Baxi works

The key to efficiency


7th March 2016 - 12:30pm

Ensuring a heating system operates at an optimal level takes more than simply fitting a high efficiency boiler. In reality, controls and water treatment come into play as key factors to enable the boiler to do its job as efficiently as possible. Here, Paul Clancy, managing director at Baxi Potterton Myson, explains.

At this time of year, the opportunities to improve a heating system for the long term are rare. During heating season, call outs often require a fairly quick fix approach in order to restore heat and hot water to the household, keeping downtime to a minimum. Paired with the fact that this is usually an unexpected cost for the homeowner it’s easy to see why this is not normally the right time to look at improving the system as a whole.

However, during the summer months, customers may be more willing to invest in a larger amount of work if it means avoiding problems the following winter.

For a boiler to perform well, deliver its expected energy and carbon savings and ensure end user comfort, water treatment products and controls are essential, and should form a part of any new boiler installation. This is underlined by the fact they are included in Part L of the Building Regulations, and with the technology available today, they can increase efficiency and performance too.

No matter how efficient a boiler is, and what sophisticated controls are added, a heating engineer must ensure that the system water is clean and chemically treated – otherwise the energy and fuel savings won’t be realised.

Within any heating system, electrolytic corrosion results from water coming into contact with the metals found in central heating systems, forming magnetite and sludge. Systems that are blocked with sludge and debris cause the boiler to work harder and for longer, as the circulating water is unable to transfer the heat efficiently.

Homeowners tend to be cautious about spending money on water treatment, so explaining the energy savings is essential. Independent tests have shown that cleaning and protecting a system can make a substantial impact on gas saving every time a room is heated up.

Furthermore, water treatment products protect the life of a boiler. If the heating engineer doesn’t clean, flush and inhibit a system adequately a boiler could fail in a matter of weeks, potentially damaging the reputation of the heating engineer and the boiler manufacturer.

It’s worth remembering that heating controls can also make a big difference to the homeowner’s comfort levels and lifestyle, as much as controlling energy use and fuel bills.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, used correctly, a basic room thermostat and thermostatic radiator valves in a typical three-bedroom semi-detached home heated by gas could result in average annual savings of €110-€238, and up to 680kg of carbon dioxide.

And since ErP legislation came into force, it’s become clearer that through specifying a comprehensive suite of external controls, it is possible to show a demonstrable improvement in the overall efficiency of the installation.

Ultimately, the installer’s guidance plays a key role in the decision making process, so it’s important to advise homeowners on the care and attention required to keep a central heating system working efficiently – an approach that, in turn, can pay dividends when it comes to securing upgrade jobs in the future.

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