DIY How To

Central Heating Controls

There are many parts that make up a central heating system, the central heating controls are an integral part of ensuring the system works efficiently and as per design.

Central heating controls



The control of central heating is extremely flexible, there are programmers which turn either the hot water and central heating on at set times. These can be the simple dial type with 2 on and off settings, which is repeated each day or there are the all singing all dancing digital programmers that can have 6 on and off settings which can be set for different times every day.
Depending on the installation, for simplicity some systems cannot have the central heating on, without the hot water, normally the programmer will be linked internally so that if you turn just the central heating on the hot water will also come on.

Analogue programmer
Digital programmer



There are thermostats that can be room based (room stat) or fitted directly to the radiators (thermostatic radiator valve, or TRV) and there are cylinder stats. By using a combination of thermostats, running costs can be reduced by not using gas unnecessary and also reducing the wear and tear of the boiler and pump etc.

Digital room stat
Digital Room Stat

A roomstat is all that is needed to control the central heating system, when the stat determines the room needs warming, it will fire up the central heating boiler, or in the case where the boiler is already on heating the hot water, the roomstat will open a valve to let the water circulate around the radiators. The main drawback is the temperature of other rooms cannot be controlled accurately.

Thermostatic rad valve
Thermostatic Radiator Valve (TRV)

These are fitted directly on to the radiator in place of a normal radiator valve and control each radiator independently. You do not need to fit TRV's on every radiator, it is normal to use a combination of TRV's in conjunction with a room stat. Fit the TRV's to radiators in south facing rooms where the sun will also heat the room and let the room stat control the temperature throughout the rest of the property.

Cylinder stat
Cylinder Stat

These are fitted directly onto the hot water storage cylinder and depending on the type of installation can shut a valve or turn the boiler off, providing it is not heating the radiators.


Zone Valves

Zone valve

Zone valves can be used to isolate entire areas, such as shutting off the bedroom radiators during the day. This can reduce running costs considerably.



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