If you live in a home with a boiler, it is going to be the number 1 energy sapping item in the home. Over the course of a year, it can cost you thousands to run, so any way to cut that cost is going to be welcome. Usually we focus on things like insulation and controls, which will help cut the need for heating, but in this blog we want to take a look at how you manage your summer gas use, and whether you need your boiler on at all.
Should you switch your boiler off completely in summer?
This question really depends on factors like: what boiler do you have already? What do you use your hot water for in the summer, and what appliances you may use.
Let’s take a look at types of boiler first. Older boilers that are 15 years old or more will tend to have a pilot light – the little blue flame you can usually see through the little window in the front of the boiler. This light is always on and will burn gas over time – so if you are barely using your boiler it might be worth turning it off completely. More modern boilers will use far less energy in ‘standby’, but if your cylinder is not well insulated it may be worth turning them off as well – click on the link below to learn more about calculating whether you will see energy savings by replacing your existing boiler.
Now let’s take a look at some of the appliances you might be using. In the summer, most of your hot water will be used in your kitchen for cleaning dishes etc, and in the bathroom for washing. Now if you still use hot water out the tap to wash your dishes, or use a mixer tap shower to bathe, then chances are you won’t be able to turn your boiler completely off.
If you use an electric shower and a dishwasher, you may think turning the boiler off is a real option. An electric shower generally heats the water in the unit, and will not need hot water from your hot water cylinder or your boiler to get up to temperature. A modern dishwasher or washing machine will tend not to take hot water from the boiler to do its washing, they will generally heat the water from the mains themselves.
That means that you could be keeping the boiler on for several months for very little reason, and you could save yourself a good few pounds by just turning it off.
Keeping your boiler off in the summer
If you are turning your boiler off for long periods, it is important just to turn it back on very occasionally over the summer, in order to prevent the valves from seizing up. Try turning the hot water on for a short burst every few weeks or so to make sure this doesn’t become a problem.
Testing your boiler during summer
One other thing that is really worth doing during or towards the end of the summer is getting your boiler serviced. Boiler engineers are notoriously busy in those first few cold months in autumn, as millions of people fire up their boilers for the first time since April and find their heating doesn’t work. It is really worth getting in there early in August or September and letting your boiler fully checked out for the winter ahead. It means you aren’t in such a rush when the boiler conks out at Christmas!
Remember, if you are a landlord, you need to do the annual service anyway for your gas safe certificate, and if you are a home owner, it is just good sense. Get this done in summer and you will have fewer problems over the coming winter.