Central heating

Knowing how your central heating system works will help you keep warm and save money.

Room thermostat

Usually on the living room or hall wall, it senses when the house is warm enough and turns the boiler off automatically. It should be set at between 18 to 21 degrees C (65 to 70 degrees F), slightly higher if you are an older person or have young children.

Thermostatic radiator valves

These are fitted to your radiators and allow you to set different temperatures in different rooms. The lower the number or comfort level on the valve, the less heat the radiator will give off.

How to use the system

  • try to maintain a comfortable, even temperature throughout your home
  • don’t keep heating or hot water on too long or at times when you don’t need it
  • set the controller to bring the heating/hot water on about half an hour before you get up and to go off half an hour before you go to bed
  • remember to keep your home well ventilated to reduce condensation

Gas fires

If you have one, make sure it is kept free of dust and isn’t covered up. If there is a ventilator in the window, don’t block it up otherwise harmful fumes could build up. We recommend you don’t use the fire at the same time as the central heating.

Fuel costs

If fear of high bills is stopping you heating your home, here are some tips to help:

  • compare fuel costs between different suppliers to get a better deal. Visit energyhelpline or call 0800 074 0745
  • it is often cheaper to get both gas and electricity from the same supplier and there is usually a discount for paying by Direct Debit
  • many suppliers offer discounted schemes for older people or people claiming benefits
  • some suppliers, including British Gas and EDF, offer financial grants to customers in need   
  • pensioners or individuals with sight or hearing impairments, disability or chronic illness should ask to be put on their supplier’s ‘Priority Services Register’, so they can’t be disconnected between the 1 October and 31 March
  • the Winter Fuel Payment helpline is 0800 731 0160


Before you call us, please make sure:

  • the heating is turned on (there is normally a switch near the boiler)
  • the timer is set correctly – if you are unsure how to do this, call us on 0114 273 5555
  • your room thermostat is set to the required temperature and your thermostatic radiator valves are turned on
  • your pre-payment or token meter has credit

If the system still won’t work, report a repair.

If you want someone to visit your home and explain how the central heating works, call us on 0114 273 5555 or visit your Neighbourhood Office.

Contact Council Housing Service

0114 293 0000
Monday to Friday
8am to 5:30pm
Housing and Neighbourhood Service
PO Box 5967
S2 9GH

Want to talk to someone right now?

Is this page helpful?

Is this page helpful?