Without a doubt, your central heating system is an important part of your home, especially during the winter. In fact, electricity and petrol account for 40% of your energy bill. As important as heating systems are, there is still a lot of information about them that you may not be aware of. Especially if you’re considering replacing or installing a new central heating system.
In the winter, your central heating system, which may consist of an electric boiler or a gas boiler, works quietly in the background of your home to provide you with warm water and heat. However, you must consider what your current heating system has to offer to ensure that it is still the best one for you.
About the central heating system
A central heating system produces and distributes heat throughout a building. It accomplishes this by producing heat in one location and distributing it throughout the building via air, steam, or water. In colder climates, central heating systems are used to heat buildings.
If you live in the United Kingdom, you almost certainly have a central heating system. A central heating system is installed in approximately 95% of UK homes, with gas central heating systems accounting for 86% of all homes. It is also not uncommon for heating systems to distribute hot water to your home’s taps, especially if you have a hot water tank.
Various types of central heating systems
The wet system: In a wet system, your boiler heats water, which is then pumped through a network of pipes to radiators throughout the house. Each radiator has valves that regulate the rate at which water flows through it as well as the amount of heat it emits.
Wet systems are typically dual-purpose in the United Kingdom. They provide heating for the building as well as hot water for the faucets. The boilers in tankless systems operate on demand, heating cold water as soon as it comes from the tap. In contrast, when a hot water storage tank is used, it must be pre-filled with hot water.
Warm air circulation system: Some older homes still have warm air systems, also known as dry systems. They were popular in the 1960s and 1970s, but have since been surpassed by wet systems. This system can still be found in commercial buildings, where it circulates cool air (air conditioning).
Cold air is drawn in from the outside, heated by a central boiler, and circulated throughout the home via air ducts and vents in the dry system. To control the heat levels, each duct can be opened or closed. Dry systems, on the other hand, can only be installed while a house is being built because the massive ducts must be fitted into the building to avoid being obtrusive.
System of storage heaters: Electric storage heaters store heat in firebricks overnight. During the day, this heat is gradually released into the house. By primarily heating at night and only briefly during the day, the system can use cheaper, off-peak electricity on Economy 7 and Economy 10 tariffs.
Although storage heating systems are primarily made up of individual storage heaters, they rely on a wiring system within the home to operate at off-peak hours. As a result, this system can be described as ‘centralized’ to some extent.
System of district heating: A district heating system generates heat in a single centralized power source and distributes it via insulated pipes to several buildings in a specific area. It allows properties to avoid having separate heating systems, which can help save money on energy bills and reduce carbon emissions.
Kinds of Boilers
There are three types of boilers to be aware of in a wet central heating system. Knowing what boiler you have now will assist you in upgrading your heating system in the future.
Combination Gas Boiler: Most homes have combination boilers. These are compact heating systems that contain everything required to heat a home within the boiler’s sealed central heating system. That means there will be no cylinders or tanks in the loft. When hot water is required, a combi boiler heats water from the mains supply and directs it to the tap. While this saves space, it reduces the amount of hot water they can provide. As a result, they are typically recommended for homes with 1-2 bathrooms.
Typical Gas Boiler: Regular boilers are the most traditional type of boiler. You might have also heard them called conventional boilers or traditional boilers. When the heating is turned on, cold water is sent down to the boiler via the feed tank. Because water expands as it heats, the expansion tank provides additional space. The hot water cylinder, on the other hand, stores domestic hot water until it is required. Regular boilers require a lot of pipework because they are made up of so many different parts. As a result, a new standard boiler should only be considered as a direct replacement for an old one.
Boilers for systems: A system boiler is a more modern version of a boiler. They draw water directly from the mains, eliminating the need for loft tanks. They directly heat the radiators as needed, but also store domestic hot water in a cylinder. This enables them to meet the high demand for hot water in multi-bathroom properties.
You won’t need to replace your entire central heating system at once, but some components may wear out faster than others. The age of your entire system indicates that parts are aging and the system is not working as efficiently. Boilers should typically be replaced every 10 to 15 years, and if the rest of the system is nearing the end of its life, it is time to consider replacing it as well. Heating systems become less efficient over time. Your home may take longer to heat up and your utility bills may be higher than usual. These may indicate that the system needs to use more power to function properly. Upgrading your boiler can extend the life of your current heating system and save you energy bills by using a more modern and energy-efficient system. High repair costs. Your heating system should be inspected annually to ensure that all parts are working properly. However, there are inevitable repairs that need to be made over time. If the cost to fix the problem is much higher than replacing the entire system, ask your heating supplier if it’s time to replace it.