How to Set a Timer for a Boiler

How to Set a Timer for a Boiler

One of the simplest way to save energy at home is to only turn your heating on when you really need it. It not only saves energy, and therefore money for your household, but also helps in fighting climate change.

Nowadays most boilers come with a timer, that allows you to set a time for your heating to switch on or off automatically at specific times of the day. Boiler timers can be either mechanical or digital. Older system will have mechanical timers that look like a dial, whereas modern boilers are equipped with a small screen, that looks like a digital clock.

Boiler timers can come in many different shapes and sizes. This post will explain what the different settings and modes on your boiler time do. How to get to these settings, we recommend that you find your user manual, or if you don’t have it, find it online for your specific brand and model.

There are at least 3 settings on most boilers: On, Off and Auto/Timed. On and Off are pretty straightforward. The Auto/Timed settings allows you the give specific instructions for your timer.

Here are some common settings that you may find on a boiler timer:

On / 24 Hours: the heating will stay on until you manually turn it off
Off: the heating is off
Auto / Twice: the heating will turn on and off at the times of day you programmed it to do so
All day / Once: this means the heating will turn at a specified time and then will remain on until the end of the day
1 hour / Boost: gives you a one hour boost of heating
Advance: this setting moves the timer along to the next setting in its daily cycle

Setting a mechanical boiler timer

Also known as an analogue timer, it is usually a round dial with a 24-hour clock in the middle.  There are pins around the outside of the dial, each representing 15 minutes of time.
Before you change your settings, make sure that the dial is pointed to the current time. Mechanical timers have to be manually updated when we move the clock forward or behind, to ensure that the central heating isn’t coming on too early or too late.
Simply push the pins in at the time you want your heating to come on. For example, if you want to have a warm home between 10:00am and 11:00am, you might want to set your timer for half an hour before your desired time, since it usually takes that amount of time to heat up your home entirely. Simply push in the 6 pins between 9:30am and 11:00am. You can choose to set your boiler to turn on and off multiples times throughout the day.
Once you have all the times selected for your boiler, find the switch that turn your boiler on or off. Look for the option that says Timer or has a clock next to it. Change the switch to this setting and your boiler will run during the times you selected.

Setting a digital boiler timer

Digital boiler timers are increasingly popular due to their user-friendly interface. Always refer to your user manual to ensure you set  the timer up correctly. The first step is to make sure that the digital boiler timer is set to the correct date and time. This can be done automatically, but it is best to check to make sure that your boiler turns on at the correct time. Once the timer has been set to the correct time, we need to switch to scheduling mode. This allows the boiler to turn on and off at specified times. Use the digital display to choose when you want to boiler to turn on. You should specify a time in the morning and in the evening, for example 6:00am – 8:00am and 17:00pm – 20:00pm.


Mechanical boiler timers usually feature a 24-hour round dial with pins around the outside marking 15 minute intervals. Setting a mechanical timer involves pressing these pins towards the centre of the dial at the time of the day you want the boiler to turn on.
Digital boiler timers are becoming increasingly popular because they’re easy to use. Setting a digital timer involves setting it to the correct time and date, activating the scheduling feature and selecting the day and time you want the boiler to turn on