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Getting central heating controls

Choosing and using central heating controls

The Research Institute for Disabled Consumers is a UK consumer research charity. We don't sell products.
Our research was to carry out user evaluations of seven controls with features considered easy to use by blind and partially-sighted people.

If you get a new boiler or heating system, new controls will be installed at the same time.

  • Buy them yourself from DIY shops or online.
  • You'll usually need a professional to install them for you.
  • Installers can advise on whether a control is compatible with your heating system.
  • Manufacturers can supply catalogues and may recommend suppliers and installers.

To find central heating controls that best suit you:

  • Discuss your needs with the installer.
  • See and handle a range of products.
  • Make sure controls are installed in an appropriate place – somewhere you can get to them and operate them easily.
  • Use our practical checklist on what to consider.

Adapting your controls

You can add your own tactile markings to help you find the right settings on manual controls. Markers such as Bumpons (self-adhesive raised dots) and squeeze-on liquid markers are available from resource centres, equipment retailers and the RNIB.

Learning to use your heating controls

The instructions accompanying the controls we tested mostly had very small text and diagrams. Some manufacturers will supply instructions in accessible formats if you ask them.

When you get a new central heating control, the installer should talk you through how to use it. It may help to go through the steps yourself and record the conversation so that you can refer back to it.

Last updated: November 2018

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