Domestic Plumbing And Efficient Heating Systems For Your Eco Friendly Home
Having just about come to the end of 9 months of extensive building work on our house it’s safe to say that I’m a bit of a house renovation expert now. I never thought I’d be the kind of person who had an opinion about skirting boards, but turns out that actually I’ve got lots of opinions about it. Same with door handles, grout, window frames, the list goes on, I have lots and lots of opinions about EVERYTHING! But these small things aside, we have also had to make a ridiculous amount of decisions about some of the larger aspects to our home, including the plumbing and what heating systems to choose.
Efficiency is obviously a key element in all of this, I mean we’ve already forked out a fortune on getting the house done up, the last thing we need is ongoing expensive heating bills. With this in mind I wanted to share with you some of the information we came across when we were doing our research into the most efficient heating systems so that you too can try and make your house just that little bit more eco-friendly and to help keep those bills to a minimum.
The big question with boilers is whether to go with a condensing boiler or a combi boiler and there are lots of different factors to consider. Ultimately a condensing boiler is the greener option as they use heat in the waste flue gas to pre-heat the cold water going into the boiler. Many condensing boilers currently on the market have an efficiency rating of at least 90% and this translates as lower energy bills and a reduced carbon footprint. For you to be able to have a condensing boiler you must have somewhere it can vent to and as they take up a larger amount of space than a combi boiler you also need to think about where you would put it. Combi boilers however are still Britain’s best-selling type of boiler, mainly because of how compact they are, as they don’t require a water storage cylinder and so therefore take up less space. One of the big issues with combi boilers though is that they rely on good water pressure, something we discovered when we first moved into our house. Our mains water pressure is terrible and it used to take us forever to run a bath. But after doing some research we discovered that by installing a pressure booster it would help sort this problem out and now we have no problems whatsoever. Boilers should last up to 15 years, although you may experience maintenance issues before this time. It is always worth getting it serviced regularly as it may be that it just needs a new part to get it running smoothly again. You can click here for glow worm boiler spares from Heating and Plumbing World.
Under Floor Heating
Under floor heating seems like the ultimate in luxury right? And whenever the word luxury is attached to something you automatically think expensive. However, despite the initial expense, which yes is more than you would pay for having standard central heating fitted, in the long run it can be the cheaper and more efficient option. There are two types of underfloor heating – hot water (wet) systems and electric (dry) systems and both come with their own benefits. For example, electric underfloor heating systems are a lot easier and cheaper to install however hot water systems have cheaper running costs. It’s all about looking at the bigger picture and working out what is going to be the most practical solution for you. We have opted for a hot water system on the ground floor, as the floor needed to be dug up anyway and it is a large open plan space. However, in the two bathrooms upstairs we have chosen to go with electric underfloor heating because the areas are smaller and so we can control how often we need to have it on a lot more easily. Underfloor heating can heat a larger area than a radiator can and so for this reason alone it works out as an efficient, cost-effective and greener heating option.
Radiators are the most common heating source in the UK, but they are not the most efficient solution when it comes to heating your home. Most radiators are used in conjunction with a central heating system, which heats up water that passes through pipes and into the radiator where the heat the radiates out from. Whilst radiators are more than capable of heating up an entire home, it takes longer for the heat to warm up the whole space than it would from say underfloor heating. Dual fuel radiators are the most efficient type of radiators as they take the best features from central heating and electric systems. Most people have this type of radiator in the bathroom as a heated towel rail, as it can then be switched off when it doesn’t need to be used. If you already have radiators and you do not have the finances to change the entire heating system of your home the best solution is to change your energy supplier. Do you research and switch to green renewable electricity supplier which will help cut down your CO2 emissions.
Let’s talk solar panels. So the thing is, to get the best out of a solar panel you need light from the sun right, and we live in the UK…. yeah you see the problem. But joking aside, the sun is one of the most sustainable and eco friendly ways you can heat your home. It works by having solar panels fitted to the roof of your house, which store the heat from the sun and converts it into energy that can be used to either heat your water or heat your home, or both. Now obviously the level of sunshine does play a part and so to fully optimise how much solar energy you can harvest you need to ensure your solar panels are fitted in the best possible position. This is where it is worth doing your research and talking to the experts, but do ask more than one company as there are lots of cowboys out there too. There is no doubt that solar panel installation is expensive, but it’s all about looking at the bigger picture. On average it takes approximately 9 years to pay for itself. This might seem a long time, but after that time you will notice a dramatic reduction in your energy bills. You just need to think about whether you will still be living in the same house after that time, because there is zero point in paying for solar panels if you end up moving in 5 years time; you will not see the benefits. It’s also worth exploring whether you qualify for any grants, as the government is concerned about reaching its green tariffs by 2020 and as such that are lots of incentive programs which you may be able to benefit from.
Stop The Heat Escaping
The best and most effective way to make your home as efficient as possible when it comes to your heating is to stop what heat it does create from escaping. Making sure your home is well insulated will help prevent heat from escaping through walls, windows, doors and the roof and this can improve efficiency by as much as 20 to 30%. Double glazing, draft excluders, thick curtains, insulating your loft, blocking up unused chimneys are all ways in which you can stop heat escaping from your home. In addition, consider adding thermal blinds to your windows as this will help keep in the heat during the colder months so that you benefit from a warmer house without having to pay extra.
Most traditional heating methods aren’t kind to the environment and are even less kind to your wallet. There are things you can do to help both of these problems, however an initial financial outlay is inevitable.
As with any big changes to your house, do your research, ask friends and family what heating systems they use and whether they’re happy with it, and always shop around when it comes to choosing which energy supplier to go with as there are substantial savings to be had.
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