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How To Set A Timer On A Boiler – An Illustrated Guide

how to set the boiler time
how to set the boiler time

Have you moved into a new house with a mechanical boiler timer, and don’t know what you’re doing with it? Don’t worry, I have a mechanical timer, so let me show you how to set a timer on a boiler. I’ve got a step-by-step photographic guide to make things as easy as possible.

I’ve written about setting the timer on your boiler in the past.  But the other day it dawned on me: what if you don’t know how to set a timer? Don’t worry: let me show you how to set a timer on a boiler.

I have a combi boiler and it has one of those mechanical timers on it. Being used to digital timers I’ll admit I was a little flummoxed by it when we first moved into our house. I did a bit of internet searching and found this useful video about how to set a mechanical boiler timer.  Although is made for Worcester boilers, is actually really useful for most makes of boilers. It certainly did the trick for our Valiant boilet.

Video Guide on How to Set Your Boiler Timer

Here’s a link to the video if you can’t see it – here.

Step By Step Boiler Guide With Photos

If you can’t get the video to work, or want a step by step guide, then I’ll run you through how to set a timer on a boiler:

1. Set the time on your boiler

First, ignore all the little tabs for now, and set the clock to the right time.

You can do this by turning the dial around clockwise until the arrow points to the correct time in the outer portion of the dial. It’s important to bear in mind that boilers work on the 24-hour clock.  So make sure you’ve set it to 24 hour clock time, otherwise, your heating will come out at odd hours of the night! If it’s 1:30 pm (13:30 in 24-hour clock speak) then you want the arrow to be halfway between the 13 and 14.

2. Now set the time when you want your boiler to come on

Once the time is set, you can now set the times that you would like your heating to come on and go off at.

This is where the little tabs come in. These tabs on a mechanical boiler timer can be overwhelming as there are so many, but I promise they aren’t as confusing as they look.  They just represent a 15 minute period of time.  You simply push them in to set what time you want the boiler to turn on.  Let me talk you through this, in case this sounds complicated.

With the time set properly, you’ll notice that each tab lines up with each 15-minute segment of the 24-hour clock. So, to tell your boiler that you want your heating to come on between 5:45 am and 7:30 am, you are going to want to push in all of the tabs that represent that time. Once you’ve done this you should have all 7 consecutive tabs pushed down between 5:45 am and 7:30 am. All of the other tabs should be up.

Here’s a picture of my boiler timer so you can see what I mean.

how to set a timer on a boiler

The time is currently 1 pm so the arrow points to 1 pm. The heating is set to come on twice a day.  Firstly between 5:45 am and 7:30 am (we are early birds!).  And secondly between 6 pm and 8 pm.  If you look closely you’ll notice the tabs are down at these times, and all of the other tabs are up.

It’s quite easy to accidentally twist the dial and change the time when you’re adjusting the tabs, so you may have to readjust the time at this stage!

3. Next Steps

Now all you have to do is turn the switch that you would normally switch the boiler on with to point to the picture of a clock or stopwatch.  It will depend on your boiler – mine’s a stopwatch. Your boiler should now come on at the desired times!  And that’s how to set a timer on a boiler!

Energy Efficiency Tips

I always love a two-for-one deal, so as telling you how to set the timer on your boiler, do let me share with you my top energy efficiency tip for your boiler.

It typically takes about half an hour for your house to warm up once you’ve switched your boiler on.  It then takes around half an hour for your house to cool down again once it’s switched off. So, with that in mind, if you get up at 7:30 am and leave the house at 8.30 am, it’s most energy-efficient and comfortable for you if you set your boiler timer for your heating to come on at 7 am and off at 8 am.

ps: you can find lots of energy-saving tips here if you’re looking to save money on your heating bills!

Cat image from here.

Energy Saving, Home and Garden

Why You Shouldn’t Dry Clothes On Your Radiator

Yet another wet day and your laundry pile is growing? Before you pile everything on to your radiators, here’s why you shouldn’t dry your clothes on your radiator.

It’s really important for us to save energy where we can. This is because the energy we use in our homes creates about a quarter of all carbon emissions from our homes. If we can cut our electricity and gas use, we cut our carbon emissions, helping to tackle climate change.

I am all about saving energy. And I want everyone else to be energy conscious too. Whilst big changes, like insulating your home, can make a big difference, I want to focus on the simple changes anyone can do, whether you own your home or not. For this series, I’m therefore focusing on the tips that don’t need any fancy equipment, nor do they require you to spend any money whatsoever. This is especially relevant as energy bills are expected to rise steeply in 2021.

So, my next energy saving tip is about drying clothes on your radiator. Specifically why you shouldn’t/

Why You Shouldn’t Dry Clothes On Your Radiator

Hanging wet clothes on your radiator makes your boiler work harder, to get your room to your desired temperature. This means it takes longer to heat your home. In turn, this uses more energy to heat your home and costs you more money.


Why you shouldn't dry clothes on your radiator
Image c/o Visit Scotland

Use a clothes horse! Although perhaps not quite as literally as this photo of Shetland ponies actually wearing cardigans suggests…!

A clothes horse allows warm air to circulate freely around the room.  I know it’s not always easy. We live in a tiny house with barely any room for clothes horses.  Our tiny kitchen is rammed full of them, to the point where we struggle to get past them. Sometimes desperation does call for me to dry clothes on my radiators, but I try to keep it to the odd desperate occasion rather than an everyday thing. 

In our previous flat, we were lucky enough to have quite high ceilings. The flat even came with an original ceiling-mounted pulley for drying clothes.  It was amazing for drying clothes and sheets, and meant we didn’t need to dry our clothes on the radiator. If you’ve got high ceilings I cannot recommend them enough.  You can pick them up easily online from £12 (the cheaper ones come without the wooden slats for easy postage – you can then get wood cut to fit at your local wood merchants).  And they have a nice vintage look to them if you’re into that kind of thing.

Top Tips for Drying Clothes Indoors

If you don’t ventilate your home properly when drying clothes indoors, then you are building yourself up to have a variety of problems.

Not ventilating can cause dampness – where black mould grows on your walls or ceiling. The NHS says that this mould can trigger allergic reactions, such as sneezing, a runny nose, red eyes, and/or a skin rash. It can also exacerbate existing health conditions, such as asthma.

If you can, dry your clothes in a room where you can open a window and close the door on it, to allow the air to circulate freely. If that’s not possible, opening your windows every day for at least fifteen minutes helps fresh air to freely circulate, reducing the chance of dampness occuring.

How Your Washing Machine Can Help

While we’re on the subject of clothes and laundry, your washing machine can help you dry your clothes faster.  

You see, I had a recent revelation. My washing machine’s standard wash cycle spins my clothes at 1200 rpm, but its maximum spin is 1400 rpm.  Upon realising this (just the other week!),  after the cycle finishes, I set it to do a 1400 rpm spin to get the last drops of water out.  I’ve found this significantly reduces the time it takes to either tumble dry my clothes (I know, I know, but I use it sparingly). Or I dry them on my clothes horse. This reduces the chances of that nasty “took too long to dry” smell.  Which makes me very happy indeed, and reduces the likelihood of me opting to dry my clothes on the radiator.  It’s the little things in life!

If you enjoyed this then I also have a load of eco-friendly laundry tips right this way.