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Recommended Controls for your Central Heating System

02/07/2014

Recommended Controls for your Central Heating System

Being comfortable in your own home is essential and your central heating system can determine those comfort levels. 

In terms of cost, heating your home can account for anything up to 70% of energy bills and yet without adequate controls and insulation, much of that energy is wasted.  In essence, heating systems replace the heat that is lost through your home's shell.  How much energy your heating system needs to replace depends on four factors:

  1. The climate where your home is located
  2. The size of your home
  3. How energy efficient your home is and,
  4. How energy-efficient your heating system is.

Unfortunately, you can't do much about the first two factors! But, you can do something about improving the energy efficiency of your home and specifically, your heating system.
 

Waterford Stanley has compiled the following recommendations on efficiently heating your home.

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Zoning

An essential measure in efficient heating systems, especially for larger homes, is setting up zone control. Zone control divides a home into heating zones such as upstairs, downstairs and hot water.  Both timing and heating levels through room thermostats can then be individually controlled in each heating zone without heating the whole house, giving you flexibility - the key to energy efficiency. 

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Thermostatic Controls

Where possible, individual room heating temperatures should be controlled through room thermostats, thermostatic radiator valves or other similar forms of sensing devices. Thermostatic radiator valves are ideal for rooms not frequently in use such as a dining room or a spare bedroom, where they can be heated to a reduced temperature level throughout the day, therefore saving on running costs.

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Hot Water Supply

A Stanley range cooker provides a consistently high level of hot water to a hot water cylinder. Stanley recommends that a minimum hot water cylinder size of 40 gallons be fitted in the heating system. Where a high level of hot water supply is required, the installation of a cylinder with rapid recovery heat exchanger is advised. Hot water storage should also be fitted with thermostatic controls, which shut off the supply of heat when the desired storage temperature is reached.

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Radiators

In any new heating system, the installation of high output low water content convector radiators is advised. These radiators heat up the house rapidly providing an even heat distribution throughout each room. In order to enable heated air to rise freely from the radiator and pass into the room, a clearance of at least 50mm should be left between the top of the radiator and any obstruction above, such as a shelf or window ledge. And remember, when radiators are fitted inside casings, a considerable drop in output occurs, sometimes as much as 60%.

In existing heating systems, consideration should be given to replacing larger high water content non-convector radiators with more efficient convector units.  In homes fitted with single glazing the old rule about placing radiators under windows (to counteract sinking air which has been cooled by contact with the glass) is still applicable. With double-glazing, this is no longer necessary.

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Time Control

For central heating systems capable of on-off control, provision must be made for time control in order to control the period when the heating system operates. Time control should also be provided either as part of the central heating system or as a local device, which enables the heat to be shut off when not required.

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Insulation

Up to half the heat lost from a house is through the walls. This can be reduced by up to two-thirds through insulation. To maintain comfort, the heat lost in winter must be replaced by your heating system. Insulating ceilings, walls, and floors decreases this heat flow.

The easiest time to insulate your home is at the time of building. As for homes already built, the best & most popular way of insulating older/existing buildings is by pumping insulation into the cavity. If you don't have a cavity dry lining can be carried out. Position timber laths on your inside walls, insulate and lay plasterboard over.  If you prefer to clad outside rather than inside, we recommend you use an approved external cladding solution.

Whether it is made from fibreglass, shredded newspaper or foam, insulation is one of the best investments a homeowner can make. Insulation can also keep noise levels down!

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Conclusion

Always remember, what you desire in your home is comfort.  If your home is too hot or too cold it becomes uncomfortable and necessitates opening windows or turning up heating which is costly, inefficient and lacking in control.

Installing controls such as thermostats, timers, and zoned heating in your home, will allow you to effectively manage the cost of hot water and heating.

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