Timers and room thermostats

Timers and room thermostats

a lady in a wheelchair smiling inside an outline of a house.

Timers and room thermostats can help you keep your home warm without wasting energy.  

A timer for heating and hot water and a room thermostat.

This page gives you some advice about setting the timer for your heating and hot water and using your room thermostat.


A radiator with a tick and a cross beside it.  A hot tap with hot water and a tick and a cross beside it.

You can use your timer or programmer to control when your heating and hot water comes on and when it goes off. 

a jar with money in it.  Beside the jar is a radiator with a cross beside it and a hot water tap with a cross beside it.

The less time you have the heating and hot water on, the more money you will save.  

How to set your timer to save energy

A lady reading a book with a hot radiator and a tap with hot water behind her.

There are lots of different types of heating and hot water timers so you might want to read the instructions for your timer.  

A lady talking to a man.

If you do not have the instructions, you might be able to find them on the internet, or ask someone you trust to help you.

A man thinking.  In the thought bubble is a radiator.

1. Plan ahead

Think about when you need the heating on.

A man asleep in bed.  Behind him is a radiator with a red cross beside it.

You might not need the heating on at night, or if everyone is out at work or school.

A timer for heating and hot water and a diary with a circle around Wednesday.

On some timers you can set different times for different days. 

Someone looking at their watch.  Behind them is a radiator with a red arrow and a blue arrow.

2. Include warm up and cool down times

It takes time for a house to heat up after the heating comes on and will take time to cool down after the heating goes off.  

A timer showing 30 minutes.

The average house will take about 30 minutes to heat up or cool down, but every home is different. 

A boiler and a radiator.

It will depend on the type of boiler and radiators you have and how big your rooms are.

A woman looking at her watch.  Behind her is a radiator and a room thermostat.

When the weather is cold, it might take longer for your room to heat up.

A clock showing half past 6 with a cross beside it.  a clock showing 6 o'clock with a snowflake and a tick beside it.

When the weather is cold, you might want to set your heating to come on earlier.

A lady washing up and a tap with hot water coming from it.

3. Hot water

Set your water to heat up only when you need it.  

A tap with hot water.  Behind it is a clock showing 7 o' clock in the morning and a clock showing 7 o'clock in the evening.

You might find that the hot water in your tank or boiler from the morning stays hot enough to use in the evening. 

Room thermostats

A man with drops of sweat running off his forehead.

Room thermostats stop your home from getting too hot. 

A family sitting on a sofa.  Behind them is a thermostat and a radiator.

Room thermostats let the room warm up to the temperature you have set, and then switches the heating off until the temperature drops. 

A man with his thumb up.  Behind him is a sofa and a thermometer.

Your room thermostat should be set to the lowest temperature which is comfortable for you.  Most people choose a temperature between 18°C and 21°C. 

A laptop screen with a picture of someone clicking on a link.

There is a helpful video that you can watch about how to use your room and radiator thermostats

How to get help

A laptop screen showing a group of people and the word welcome.

You can get help and advice on our website at www.mencap.org.uk/COL 

A lady looking worried and thinking about money.

If you are worried about money, contact our Learning Disability Helpline: 

A man talking on a phone
  • Call us Monday to Friday on 0808 808 1111 
British Gas Energy Trust logo.

Thank you to British Gas Energy Trust for funding.