We moved into the first floor rented apartment of a villa in September. It has fuel central heating and the tank and boiler are located in the garage, approximately 60ft away. The only way to gauge how much fuel is in the tank is with a long stick! We put 500 litres in the tank on 22nd of October and to our disbelief, the radiators went stone cold on Christmas Day. No fuel left in the tank. We managed to have another 500 litres delivered on 28th December, but this also seems to be disappearing more rapidly than we can really afford.
Our apartment is 85m2, with an open plan lounge/dining/kitchen area of around 40m2 which has 3 radiators in total. Each measures 90 x 80cm. The only other radiator we use is a smaller one in the bathroom. As a rule we do not heat the bedrooms and keep the doors closed until late evening.
We have the thermostat in the lounge set at 19-20 degrees. The heating is on for a couple of hours in the morning and then in the late afternoon/evening until about 10pm, so about 10 hours per day at present.
We discovered that the thermostat on the boiler was set at at 75 degrees and we have lowered it to 65 but it doesn't seem to have altered the heat of the radiators, which are still very hot. Is it possible that the thermostat on the boiler is not working? Will lowering the temperature on the boiler save on fuel costs? How can we check if it needs attention?
The thermostat in the lounge seems to work efficiently.
Any help or hints on savings greatly appreciated.
Message posted by Dave Aspris on 15 January 2012 at 6:42pm - IP Logged
How certain are you that the boiler is not serving other apartments? The only other thought is that the tank or fuel feed is leaking? Have you checked for stains? When was the boiler last serviced? How old is it?
From memory, boiler flow temperatures should run at about 80C and return to the boiler at about 70C. Lounge temperatures should be around 21C, and bedrooms around 15C. The building will take 10C out of the system every time the water circulates, and lowering the boiler thermostat temperature will make the boiler run for longer periods. On the other hand, if the boiler is switching on and off frequently, this 'cycling' can be detrimental to the life of the boiler. Most central heating systems in the UK are not adequately balanced and many of the boilers I have seen here, seem to be grossly oversized for what they have to do. This is a complex issue as no two systems are the same and I would not be sure where to get knowledgable advice in the UK, let alone in Corfu. Not a lot of help, but a few points you might look into. Having said all of that, most UK oil fired systems have a 600 gallon fuel tank which is filled at least once through the winter. You have used 110 gallons.
Message posted by jbtapscott on 15 January 2012 at 9:49pm - IP Logged
I would go with Dave's questions - are you sure the tank/boiler is not servicing others floors in the villa? Our place is slightly smaller, with 5 rads in total, and, in the winter, the boiler is also used for hot water, but we certainly don't go through that amount of fuel.
Message posted by CorfuHelp on 15 January 2012 at 10:32pm - IP Logged
Sounds a lot:
"so about 10 hours per day at present"
Message posted by Lavinia on 15 January 2012 at 11:45pm - IP Logged
My house is 200 sq metres with individual thermostats for each floor. I tend to use the ground floor heating (as heat rises). I usually manage with 500euros of diesel each winter but I have three large solar panels which help with heating the water. I keep the sitting room which is enclosed, warm with the log fire but the drawing room on the other side of the fire (it is dual facetted) is never so warm as it is open-plan. Anyone designing a house here has to remember that it can get very cold in winter!
Message posted by Bob and Wendy (Uncle Bob) on 15 January 2012 at 11:55pm - IP Logged
Bob and Wendy
COO! How I would love to be there and have a go at investigating this situation first hand.
Without hands-on testing its impossible.
Message posted by jpenni on 16 January 2012 at 9:34am - IP Logged
Thanks everyone for your hints, advice. There is only one other tenant on the ground floor of the villa and she has a separate boiler and tank in the garage, which appears to be permanently empty. I speak only a few words of Greek and I did try to ask her how much fuel she uses, without much success. I wouldn't be surprised if she only uses a portable gas heater.
In winter we also use the boiler for our hot water and in summer switch to an immersion heater.
I think the tank and boiler aren't more than 5-7 years old and we checked for leaks but cannot find any. I think we will just have to get through this winter and have the boiler serviced and checked over.
Message posted by SusieH on 16 January 2012 at 9:45am - IP Logged
Are you actually reaching the desired temperatures, or is the system struggling? If the boiler is constantly fired up, you will be using a lot of fuel... you maybe need to look at the insulation on your property.
Message posted by 2Tonsils on 16 January 2012 at 2:32pm - IP Logged
Lots of good suggestions on here. If the boiler has never been cleaned and checked it could be full of soot/oil and could be struggling. We had a problem last year with rain water getting into the flu pipe and forming a kind of oily sludge. We had to have it all cleaned and a drain put in on the bend.
Like Orchard said, if its struggling and fires up all the time it will use a lot of diesel. Is there a thermostat on the boiler itself?
Check the pipe from the tank to the boiler, there should only be one pipe to your boiler, not to any other. People connecting to your tank/boiler/electric/water is a lot more common than you think on this island.
Turn off your heating and water and listen for the boiler firing up, if it happens when you are all turned off then someone else is using your fuel to heat their home! This happened to us in Viros and I marched upstairs to challenge them on it. In the end the landlord had to sort it out for us and stop it happening.
We used to use around 1000 litres over the full winter but that was with 9 radiators and hot water but only had it on about three or four hours a day.
Now that fuel is expensive we are only using the central heating for a short time to warm the house through and then putting on the open fire for the rest of the evening. We are using the electric for the hot water just when we need it.
Message posted by MartynG on 16 January 2012 at 3:33pm - IP Logged
One possibility not yet mentioned, could be that you payed for 500 liters, but didn't get all those. It happens, you can't fully trust the meters on delivery trucks.
A variation to this could be that the delivery contained much water. This happens also, but after a while you would find water floating on the oil in your tank (unless it has automatic dewatering). The heater will run normally, until there's only water left in the tank.
And indeed, check how many pipes go from the tank.
In any case 500 liter consumption is way too much for an 80m2 apartment.
Message posted by sparkie on 19 January 2012 at 7:06pm - IP Logged
Hi, Sparkie hope you are warm over the valley? I have a frost setting on my central heating thermostat which has been invaluable over the last week or so. I so agree that everyone should have one of these. We all need to keep warm, but the damage caused by frozen pipes etc. can be an expense for which none of us has budgeted.
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