Plumb Bob understand that some engineers like to blind their customers with science and inside jargon. We like to keep our clients well informed enabling them to make appropriate decisions. Here’s our guide to jargon busting, which we will add to on a regular basis.
A combination boiler has all requirements and control systems for the household heating systems incorporated into a single unit. Hot water is provided instantaneously on demand at mains pressure. It’s advantages: no hot water cylinder required therefore reducing running costs. No tanks are required in the loft removing potential flood damage and providing more space. There is mains pressure at all outlets thus removing the need for pumps. It’s a pressurised heating system and therefore increases heating efficiency and because its pressurised we can locate the boiler almost anywhere.
It requires a healthy volume and pressure of mains water and we recommend good quality makes which offer greater reliability and spare parts are easily available and installed i.e. Worcester Bosch, Potterton, Baxi, Vailiant.
System Boilers (Un vented)
A halfway house between a combi boiler and a traditional boiler. The system is pressurised there is no need for a small heating tank in the loft but the large tank and a hot water cylinder remains.
Because its pressurised the boiler can be situated in a wider variety of locations, and the pressurised water transfers heat better. The boiler installations will be slightly more expensive.
Traditional Vented Heating Systems
Most commonly found, it consists of a boiler, hot water cylinder and two tanks in the loft. It comes in two varieties; gravity, which no longer complies with regulations and fully pumped which allows full control o the heating of the hot water and/or heating.
It delivers a healthy volume of hot water on demand, however this means that the running costs are high in order to keep water hot.
Direct Hot Water
Electrically heated water, mainly where the supply of gas/oil is not available. The heating is provided by economy 7 storage radiators. It is a simple system with no complex parts, however it is expensive to heat water expensively. Makes include Ariston, Santon, Megaflow.
This is a valve fitted to a radiator which allows you to control the temperature of an individual room without affecting the other rooms in the house. That way rooms that are not used very often can be kept at a lower temp thus saving on workload for the boiler and you money.
For this reason it has been advised that to comply with current building regulations, all replacement boilers and new heating systems have them fitted.
A fixed valve on a radiator that controls the maximum water flow through the radiator.
Over time the efficiency of the heating system degrades, this is due to rust forming in the inside of the radiators which then falls off and is pumped round the heating circuit until it settles there the water is slowest or gets caught in a tight spot. A good sign of this is radiators that stop working or cold spots in the centre of the rad.
A chemical inhibiter can be used to slow down the rusting action and magnetic filters such as ‘magnaclean’ to keep any metal from entering and damaging the boiler.
To remove the sludge that is already in the system we recommend power-flushing. This is basically fitting a big pump onto the heating system and running water and acids to clean away the rust and any other rubbish and powering it down the drain.
Please note : Power-flushing although good requires that the heating pipes are 15mm or wider as good flow of the water is needed to clean the radiators properly. Heating systems using the micro bore method of piping are not suitable for this procedure and installing a Magnaclean would be a better solution to the problem.
Under-floor heating systems also do not require power-flushing as they do not have any steel in the plastic matrices.
Chemicals introduced into your central heating system that will slow down the rusting process of your radiators. We recommend that good quality brands (Kamco, Fernox, Sentinal), are used and handled by a professional, and introduced following a power flush and topped up every three years.
This is a filter installed into the return line of the boiler using a powerful magnet and sometimes a extra gauze filter it is possible to ensure that only clean water goes into the boiler.
Plumbbob recommends that this device is fitted to all heating systems with steal radiators and fits a Magnaclean to every new boiler to ensure reliable operation long into the future.
Single Pipe Systems
Introduced in the 50s this consists of a single pipe from the boiler servicing all the radiators, there is poor heat distribution with limited control. Some houses still have this system, now not installed and we recommend that if your house has this system we upgrade and introduce extra control to increase efficiency.
Two Pipe System
Has a flow of hot water from the boiler and a return of water for reheating. Ensuring heat is evenly distributed and allows greater control.
Introduced in the 80s as a system of small pipes 8mm or 10mm in diameter. It was a quick and easy system to install however is has limitations with regards to additions, alterations and maintenance. It is unsuitable to power flush but efficiency can be improved through introduction of a magnetic filter.
Programmable Room Stat
A combination of room stat and timer allows greater control and efficiency of the system and we recommend this on most heating systems.
Its primary job is to protect the boiler when located in an exposed location e.g. garages and lofts
Three port valve
This is a device used to control the direction of flow of the heating water ether to heat the radiators and or the hot water cylinder. If there is only one control valve in the system then it is commonly known as a ‘Y’ plan system. This is usually found in 1-3 bed houses as there are limitations with the flow but there always exceptions to the rule.
Two port valve
Although similar to the three port valve this tends to be used on bigger heating systems as it has the added ability to control other areas of the house as well as the hot water by the simple addition of more valves.