If you are looking to install or upgrade your central heating, no doubt you want the most bang for your buck. This means that you will need to consider what is the best option for your installation and your needs. There are various systems types to choose from and knowing the benefits of each can mean the difference between a system that costs your more money to run and one that saves you money.
Types Of Systems
Central heating systems can come in a number of types, but all broadly fall into one of the following categories:
- Wet systems – involving a boiler or heat exchanger and radiators
- Warm air systems
- Storage heaters
Wet systems work by circulating hot water through a system of pipes that connect the radiators throughout the house. A boiler, the center of the system, burns a fuel such as LPG to heat the water. Sometimes there is a heat exchanger and this heats the water instead of the boiler. It is also possible that a hot water cylinder is connected to this system. This type of system is the most popular type of heating system in the UK.
The boilers can use a selection of fuels to heat the water, The most common are natural gas and LPG, with some using heating oil. Rare instances use coal but these days these systems are uncommon. Electric central heating boilers are also another popular option.
The radiators, despite their name, don’t actually give off radiant heat, but rather deliver most of their heat through convection. Air warmed by the radiator usually rises and cooler air falls relative to it, resulting in warm air circulating within the room or space being heated.
Warm Air Systems
Warm air systems heat air by a boiler, usually fueled by gas such as LPG or natural gas, and are fed by means of ducts doing to rooms around the home. The warm air enters the room through a wall or floor vent. These systems are particularly popular in North America and are also commonly used in many commercial buildings, however mostly serve as cooling systems (air conditioning). For residential buildings and homes, wet systems have generally replaced these types of systems.
Storage Heater Systems
Storage heaters work by heating water overnight during off-peak electricity hours, then release the heat gradually during the following day. The storage heater will normally have at least two controls, one for controlling how much electricity is used which will determine how much heat is generated for storage, and another for controlling how much heat is released. This means that you can set it to release the heat when you need it, so if you are out during the day, you are not wasting heat when you are not there. More advanced systems also have thermostatic controls. In some cases, storage heaters can also serve as direct electric heaters, providing heat directly from electricity without going through the storage stage.
So now that you know about the different types of systems, what are the costs?
Storage heater systems are almost always more expensive to run than an equivalent wet heater system. They are really only best used if you have no access to gas supply or if you are on solar and have excess electricity that won’t cost you to use. The advantage of a storage heater system is the installation cost and hassle is a lot less than the wet systems.
Wet systems that run on gas will typically cost more to install, however you can save up to 50% or more on operating costs with an efficient gas heating system when compared to other central heating systems. One thing to bear in mind is gas systems do need regular servicing to keep them in 100% operating condition, so factor this into your yearly operating cost.
Are you looking at getting a central heating system installed in your home? If you would like to improve your heating system but don’t know where to start with all the options, get in contact with us now! We will help you determine what your requirements are and which system will suit your needs and budget best.