
The product also features automatic switching of GMT/BST times to ensure tenants aren’t caught out by the time change and a two year battery back up so that, in the event of a power outage, the clock keeps its time so it won’t have to be fully set up again.
For the installer the unit is simple to set up, as a new unit using the supplied industry standard back box or retrofitted to upgrade any mechanical quartz 7 timer. Just turn the dial to the correct setting on the back, wire up and switch on. Like all Sangamo products it’s backed up by a five year guarantee to provide assurance and peace of mind for housing associations.
For housing associations who want to provide their tenants with a reliable, easy way to be in control of their heating and hot water energy costs there is no better solution than a Sangamo Powersaver Dual Flexi.
This article first appeared in the Feb 2017 Edition of HA Magazine.
- Gary Black