Plumbers, Boilers, Central Heating

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The high profile of global warming and climate change issues has attracted a lot of attention recently, with most developed countries trying to reduce their carbon emissions. Heating our homes and heating the water for domestic use accounts for a substential percentage of the carbon emission of the UK.

One of the key attributes of a boiler is its energy efficiency. From 1st April 2005 it has been a requirement of the Building Regulations Part L1 (Conservation of Fuel and Power) that any replacement or new gas fired boiler be of the condensing boiler type unless there are exceptional circumstances.

The older your boiler is the more inefficient it becomes. If it is more than 10-15 years old it is recommended to replace it with a new high efficient boiler. The new regulations mean that all new gas boilers installed in England and Wales must be high efficiency combi boilers or condensing boilers with either an "A" or "B" efficiency rating on the SEDBUK table.

In addition to replacing your old boiler with a new high efficiency boiler, there are other simple steps we can all take to save energy, reduce our heating costs and reduce our carbon footprint.

Energy Savings Ideas

  • Install TRVs – Thermostatic Radiator Valves help the user set individual temperature in each room and save on un-necessary heating in rooms you do not use.
  • Install heating controls – a programmable room thermostat can adjust the heating to your needs and prevent wasteful heating when it is not needed (e.g. when the members of the household are at work).
  • Powerflush the central heating system – removing sludge and build up from the heating pipework improves the system’s efficiency and reduces wasted energy.
  • Service the boiler – annual boiler servicing ensures the boiler is in good operating state, and ensures it operates within its most efficient range.
  • For other tips, visit Energy Saving Tips

Renewable Energy Technologies

Solar Thermal (Solar Water Heating)

Solar thermal water heating system is one of the oldest types of renewable energy technologies. Solar collectors use the sun’s radiation to heat water (or other heat transferring liquid) and then the water is stored in a highly insulated storage tank which allows for domestic or commercial usage.

A typical domestic system will cut the heating bills of a standard home by approximately 50% on an annual average and reduce the carbon dioxide emission by between 400-1,000 Kg per annum. With typical lifetime of well over 30 years for a quality solar water heating system, the carbon dioxide emissions reduction is very large, and the benefits for the war on climate change is substantial.

Furthermore, since the water is heated by the sun, there is a substantial reduction of boiler work, due to reduced demand. This prolongs the lifetime of the boiler and reduces boiler faults. For more information about Solar Thermal (Solar Water Heating), visit our Solar Thermal Introduction paper.

Ground Source Heat Pumps

The temperature underground stays relatively constant around the year. Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHP) take advantage of this stable source of energy by extracting the heat and using it for domestic space heating and domestic water heating.

Loops of pipes are buried underground to extract the heat, and through a reverse refrigeration process the pump is increasing the output to temperatures that are appropriate for heating your home and heating water.

A quality system can save between 400 - 800 on a typical heating bill and 2 - 8 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. For more information about Heat Pumps, visit our Introduction to Ground Source Heat Pumps paper.

Due to their temperature output and efficiency range, heat pumps are perfectly matched with Underfloor Heating as the most cost effective and pleasant heating solution for the home.

For other low carbon ways of generating energy, visit our section for Renewable Technologies.

This page has been written with contributions from qualified plumbers from Merseyside and plumbers from Bolton. Several of the company's Gas Safe engineers from Middlesex have worked on similar issues as well as some of our experienced plumbers from Fulham and our Islington experienced heating engineers.