Saving energy on heating

Saving energy on heating

Q. What is a more fuel-efficient boiler?

A. Boilers are rated for energy efficiency in a similar manner to that of domestic appliances. SEDBUK (Seasonal Efficiency of Domestic Boilers in the UK) is a scheme that rates the efficiency of boilers on a scale of A to G, where an A-rated boiler is 90% efficient and a G rated boiler is below 70% efficient. From April 1st 2005, it became mandatory in England and Wales through the Building Regulations Approved Document L to only install high efficiency boilers. Whether the boiler is being installed in a new house or replacing an existing boiler, it must be of the high efficiency type unless there are exceptional circumstances why it could not be.

To get a boiler that meets the requirement of being 90% efficient you would probably need to use a ‘condensing’ boiler. A condensing boiler works by recovering waste heat from the boiler flue and converts it to useable heat.

Q. Will a condensing boiler fit where my existing boiler is?

A. When a condensing boiler recovers waste heat, water or ‘condensate’ is produced. This needs to be drained and so a condensate drain would need to be provided. You would also need to check with the installer the flue arrangement required. The flue is the method by which the boiler exhausts gases and needs to go from the boiler to outside.

The location for the inlet/outlet terminal(s) needs to be chosen carefully to minimise or avoid damage to historic fabric. It should also be noted that the flue discharge from modern condensing boilers is often in the form of a ‘steam plume’ which may be unsightly if not carefully positioned to reduce the visual impact.

The choice of replacement boilers is therefore as much governed by flue arrangements as by efficiency.

All installations must be undertaken by a Gas Safe registered installer.

Q. What sort of control should I have for a heating system?

A. A room thermostat switches the heating on and off as required. They work by sensing the air temperature, if it is lower than required it will switch the heating on and if it is higher, it will switch the heating off. Thermostatic radiator valves can also be used, these work in a similar way to the room thermostat but they are fitted to the individual radiators so you can set different rooms to different temperatures.

A programmer allows you to set the times for when you want the heating available.

As well as using controls you should ensure all pipe-work is well insulated. Pipe-work that is not insulated will need more energy to deliver heating and hot water, as the heat will be being lost through the pipe-work before it reaches the hot water tank (if you have one) or the radiator.

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