Gadgets to boost your central heating's efficiency
How long did you hold out this year before you put the central heating on? Or perhaps you're still determinedly facing off that moment by piling on the woolly jumpers? Well done, if so!
If, however, you're not the stoic type and like the comfort of a well-warmed house during the winter months, definitely check out the following and their accompanying videos. All four of them will start saving you money on your heating bills from day one, as well as keeping you nice and toasty...
Chop Cloc - £70
Seems like everyone's talking about Chop Cloc! It's a silly name for a simple but clever product: Chop Cloc turns your central heating off for a portion of time each hour to reduce your energy consumption and save money on heating bills without you feeling any change in temperature.
Early adopters of the system, which takes about an hour to be installed by an electrician, have reported savings of up to 30% on their winter bills. Not to be sniffed at!
Radiator bleeder key - £1.50
Have you ever had radiators warm up at the bottom yet stay cool at the top, or even stay cold all over when the pipes are hot? Chances are the reason is trapped air in your heating system. Luckily it's a simple fix to release this air manually using a cheap radiator key.
You can buy automatic radiator bleeders to save you the
hassle of doing this chore, but at £6 per radiator I'm happy to make the rounds
with my little key once a year! Take a bucket and an old towel with you to
catch any spills.
Radfan - £40
Ever suffered from cold feet whilst the heating has been on? Convection heat is the culprit, with most of our radiator heat going straight up to be trapped at the ceiling or lost through windows.
The Radfan sits on top of the radiator and directs the heat straight out into the room where it's needed. Feeling warmer sooner with less heat loss means you'll be able to switch your central heating down, which could save you up to £75 per degree over the winter!
Nest learning thermostat - £130
With backing from none other than Google, the Nest learning thermostat only became available in the UK this year.
Nest is a highly intelligent device which 'learns' your patterns as well as your home's unique thermal profile and auto-adjusts settings for maximum comfort and maximum energy efficiency. Set the temperature as you like it and Nest will do the rest, making sure you only use what you need whilst maintaining a temperature that's comfortable for you. A leaf symbol on the dashboard shows you when Nest is doing its eco-friendly stuff.
Smart heating control means you can oversee and tweak the thermostat from your phone, tablet or computer - ideal if you decide to stay out later one night and don't want heat pumping out to an empty house.