When the Summer heat rolls in, it can feel almost silly to keep paying for energy bills that are a result of an inefficient system. Why pay for all that extra heat and energy when it’s already sweltering outside your front door? The answer is typically a yes, but of course, like all things in life, it is far more complicated than that.
First, let’s iron out some terminology so we can discuss this question in greater detail. A water heater in a home can either have a tank, or be tankless, but either way, its primary function is to use energy to increase the water temperature, to higher than its initial state.
Water heating is a constant, ongoing process, putting pressure on your overall bills, and making them skyrocket in response. Some estimates put water heating as high as 18% of your total bill costs.
Boilers, on the other hand, are working away to turn water into steam, which is distributed throughout your home’s baseboard units, or steam radiators if you have them. This is not to be confused with a furnace, which instead heats up the air itself, that is then sent out through either ducts or other registers in the house.
If you own a water heater or boiler, it’s possible to combine their functions into a single use. In other words, you can sometimes use your boiler, which is busy heating water to create steam, to also heat the water to be used in your house.
So, does a homeowner save money on their bills if they turn down their boiler or their water heating when the weather is warmer? In short, the answer’s a resounding yes. However, overall, it’s far more complicated than that.
If you are looking to save money on your bills, there are quite a few options around your house you can use to increase efficiency, such as switching your energy provider. There is also the fact that quite a few myths are still prevalent today regarding money-saving measures that work.
Either way, by reading through these guidelines, you will discover if turning off your boiler and water heating system is right for you, your family, and your wallet.
Reasons to Turn Off Your Boiler or Water Heater in the Summer
There are quite a few solid reasons to turn off your boiler in the Summer, and there is a high likelihood this is the best choice to save energy in your household. We have collected a list of qualifications that will explain the exact situations where it is (or isn’t) beneficial to turn it off, so you can make the best choice for you.
First, if you have an old boiler, especially any old boiler that has a continuous burning pilot light underneath, it is going to be worthwhile for you to turn it off during the hot Summer months.
In contrast, modern boilers are a little more complicated. If you are the owner of a modern boiler, then do a little preliminary research, and find out if your boiler’s water cistern is coated in polystyrene. This is a chemical that is made for a variety of reasons, one of which is to seal and insulate most modern appliances.
If your boiler is coated with this chemical, it will be best to leave your boiler on during the Summer. However, if there isn’t a layer of polystyrene, then your boiler should be switched off instead.
Next, conduct a quick audit on your house to discover how much heated water you actually use from the boiler or water heater. If most of your heated water isn’t coming from your boiler in the first place, then you will definitely benefit from turning it off during the Summer.
For those who own an electric shower, and do not plan on taking baths during the Summer, this is the first indication you will not be using water from the boiler.
Finally, take your laundry into consideration. This is another home habit that takes up larger amounts of water, alongside atypical kitchen and bathroom activities. If you have an old washing machine, they use a process called hot fill.
This means they are able to heat up their own water for internal use, without relying on the water heater or boiler, and you can feel free to turn them off during the hotter months of the year. Modern washing machines almost never need or use external water for the washing process, so they are completely unrelated to the use of the water heater or boiler.
By taking these three major factors into consideration, you will know with confidence if the best plan for you is to turn off your boiler and water heater during the Summer. It should be noted, however, that even if you do turn them off, it is recommended to turn them back on for a short time every month or so. By letting them run on occasion, you keep the machinery primed, and in top condition.
If you do not run these machines, then you might suddenly find yourself with problems with either the pump or diverter valve, which assist in circulating fluid around the radiators and cistern. These problems can be serious enough to cause total system failures in Autumn when you want to turn them back on.
Reasons to Keep Your Boiler On
There are a couple of key reasons that may persuade you to leave your boiler on during the Summer, so that it can save you money, instead of costing you more.
If you were doing the water audit that was suggested above, what if you find that most of your heated shower and dishwashing water comes straight from the boiler? In that case, it’s important to know that boilers are, in fact, more efficient at heating up water than electric water heaters, which means they also are more energy efficient – as long as they are being used.
In fact, if you choose to use your boiler instead of an electric water heater, even during the Summer months, the difference in your monthly bill can be as high as £20.
Also, if you are worried about your boiler having basic functional issues, you might find that turning off your boiler for extended periods of time can lead to more complicated and costly maintenance issues.
Additional Ways to Save on Water Heater Energy
There are some additional factors that go into using a water heater that might also help to drive down your bills. First, most manufacturers will automatically set their water heaters to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, which is both higher than it needs to be, and is hot enough to be an unnecessarily warm temperature. The manufacturers set it this high on purpose.
If you have a brand new water heater, and your water wasn’t coming out scalding hot, it is possible you would think your water heater wasn’t the best, or even that it might be broken. This means that they set it this high to improve sales, but it doesn’t need to be this hot to function effectively.
We recommend that you change it to a lower, but still hot, 120 degrees Fahrenheit, to make your heater more efficient, and save on energy bills overall. Water heating bills can account for as much as 18% of your total energy consumption, so any changes you can make in this region of your energy bill have a direct impact on your total monthly payments.
Be Smart, Take it Easy on your Energy and Wallet
In short, there is a high likelihood you will want to turn off your boiler or water heater in the Summer, but there are some cases where it is in fact smarter to leave it on. It pays to be vigilant in how water is used in your house, and to do your research ahead of time.
There are plenty of other tactics you can use as well to lower your bills. You can look into various smart uses of your heating and controls to save you money at every time of the year, not just during the Summer. One of the most popular options is to switch your energy provider, and you can find a quote right away at My Energy-all in just 3 simple steps!