Selecting a New Home Central Heating System
When it comes to choosing a new central heating system for your home there are few things that you need to consider. First you need to decide what type of heat you require, do you want to have radiators in each room or underfloor heating, even a combination of both.
With radiators they tend to heat the room a lot quicker and when fitted with radiator control valves, the room temperature is more controllable. Should the weather turn mild you can adjust the temperature via the radiator valve very quickly, underfloor heating you can do the same, but it will take longer for the room to cool down.
Underfloor heating has become very popular but it takes a little longer to heat the room to the required temperature, the same goes for when you want to lower the temperature. With underfloor heating it depends on how it has been fitted, what type of flooring is on top of the heating pipes.
With underfloor heating, a coil of pipe is run right across the floor and back to a manifold. The flooring sitting on top of the pipes is heated, the flooring retains the heat and this is how underfloor heating works.
Now we look at what type of boiler you would need. First you have to consider the size of the property, how many rooms do you have and how many bathrooms.
All boilers are now high-efficiency condensing boilers and are designed to be around 90% efficient while at the same time be better for the environment than the previous models.
Now you have to decide what type of boiler to choose, do you go for a combination or system boiler? This will depend on how many bathrooms you have.
Combination boilers work where you have a constant supply of hot water as and when you demand it, but the downside is you can only really run one tap at a time. Lets say someone is in the shower and you turn the hot tap on in the kitchen, the hot water will normally go to the closest outlet, so the shower could go cold, not all the time but it could happen.
Combination boilers can only produce so many litres of hot water per minute. There are now many high output combination boilers to choose from, but they still work on the same principle.
The hot water side of a combination boiler takes priority over the heating, so while the hot water is running the heating is off, as soon as the hot tap is switched off the heating will return.
System boilers work along side a stored hot water cylinder, normally an unvented cylinder.
The hot water and the central heating are controlled by motorised zone valves. The hot water side will have its own zone valve and the central heating side will have as many as needed to control each heating zone.
Both types of boiler need to have some form of controls fitted. You will need a time clock or programmer to control the on and off times of the central heating and hot water.
You will also need a central room thermostat to control the comfort temperature. Every room can have a thermostat fitted to give an independent temperature of each room, this can be by fitting thermostats to each radiator, and a thermostat to control the underfloor heating. The more controls fitted to a heating system, the more economical it will be to run.
There are many types of controls to choose form nowadays, you can even buy smart controls where you control the heating system via your smart phone.
When comes to finding a company or installer to install your new central heating system, there are a few rules you should follow.
First try to find a reputable company or installer, search the internet for heating installers, check out the trade sites there are many to choose from. Read all the reviews from previous customers, this should give you an idea of how good they are. Once you find someone, give therm a call and ask them to visit your home to discuss your needs.
I don’t know about you, but when I meet someone for the first time to discuss work, I get a feeling as to whether they know what they are talking about or not. If you sense they are not for you, then you need to move on to the next one.
If the new boiler is to work via gas then you will need to carry out another very important check.
Any person who works on gas, be it installing, servicing even repairing has to be registered with Gas Safe. Everybody in gas carries a Gas Safe Card, this card will tell you what that person can work on.
First read the front of the card, it should have a picture of that person on it, the registration and licence number, and the expiry date. All gas safe cards expire 31/03 of each year, so if someone shows you a card that’s older than 12 months tell them to leave.
Now turn the card over and you will see what they can work on, as yours will be boilers look for boilers, if they don’t have boilers on the card then they cannot work on your new boiler.
Now we have to check the gas side, do you have natural or LPG gas or both? There will be 2 columns one for natural gas and the other for LPG.
I would also advise checking the details with GAS SAFE, if you go to their website you can enter the details of the installer and check everything is up to date and OK.
As you are the gas user you are responsible to check the installer is registered for the work that will be carried out, failure to do so could lead to a heavy penalty and your home insurance becoming void.
I would recommend that if your property is a small flat or house, then a combination boiler would be a better option, because you don’t need any space to fit a hot water cylinder. If your property has 2 or more bathrooms then I would recommend the system boiler. You will still have plenty of hot water as and when you need it so long as you choose the correct size cylinder and the right controls.