Take control this summer and generate extra business
Winter is always going to be the peak season for heating installers, but by recommending controls upgrades at the same time as a boiler service in the summer, installers can help save householders money and generate much needed business in the summer months. Don McFadyen, sales director for Drayton Controls, investigates.
The Energy Saving Trust estimates that 40% of houses in the UK do not have a room thermostat, while up to two thirds of homes fail to meet the minimum requirements for heating control. There is a clear opportunity for installers to grow their business through heating controls, and not just in the winter.
Householders are advised to service their boiler in the summertime, prior to the central heating being turned on when temperatures drop in the autumn. This gives installers the opportunity to encourage customers to upgrade their controls at the same time, offering improved control and the associated energy savings, while generating business at a quieter time of year.
Spring and early summer are also ideal times for householders to redecorate and spruce up their homes. Encouraging them to think about their controls at the same time is a great idea, helping to negate potential disruption from installing backing plates.
Warmer ambient temperatures in the summer months make it essential to have heating controls that are accurate enough to ensure a home does not over heat. Unpredictable British summers mean that householders may still require heating, especially if night time temperatures are low.
Using time controls to tailor a heating system to the lifestyle of the householders means that the heating is only on when required. In fact, time controls can be used to significantly reduce the summer energy consumption of a home. Around 83% of a home’s energy usage comes from central heating and hot water, meaning that any reduction in consumption can translate easily to a financial saving.
Many programmers and timeswitches also have a boost function that can be particularly useful in the summer. This feature means the control can be set to come on for limited spells, but if there is a colder period the heating can be advanced for an hour to boost the temperature of the home. Hot water control is also achieved through a programmer and is required all year round.
To maximise energy savings when the cold weather returns, it’s worth recommending thermostats that use Time Proportional Integral (TPI) control.
TPI offers a more complex algorithm, which uses past information to ensure that the heating doesn’t fluctuate as much around the set point. The upsell benefits of a TPI operated thermostat make it an ideal product to suggest when you’re called out to a boiler service. New Drayton thermostats offer TPI and have the same back plate as older models, making them easier to fit.
Fitting a control before a home has been decorated means you can install a cheaper, wired thermostat, while there are also wireless models that won’t interfere with existing interior design.
You also have the opportunity to zone control heating in accordance with Part L of the Building Regulations. Zoning can be extremely effective in the summer months, when majority of rooms need very little heating and some may be turned off altogether. Where heating is required, maybe for a granny flat or office, TRVs can be used.
Another upsell opportunity presents itself with TRVs, especially on the back of boiler work that has caused a system to be drained down. The new TELL energy ratings represent an easily recognisable mark of quality, assuring customers that the product being fitted performs to the highest possible level and saves them money.
The rating is based on how quickly a TRV reacts to changes in room temperature, how effectively it maintains stable room temperatures and how it performs after changes in water temperature and system pressure.
Under the new European classification scheme, TRVs can receive a rating of A – F, with A being the most energy efficient and F the least efficient. Fit an A-Rated TRV, like the Drayton TRV4 for the most accurate and efficient control.
When it comes to boiler servicing, the old adage that prevention is better than cure is particularly relevant. Installers can use the same modus operandi by fitting a solution to protect condensate pipes as a standard feature in any service or boiler installation.
Condensing gas boilers now account for over 65% of boiler installations in the UK and at least 50% have an external pipe to drain away the condensate produced during the combustion process, which is susceptible to freezing.
Frozen condensate pipes can result in boiler breakdown and water seepage into the home, and typically require two visits from service engineers to remove and then replace the frozen pipe, causing disruption to householders.
Fitting a product like the Drayton Condensate Freeflo, which prevents the pipe freezing, as part of an installation or service causes minimal upset to the householder while safeguarding their boiler throughout the winter.
Make the most of your installations this summer by upselling wherever possible, both to help the householder save energy and generate some much-needed ‘out-of-season’ revenue.