While Auckland enjoys a largely warm coastal climate, it gets an average low of 7oC in winter and a fair share of rainfall during summer.
With the changeable weather and the big drops in temperature overnight, central heating proves to be a wonderful solution for keeping your home consistently warm while drying away any moisture that gets inside.
Central heating ensures even distribution of heat around your home, via a central heat source. It’s not a new concept but the technology has become so advanced that it’s too good not to consider. Some of the benefits include:
- Economical to run: operational cost is around 10c per kwh
- No forced air movements: no draughts, no cold spots, no noisy fans
- Better indoor air quality: does not circulate dust and allergens around your home.
- Easy and flexible temperature control via the thermostat and timer.
- Zoning capability for ultimate control and comfort.
How central heating works
Central heating systems consist of a primary heating appliance (typically a central heating boiler), which has four main components: a burner, a heat exchanger, a blower and a flue for releasing gaseous by-products.
To make things simple, think of a central heating system as a continuous circuit that moves hot water from the boiler through all the radiators, and then back again for reheating. The water is permanently stored inside the system, so it’s the same water that circulates around your home (unless it is drained for maintenance). No water is actually consumed
In practice, here’s how a typical gas-fired boiler or ‘wet system’ works:
- The boiler burns natural gas to create hot jets. This heats up the heat exchanger, which is basically a water-containing copper pipe that bends back and forth inside the gas jet chamber to pick up the maximum amount of heat (approximately up to 60oC). In the process, the heat energy is transferred from the gas to the water.
- The heated water is pushed through the pipes by an electric pump. Older models use gravity and convection to move water around the circuit (hot water naturally rises as it has lower density than cold water).
- From the pipes, the water flows in a closed loop inside each radiator (located in different parts of the house), entering at one side and leaving at the other. The radiators give off radiant heat gently, which leaves the water cooler. By the time the water has passed through
all the radiators, it has cooled down significantly and
must return to the boiler for reheating.
The entire operation is controlled by a thermostat and a time controller, allowing precise control over the temperature in different parts of the home. Some systems allow dedicated thermostats in each room. The thermostat switches off the boiler when the room is hot enough and turns it back on when the room temperature dips. Thermostats may be manually adjustable or electronically programmable.
Central heating systems don’t have a problem supplying heat in multi-story homes since the pump is powerful enough to push the heated water through radiators that run upstairs.
Types of central heating systems
Gas-fired boilers are common in Auckland. It is simply economical in terms of installation and running costs, since many homes are already supplied with natural gas. Houses with no connection to the gas network normally use liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or heating oil, which is a little more expensive to run but works in the same way.
Electric boilers are more common in rural and remote areas where gas or oil is not readily available. But some households in urban areas also choose this type of system because of the numerous advantages. Electric boilers are capable of meeting the demands of much larger homes. They are much simpler in design so they’re light and compact. They are touted to be 100% efficient and run silently. It’s also more environment friendly due to its lower carbon emission. The main drawback of electric systems is the installation cost, as it will require new pipes and boiler.
Combination boiler (hybrid) systems are also gaining more attention today due to their practicality. This type of system heats water on demand, both for space heating and for domestic use. They require less space since they don’t need a feed tank or hot water cylinder.
Geothermal heat pumps are another great option because they are environment-friendly and produce the lowest running costs. They are, however, only suitable for new builds because retrofitting the pipes is extremely difficult and expensive.
Underfloor heating systems have pipes strategically laid under the floor, in lieu of radiators. The heated water in the pipes warms the floor, which in turn warms the room. It is considered efficient and highly controllable. However, it can only be installed in new homes because the pipes need to be laid in the concrete slab.
Apart from the fuel or power source, there are a few other things to consider such as the size of your home and your budget.
The best way to decide which system suits your home is to talk to an experienced and qualified plumber. Talk to us today!