Central Heating Systems Guide
For any building or property in the UK central heating is vital. Central heating systems are designed to provide warmth to the whole interior of a building from one point to a room or multiple rooms.
A Central heating system is made up of pipework and radiators which are connected to a boiler. The boiler supplies the heat while the pump moves heated water from the boiler through a network of pipes (pipework) to the radiators and back to the boiler for reheating. The system also provides hot water to the hot taps and showers in the property.
The most common central heating systems are gas or electric. Other alternatives are oil and LPG.
Electric Central Heating systems are cheaper to install with low maintenance cost and can last 50% longer than the average gas boiler. They are 100% efficient as all the electricity you use and pay for converts into heat.
Gas Central Heating is the more traditional heating system which consists of a boiler fuelled by gas. If you have gas supply nearby, you can install gas central heating at a reasonable cost. The installation cost is generally higher compared to electric heating.
Some of the components of a central heating system are the boiler, radiator, heating pump, inhibitor, and thermostat. We provide a brief description of each of the items.
Central heating boilers
Boilers are central to any heating system. They are closed vessels in which water is heated and circulated. A boiler sends hot water through pipes to your radiators and taps to provide heating and hot water.
There are three types of boilers:
The common boiler brands include Worchester boilers, Ideal boilers, Valliant boilers, Boxt boilers, Baxi Boilers and Alpha boilers.
Central Heating Radiators
Radiators are key to maintaining the temperature of your home or office in the cooler months. They are the source of heat in a room. They are a metal container that fills with hot water heated by a boiler. The heat escapes into a room or area at a rate that depends on its design, material, and size. There are electric radiators and dual fuel radiators.
Electric radiators are metal containers full of fluid heated by an electrical element. Dual Fuel radiators give the option to heat the radiator using electric power even if the central heating is off.
Types of radiators include:
In general, most radiators are made of steel. Other materials used for radiators include aluminium, cast iron, plastic, copper, and brass. Cast iron radiators are said to be more energy-efficient radiators and a good energy-saving choice. Cast iron is far denser and heavier than steel so holds heat for a far longer period once the boiler has been switched off compared to steel.
Also, there are designer radiators that add unrivalled style, comfort, and luxury to any room without compromising functionality.
For your radiators to be efficient, bleeding the radiator is key. Bleeding a radiator means letting out air that gets trapped in the radiator system. Trapped air stops water from heating the whole radiator leading to cold spots.
A good process for bleeding radiators is as follows
Central Heating Pump
Heating Pumps are critical to the central heating system. They essentially pump hot water from your boiler which is then distributed around the home or property via a network of pipes. Through the pipes, the hot water goes to radiators and other outlets like taps and showers. Heat pumps are versatile which means they are suitable for several different applications.
There are different types of heating pumps available including the two-speed, three-speed or the high-efficiency pump that automatically adjusts the speed of the pump based on demand.
Central Heating Inhibitor
This is the chemical solution that is added to water in a central heating system to keep it working efficiently and effectively. It helps prevent breakdowns and extends the boiler’s life.
As the central heating system is made up of pipes and radiators which are metal or steel, over time the metal pipes and radiators may rust. The rust and dirt will build up sludge which causes blockages, corrosion, breakdowns and can lead to costly repairs.
Failing components and blockages can also increase the amount of gas the boiler uses to heat a home as the boiler will take longer to heat the radiators. This means the system is more expensive to run.
Most boiler manufacturers advice that the system should be dosed with an inhibitor regularly as part of the annual boiler service.
Central Heating Thermostat
Another essential part of the central heating system, the thermostat controls the heating in a home or building. With the thermostat, you can regulate the level of heating in a room or area to a preferred temperature based on your needs. For instance, if the temperature drops below a certain level, a programmed thermostat can switch the heating on to warm up the area. When the temperature level is higher, the thermostat can switch off the heating.
There are various types of thermostats – room, analogue, digital thermostats.