The use of domestic heating during the colder months is an essential prerequisite for a comfortable home life. However, once temperature control systems are switched on, levels of energy consumption and the environmental impact start to increase.
ENEA (the National Agency for new technologies, energy and sustainable economic development) has drawn up ten simple rules that anyone can follow. The purpose of these guidelines is to educate people to use energy responsibly, in order to avoid over-use while still prioritising general wellbeing.
ENEA’s 10 tips for heating systems
Heating your home is, to all intents and purposes, a necessity. The problem is that while doing this, many small mistakes can be made (whether knowingly or un-knowingly), leading to excessive consumption.
The first sign of this becomes apparent when sky-high bills start to arrive during the winter months. As well as the financial cost, an improper use of domestic heating has a considerable impact on the environment. That is why it is important to follow these 10 guidelines put forward by ENEA.
- The first tip is to make sure that regular maintenance is carried out on all systems. Well-maintained equipment runs efficiently, without wasting the energy produced, thereby generating fewer harmful emissions.
- The ideal average temperature for residential buildings is 19 degrees C. The law permits a maximum of 22 degrees C, while setting temperatures higher than this leads to a waste of resources. It should also be emphasised that over-heated, dry environments are bad for health.
- An efficient management of the number of hours that the heating is kept on is another good way to save. Depending on the area of Italy where you live, the maximum number of hours per day varies (in the Central and Northern areas it is 14 hours, while in the South approximately 8). Generally speaking, it is futile to turn on the heating when you are away at work or during the night, when you are under the bedcovers.
- The insulation of windows (especially during the night) helps reduce heat dispersion. Methods include blinds, shutters or heavy curtains.
- Care should be taken not to obstruct radiators with objects or curtains, because this can interfere with the correct heat flow. In the case of radiators which are mounted in recesses, it is advisable to use a reflective material (such as aluminium) to place between the wall and the radiator, in order to reduce heat dispersal towards the exterior.
- As a precaution, it is a good idea to carry out a check-up of the building to ascertain its heat efficiency. Should improvement work be necessary, tax deductions (which form part of the Ecobonus initiative) may be claimed.
- The national agency for new technologies, energy and sustainable economic development strongly recommends that heating systems should be updated. The most important way to save money is by focusing on the efficiency of the system itself. The new technologies offer excellent solutions (with reduced consumption and a low environmental impact), which are worth considering.
- Using smart thermostats to set the temperature is another good way to save money. These devices (together with smart living systems) are able to detect the external temperature and regulate the heating autonomously in order to maintain the correct temperature levels.
- Fitting thermostat valves helps to regulate the flow of hot water into the radiators in the various rooms of the house.
- In blocks of flats, where there is often a central boiler, it is advisable to install a system for the separate billing of heating costs. This assures that each individual resident only pays for the amount of heating that they actually use and they can set the temperature of their own flat in complete autonomy.
Translated by Joanne Beckwith