Most of the boilers installed in the last 20 years operate on a simple thermostat basis which means that they can suffer from issues referred to as ‘Boiler Short Cycling’, ‘Boiler Saturation’ and ‘Temperature Overshoot’. There are now some newer boilers that do come with the boiler controller technology built in, but these tend to be the more expensive models.

Boiler Short Cycling

is the term used when the boiler is constantly switching on and off and is a result of the thermostat measuring a small proportion of the water in one position in the boiler.

The Boiler Controller (BC) saves money by monitoring the water temperature in the flow and return pipework and predicting the rise and fall of the temperature allowing the boiler to be run for longer and switched off for longer periods.

Temperature Overshoot

is another way in which most boilers waste energy. When the boiler fires, heat builds up in the lower part of the boiler. However, as the boiler thermostat is usually located at the top of the boiler, there is a delay in the thermostat detecting the rising temperature. When the thermostat is finally up to temperature and switches the boiler off, heat continues to rise in the boiler causing it to overshoot the thermostat setting. This means that the boiler overheats on each cycle which therefore wastes fuel. The BC prevents temperature overshoot by controlling the flow and return which gives very accurate control and switches the boiler off at the correct temperature.

Boiler Saturation

is the result of temperature overshoot which means that the boiler is running much hotter than the required temperature owing to heat build build-up within the boiler and slow reaction of the thermostat. The BC solves the problem by monitoring the flow and return and switching the boiler off when the correct temperature is reached.

Boiler controllers are generally compatible with most domestic boilers including combis, condensing and system boilers using natural gas oil or LPG. There are usually two models offered; the standard one that suits most circumstances and the other option which has an external temperature sensor which would give increased savings. The option with the external temperature sensor is best suited to combi boilers.

The boiler controller works on the principle of Adaptive Thermal Response by using data from sensors on the flow and return to analyse the water’s temperature and with its intelligent logarithm technology. The boiler controller is wired directly into the boiler’s thermostat and uses this information to control the thermostat and create the energy savings. The existing thermostat in the boiler is not removed but raised above the operating temperature of the BC.

A qualified electrician should be able to install one of these units in under an hour without the need for any alterations being required in the home.

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