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Do I Set the Heating Thermostat to 20 Degrees?

When the weather is freezing cold outside, the dilemma facing many households is where do I set the thermostat to? Is 20 ok for every situation or do some homes feel the cold more than others? What can I do to feel comfortable? by lowering the thermostat we save energy and therefore reduce our winter fuel bills.  The key is the thermal comfort of the building.

How well insulated is your property? The air inside our home is directly affected by the surface temperature of the walls, floor, ceiling and windows, so by adding insulation we prevent the coldness outside affecting the air temperature inside. By adding loft insulation we prevent the coldness in the loft reaching the bedroom ceiling and the warmed air does not get chilled or seep through. This also applies to our windows, by simply drawing the curtains in the evening we prevent our warmed air touching the cold glass and being cooled. Test your glass by putting your hand on it, older glass will be freezing cold but new double glazing is remarkably not that cold!

If we sit next to cold objects we feel chilly and if we sit next to warm things we feel more comfortable. A large patio window of cold glass makes us feel chilly but if you draw the curtains you feel much better and more comfortable. Similarly, the lovely solid stones walls of old houses in Devon and Cornwall feel cold to the touch and the rooms are often cold, but if we can warm the stone up by sunshine or a real fire then the room seems to stay warm and cosy, stone holds warmth and radiates it back for a long time afterwards. If we sit next to a warm stone wall outside in the sunshine even on a winters day we feel comfortable because of the radiating effect of warmth from the objects around us. That is thermal comfort.

So, if we look at the thermal comfort of our own homes we can judge whether 20 degrees will feel ok or regardless of the air temperature our house will feel chilly, and if our house is chilly then we need to find ways of surrounding ourselves with warm objects rather than cold ones! To increase the thermal comfort, we can block up draughts, close the curtains, or even add internal wall insulation, however, another simple solution is to add infrared heating panels to those rooms which are particularly cold. Working along the same principles as the sun warming stone walls, the panel becomes hot and emits infrared, an invisible form of light wavelength, which warms people and objects directly, and thus warms your surroundings and creates better thermal comfort. Infrared heaters look neat and are unobtrusive simple white panels, they can be fitted to the wall or ceiling by four screws and just plug in or can be fitted to thermostatic programmers.

Infrared warms the walls, floor and furniture helping add to the thermal comfort of your room, and so your 20 degrees set on the thermostat feels very pleasant, in fact, when you use infrared heating the thermostat can be set lower, many people find 19 is very good, simply because the room feels comfortable and by lowering the thermostat we save money on our winter fuel bills.

Infrared panels can be fitted alongside your current heating system to boost a room which still doesn’t feel comfortable at 20 degrees, or it can be used as the only heating source. Infrared is often used in old or listed buildings for keeping a constant background warmth, it may help prevent damp or mould appearing, plus, infrared does not affect the air conditions or humidity which again helps old walls breathe naturally – fan heaters or radiators dry the air and gas heaters and fires add moisture to the air.

This Blog was provided by MultiHeat Energy Systems