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Why Does Your Boiler Not Have a Timer On It?

Boilers can keep your house and running water warm, but they’re hard to use without timers. People often confuse thermostats with timers because both of them control the boiler. However, every boiler needs a thermostat, but not all boilers need timers. There are thousands of boilers that don’t use electronic or mechanical timers.

Your boiler doesn’t have a timer on it because it’s likely a combi boiler. Combi boilers heat the air or water when you need to use them instead of activating on a timed basis. Some landlords keep timers out of their leases to control utility bills. Contact your landlord if you suspect this issue.

In this article, we’ll show you why most boilers need timers, where you might find your boiler’s timer, and whether or not you should get one for your boiler. We’ll also talk about the benefits of these handy timers.

Does a Boiler Need a Timer?

A boiler needs a timer unless it’s a combi boiler. Most boilers need timers to contact when they turn on and how long they’re activated. However, combi boilers run whenever the thermostat turns on, or you use the hot water. They don’t need a timer, but some models include a timing system.

EDF Energy explains that combi boilers turn on when you use them rather than running on a timer. However, many models include built-in timers for those who prefer to run them on a schedule. Combi boilers are some of the most common types, which is why you might not have a timer on your model.

It’s also important to note that some people only use boilers for their water. You might have a radiator or another form of central heating. If your boiler is solely used for heating the water, it likely won’t need a timer. The water will get hot when you run the sinks or showers rather than turning it on to heat the air.

However, that might not be the reason your boiler’s timer is missing. Read on to find out why your boiler might have a timing setup that you can’t find.

Where Is My Boiler Timer?

Your boiler’s timer is usually tied to the thermostat. Locate the thermostat and cycle through the options to find how long you can set the boiler. Some boilers have separate timers located near them, but they’re usually mechanical, old-school models. You can hire a professional to connect it to an electronic thermostat inside the house.

To know if your boiler has a thermostat timer, follow these steps:

  1. Locate the digital thermostat to find the current time and temperature.
  2. Look for a button labeled ‘timer’ or a selection menu.
  3. Adjust the thermostat’s temperature for the starting time, then decide when you want it to stop.
  4. Check if the timer is working by waiting for the designated time to come around.
  5. If the timer doesn’t work, it’s either not programmed to the boiler, or it needs to be replaced by a professional.

If you don’t see a boiler timer in the thermostat, you could look for a mechanical timer near the boiler in the garage (or wherever it’s located). They look quite similar to an outdoor sprinkler system timer.

WikiHow mentions some landlords remove timers from their boilers. This forces the lease tenants to use it when they need it rather than using a preset timing schedule. They’ll also be able to monitor how often you use the boiler, letting them control the utility bills. However, this is usually only applicable if the landlord pays the utilities.

Should You Get a Timer for a Boiler?

You should get a timer for a boiler if you want to manage your utility bills, ensure you don’t use the heat when you don’t need it, and if you prefer to run the heater when your utility company recommends it. Boiler timers can be set to abide by local energy and gas regulations, reducing your carbon footprint.

If you want a boiler timer, consider these benefits:

  • Boiler timers let you run your boiler when you need it, lowering your utility bills. Running your heater throughout the day will drastically increase your bills. It might feel nice, but it’s not worth it in the long run. It’s best to time your boiler to activate during the coldest times of the day when you’ll need it the most.
  • According to Home Tree, many utility companies recommend specific hours to lower the gas and electricity your boiler uses. You can contact your utility company to find out when you can save money and reduce your carbon footprint. This process also reduces the chances of getting metered or monitored via a warning letter.
  • You can run your boiler at night or in the morning without getting out of bed. Many of us love sleeping warm or waking up in a cozy house. Instead of getting crawling out of the blankets into the frigid morning air, you can prevent frosty windows and stay warm with a boiler set to turn on before you wake up.
  • You’ll be able to choose if your boiler heats the house while you’re away or right before you get home. Heating your home while you’re gone wastes money. However, you can turn it on 15 minutes or so before arriving, so you’re not too cold when you walk in the front door.
  • There are one-hour boost timers for additional heat without altering the preset timers. Most boiler timers let you boost the heat for an additional 30 to 60 minutes without setting a new schedule. This option lets you adjust or maintain the temperature on extra-cold days when you don’t want to change the thermostat.

Boiler timers are quite useful, but they’re not for everyone. Adding more buttons and timers can confuse some people. You can keep an old-school or modern combi boiler without ever using a timer. However, we suggest only using it when you need it rather than running it around the clock. You’ll save money and lower your energy consumption.

Additional Boiler Resources

If you ever experience different boiler problems, some of our other boiler troubleshooting articles may be able to help:

Author

  • Steve Rajeckas

    Steve Rajeckas is an HVAC hobbyist with an avid interest in learning innovative ways to keep rooms, buildings, and everything else at the optimal temperature. When he's not working on new posts for Temperature Master, he can be found reading books or exploring the outdoors.

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