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Is weather compensation worth it?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 12 February 2016 at 11:05 am

The weather is the biggest factor in determining how much energy will be required to heat your home. The colder the weather outside, the more energy required to heat your building. The weather outside is constantly changing meaning that equal heat demand changes occur in your home. Establishing how much energy will be required to keep your home comfortable at any given point is a tricky task if you don’t know the temperature outside.

What are weather compensators?

Weather compensators are systems that have outside sensors to monitor the temperature changes through time. They feed this information back to your boiler or other heat source with instructions on exactly how much heat to generate for how long. This helps to maintain your chosen temperature without having spikes of over and underheating.

How do they work?

  1. An outdoor sensor measures the outside temperature.
  2. The temperature reading is sent to an electronic controller.
  3. The controller calculates whether the heat supply needed to maintain a steady temperature.
  4. If required the controller will adjust the boiler/heat-source heat supply to the radiators.
  5. The system records both indoor and outdoor temperatures so it can fine tune its adjustments.

What are the advantages of weather compensators?

  • Increased efficiency can potentially save you up to 40% on your energy bills.[1]
  • Room temperatures are constant as heat is released gradually rather than in floods.
  • Producing at a steady pace rather than turning on and off can improve the lifespan of your boiler/heat-source.[2]
  • The system can be left on all year round, only firing up when it is needed.

An Expert opinion:
We asked Roland Gurner what customers might expect to gain from installing weather compensation. Roland is Managing Director at Eco Installer, one of the installers recommended on YouGen. He responded:

"Where the weather compensation technology is embedded in the heat generator and the property has reasonable levels of insulation, we've seen real benefits in terms of fuel savings and comfort levels for our customers.

Recently we've also seen a lot of interest in "Nest" and similar smart or learning thermostats that also incorporate weather compensation.

Smart thermostats rely on data from weather data from the Internet, rather than using an outdoor probe attached to the heating system. This makes the installation quicker and easier for the customer.

Smart thermostats offer a fairly quick payback if the energy consumption in the household is high.

Unless the client had a home with no insulation levels, we would always recommend some form of weather compensated heating control."

Here is a video of Roland explaining weather compensation systems:

So are they worth it?

As Roland points out, the level of weather compensation needed largely depends on your circumstances. Homes that are occupied throughout the day, particularly those occupied by temperature sensitive people such as babies or the more elderly, can benefit more than homes left empty during the day. Generally speaking, the larger your energy consumption, the bigger your financial return will be. Although for many the comfort a steady temperature can bring will outweigh the possible financial incentives.

Weather compensation harmonises particularly well with ground source heat pumps which require the temperature of the hot water circulated to be much lower than in a traditional system. Weather compensation can reduce the probability of the ground source heat pump’s expensive “boost” element coming into play. In this case, a steady temperature can greatly improve efficiency and payback times.

Sources:

[1] Danfoss

[2] isoenergy

Image: Gerry Lauzon

More information about Energy Saving and Renewable Energy on YouGen.

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Comments

1 comments - read them below or add one

Andy in Hawick

Andy in HawickComment left on: 1 March 2016 at 8:37 pm

When our Ariston condensing boiler was being installed, I noticed that it had the option for an external temperature sensor. It cost £17 and must have paid for itself in a couple of months. When there was a cold snap, we were not caught out with chilly rooms as the boiler increased the temperature to compensate. When it was mild outside, it brought the flow temperature right down and ran the boiler more efficiently.

Well worth it.

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