Heating System / Boiler Replacement
Here is where an Ecotechnician will really come in to their own. When replacing your boiler or upgrading your complete heating system, you have the opportunity to spec and fully design your system to maximise efficiency to the highest standards currently available. An Ecotechnician will tailor to your system to best suit the properties use, taking in to consideration, the heat loss of the property, emitter types and sizing, control strategy, fuel source and most practical system design.
Modern condensing boilers are extremely well engineered appliances that if installed and used as the design engineers intended will give 15-20 year life. It is a sad reflection of the UK heating industry that so many boilers are not installed this way, and as a result their life span is compromised, with many being replaced after just 5 years’ service.
Ecotechnicians use boiler replacements as an opportunity to install boilers as the design engineers would expect. This means using appropriate compensation controls to offer higher levels of efficiency and reliability. These controls look at the amount of heat needed to maintain a set temperature, rather than merely turn a boiler on and off at a fixed temperature, which is common practice in the UK. Thus a more stable temperature is attained in the building and energy saved. It is important that the controls use a communication system to ‘talk’ to the boiler. Modern heating appliances use ‘bus’ communication similar to that used in computing to communicate between controllers, boiler and valves. There are several types of protocol OpenTherm, Ebus, KMbus, EMS bus, but effectively they all do the same thing, pass information from point to point. By using weather compensation and indoor compensation controls we can offer higher levels of efficiency and reliability while increasing comfortability. All these controls arwe extremely user friendly, and in most cases the user has to do very little at all compared to traditional ‘on-off’ systems.
Controls play a key part in how much a boiler is used. From varying the radiator temperature according to how much heat is actually needed to maintain a reasonable temperature in the building, to turning the heating on and off according to how soon you will be home using an app and geolocation. Controls are the key to reducing energy consumption and ensuring that gas is burnt efficiently, however controls and how a heating system is used are only part of the heating conundrum.
When designing a system considerations must be made as to which heating emitters would best suit, this is governed by usage, insulation values and practicality. Hot water supply and storage will also need to be looked in to and sized to suit, along with the corresponding distribution system. If you have a typical hot water cylinder this should most likely be replaced, as newer hot water cylinders have much better levels of insulation. Other considerations should be which fuel source to use? If the property has a gas supply or not, is there a renewable energy source which would be practical and viable to install? Once these decisions have been made, the design can then begin.
Ecotechnicians not only understand full system theory and design but also have the advantage of being hands on installers and know what is practical, this saves a lot of confusion and issues over situations where the designer is not necessarily the installer.
This article was written by Adam Chapman of Chapman Plumbers