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Cleaner systems make for warmer homes

Monday 25th April 2016

There was a poignant obituary in the Times last week for the late David MacKay. It mentioned his hospital stay, before his untimely passing, and how the ward was oppressively hot with no temperature sensor or control. But, he commented, it did have state of the art telephone–TV devices (that few people used). Sir David was well known for giving the simple advice to homeowners, to turn down their thermostat by 1°C, to reduce energy use by 10 per cent and just days before he died he passed on his observation to the hospital management.

Small changes, as I have observed before, can cumulatively add up to sizeable gains in the energy world. In terms of domestic heating, with 23 million homes, reducing room temperatures, even by a small amount, can make a big difference. Along the same vein, are small but significant interventions every household can make to improve the overall effectiveness of heating systems.


I’ve mentioned before, marginal gains from heating controls and sensors. And the feedback I’ve had suggests there is a real appetite from both the industry and the wider public to engage.


Looking deeper into the system, there is also recognition that having a clean and efficient system makes a difference. The build-up of sludge or scale forces a boiler to work harder to heat a room to the desired temperature. Cleaning a system, adding a chemical inhibitor and filtering out contaminants all have a role to play. I know there is considerable innovation in these areas, having heard from a number of member companies about their work. Reducing demand by improving energy efficiency is not just about insulation, although no one disputes its need, it is also about system efficiency. Which brings me to ask the question, how are consumers encouraged to take this seriously? I am convinced of the need for annual servicing of heating systems. Cars have an annual MOT test, so why not have annual servicing as the norm? Making sure we get the most out of every unit of heat is something that we can all agree on.


Best wishes, 


Mike Foster CE

Driving to improve standards within the domestic hot water industry