Living in the UK, it can be hard to estimate when summer starts, or if 2017 is anything to go by, whether it will even start at all (if you’re reading this after June, we hope summer has arrived!). The short answer is, yes, the majority of people turn off their centralised heating and just operate with hot water during summer, however, it’s not always that simple. Unless you live in a particularly remote area of the UK, leaving your centralised heating on all year is not an effective option. Generally, the rule is you can turn your heating off from early June to late August, but naturally this varies yearly.
Whether you turn your heating off depends on the type of boiler you own and what settings your boiler has. For example, more modern models have a summertime setting (setting that allows the boiler to function without the heating). The combination boiler operates on priority when the centralised heating is turned on and not when the diverter valve is just set to hot water.
The conventional system has a mechanism that includes separate hot water storage or tanks. These water storage or tanks are heated by a system boiler or conventional boilers which have a motorised valve to determine where the heat goes.
Alternatively, if the radiator circuit has no call heat then the valve will remain closed. The priority is therefore given to the hot water, which you’ll want to keep on all year. This happens only when there is a requirement for hot water through the coil of the cylinder. This hot water setting is all managed automatically by the system.
In reality both systems are being used though neither is used to its full extent to keep the boiler ticking over to avoid issues with restarting. This raises the question, which option guarantees that the boiler or system will work fully when the central heating is turned back on for winter.
The answer to the question might not be a straightforward one but as a matter of precaution it is always best to keep your boiler ticking over. Think of it like a car – if you don’t drive your car for a long time, the battery could go flat or you could encounter other issues. Whilst not strictly the same, not using your boiler or heating for a long time can cause issues with the components when it comes to firing it back up.
We’d recommend testing the system every now and then, even during summer, just to make sure everything’s working so you’re not left in the cold (literally) when winter arrives!