Will turning up the thermostat warm the house quicker?

Most men appreciate a new gadget and I am no different – last week I had the new Heatmiser Smartstats installed in my home. These thermostats are the latest offering from Heatmiser and I have to say I am very impressed.

Anyway – the purpose of today’s blog isn’t really to talk about the Smartstat thermostats, instead I want to answer a question my partner asked since she now has an app to control the heating from her phone too (which I know is dangerous!)

Her question was simple,

If the house is cold, will turning up the thermostat to 300c help warm up the house quicker.

The question sort of makes sense and I can see why she asked it. You turn up an oven and the food will cook quicker. The thing is though that thermostats don’t work like that!

So first a quick recap on how thermostats work

When the boiler fires up, it produces hot water that travels around the heating system (normally radiators), which warms them up. The hot radiators heat the air, which is why you feel nice and warm.

The thermostat job is to ensure that the room doesn’t get too warm. Without the thermostat, the boiler (when switched on) would keep producing hot water – so the radiators would stay hot and the room would get warmer and warmer.

The thermostat reads the ambient temperature and sends a message back to the boiler to turn off when the pre determined temperature is met. So for example if you set the thermostat to 21 degrees (which is about average for most homes), then once the room reaches this temperature, the thermostat tells the boiler to switch off.

>>> How warm should my house be? <<<

Obviously there is still hot water in the radiators, so the room will continue to warm up a bit, but very quickly the radiators will cool down and so the room will begin to cool down (as heat escapes through walls / windows etc).

Once the room drops past 21 degrees, the thermostat will tell the boiler to turn on again, so the radiators will warm up – and this process just goes on and on – the temperature fluctuating slightly around the 21 degrees mark.

So back to the question – Will turning up the thermostat heat my home faster?

Hopefully you can now see the answer is no it won’t. The boiler is the bit of kit in the house making the hot water, the thermoset just simply stops the home overheating.

The boiler will normally create hot water at the same rate – but obviously if you put a higher rated boiler (i.e. from 16kW to 24kW for instance) in your home then hot water will be produced at a quicker rate, so that could speed up the rate at which rooms heat up however it does seem a little extreme to replace your heating system to get the rooms to heat up quicker!

If you do want to make your home warm up quicker, then the key is to stop or at least minimise heat loss. Cavity wall insulation / loft insulation / solid wall insulation / double glazing and draught proofing are all proven ways to get your home warmer quicker and they will also lower your energy bills.

The final thing worth mentioning is that the TRV controls on the radiators (these are the valves with the numbered dials on) work in the same way. Turning them up to max will absolutely make the room warmer, but it won’t make any difference to the rate at which the room warms up!