Heating System Design

Heating system design can be a confusing prospect. Whether you’re building a home, or installing a new system in an existing home as part of a renovation, it can be tricky to work out what heating system design would best suit you. Getting the heating system design right is very important; this is the element of your home that is most likely to malfunction or break down – and cause the most grief in the process.

It’s not surprising that people are often tempted to go for a basic heating system design, with little thought going into how well it will serve your home. A little research and some good advice can go a long way to helping you make a decision that will suit you best.

Before you can decide what heating system design will work for you, it’s necessary to understand a little more about central heating systems themselves. The easiest way to think about heating system design is to imagine the system in two parts – the part that generates heat (the boiler) and the way the heat is distributed (the radiators).

The Boiler

This is the main part of the central heating system. It is responsible for generating the heat and hot water in your home. There are two basic types of boiler and many different fuels that can be used to generate heat energy.

• Conventional boiler: this is the most basic boiler type. It simply burns fuel, creating heat energy to heat your home and hot water. They use a storage tank to provide hot water, and as a result can take up more space.

• Combination (combi) boiler: this boiler is one of the cheapest to install and run, and provides instant heat and hot water at mains pressure. They are easy to install and provide unlimited amounts of hot water. This is great for smaller homes, but combi boilers can struggle to provide reliable and consistent hot water for larger families.

Heat Distribution

There are two main ways you can distribute heat energy in your home via central heating – radiators, or underfloor heating. As with the rest of your heating system design, each have their own benefits and disadvantages.

  • Radiators are the most common choice, and when they are placed correctly in the room can be very efficient. Radiators work by emitting heat which warms the air in the room.
  • As the warm air rises, the cold air is pushed down and warmed by the radiator. They require little maintenance, and are often best suited to renovations as they are easier to install. However, radiators can be a little cumbersome aesthetically and limit your options when it comes to the design of your room. Radiators shouldn’t be placed beneath windows, for example, and this can dictate furniture placement later on.
  • Underfloor heating is becoming increasingly popular, due to its efficiency as well as the feeling of a luxuriously warm floor. However, it can be very difficult to have underfloor heating installed in an existing home, so it’s usually an option chosen for extensions or new builds. Underfloor heating works brilliantly under tiles or wood flooring, but carpets can act as insulation, preventing the heat from distributing efficiently.

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