Thursday, 8 February 2007

Renovations just got redesigned

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Monday, 5 February 2007

Plumbing - Heating systems explained

Now that our system is dead I’ve been forced to look into the world of heating 3 months early. When broken down, heating systems are fairly uncomplicated. There are 3 main types; free standing, wall mounted and back boilers.

Free standing:
These are slim boilers that are situated on the floor and usually installed between kitchen units.

Wall mounted:
Smaller, more compact heat exchangers. These boilers don’t require the room to be vented.

Back boilers:
These are the first central heating systems that were on offer. They do require the room to be vented. They were installed in the fireplace and thus are treated as open flued models. When these boilers break down they tend to omit poisonous flumes. This is the system we are replacing and I can confirm that when ours started to go, the room stank.

Other systems are condensing boilers and combination boilers (combi)

Condensing boilers have been around for some time and as more efficient designs are bought out, more savings on fuel costs can be found. Easy to install, care must be taken when considering the placement of the flue as ‘pluming’ (steam like omissions that, although are non toxic, would annoy if placed by a window or door) Also this system needs to be able to drain the result of the condensation away to a drain.

Combination boilers are popular as they remove the need to have a hot water tank and thus save space. They are typically installed in flats and small houses. They allow hot water on demand but are limited if the hot water is required for multiple sources (tap in the kitchen and the shower running at the same time)

Warm air systems are also available and are usually found in small houses and flats. These work by heating the air using burning gas and then pumping the hot air around the house. These systems are very economical to run and are quick to warm up from cold. It’s also possible to get electrostatic air filters to eliminate odours and 95% of airborne particles. (good for asthma sufferers)

You are also restricted to what can be installed where. These are the places where certain boilers can or can’t be installed.

  • Kitchen – all types, preferably on an external wall for the flue.
  • Living Room – Back boilers are not permitted.
  • Bedrooms – only fanned to room sealed boilers can be fitted. Boilers that draw air from the room must not be fitted in bedrooms.
  • Bathrooms - only fanned to room sealed boilers can be fitted. Boilers that draw air from the room must not be fitted in bathrooms.
  • Under stairs – as long as adequate fire protection is installed giving 30 minutes or more protection all can be installed.
  • Garage – all boilers but frost protection is required.
  • Roof space – all can be installed but secure access, permanent lighting and boards between hatch and boiler are required to be installed as well.
  • Cellar – as external walls aren’t available, only fanned flue and conventional flue boilers can be fitted.
Choosing a boiler will depend on your personal needs, size of house and location you wish to install the boiler. We spoke to Abbey boilers who were very helpful. This article is only a guide and further information and advice should be sort from a corgi registered engineer.

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