What to know about Central Heating Installation
Understanding your central heating installation is an important step in the heating service process. When you consider that it is responsible for keeping your home comfortable and safe year-round, it makes sense to know how your system works.
This article covers what you should know about central heating installation and answers the common questions also.
Central heating Installation
Central heating installation is a system used to distribute heat from a central point to other areas in a building. The heating installation, which includes the boiler and its associated pipes, radiators and controls, can be either hot water or steam-driven also known as hydronic. In the UK, most installations currently use low-pressure hot water systems.
What do I need to know about central heating installation?
When it comes to central heating installation, what you'll need will differ depending on the system that is chosen. In some instances, the central heating system may need extra pipe-work or require gas, electric or oil tanks. Installing a new central heating system will include:
Choosing how to heat your home
There are three main types of central heating to choose from including gas, oil and electric. Other types can also be used to provide central heating for homes including solid fuels, biomass and solar.
How will the system be powered?
Different central heating systems require different ways of powering them. The options are electricity, oil, gas or a combination of all three. Some systems use more than one power supply; for example, you could have an electric system that is also powered by gas and oil.
What are the main central heating systems?
The four main central heating systems that use different sources of energy are gas-powered systems, oil-fired systems, ground source heat pumps and air source heat pumps.
The most common type is a gas-powered system, which provides heat from burning natural gas in an enclosed device connected to pipework at your property.
Oil-fired systems are becoming more common in the UK, as they provide reliable heat with lower operating costs than gas. They work by burning multiple fuels, most commonly a mixture of 90 per cent diesel and 10 per cent furnace oil (benzol). Gas is also used as one of the fuels.
Both are similar in that the heat exchanger is located at your boiler rather than inside an appliance.
A further two heating options are becoming more popular with homeowners - ground source heat pumps, which draw on energy from the earth, and air source heat pumps, which draw on energy from the air.
What should I know before a central heating installation?
Before central heating can be installed, you'll need to schedule a time during which the outer work of your home will be done. You will likely need to have all doors and windows opened so that piping can be laid properly and exhaust systems hooked up. The workers installing your heater will let you know what will be required in terms of your schedule.
While the hot water and steam need to be connected before installation, you can add on any other features such as humidifiers or air purification systems at a later time. The ductwork for any extra items will depend on where they are placed and where the central heating unit is as well as if they are for heater or cooling. Since the process of all this will take a few hours, it is best to be patient with the workers and let them do their jobs.
Once everything is in place, all you need to do (provided that your system is pre-programmed) is turn it on. It might take a few minutes for the temperature to get to where you want it, but after that, you should be able to relax and enjoy your newly installed central heating system.
What should I expect when having central heating installed?
Before beginning the process of installing a new heating system in your home, make sure that you have everything necessary to do the job. You will need a floor plan of your property and the location of all heating appliances as well as a hot water cylinder. If you already have a working central heating system, then you should remove it before installing the new one. Ensure that these systems are switched off before removing them and that all gas piping is also disconnected and taken away.
Installation for a new heating system will usually begin with the gas boiler being installed in an appropriate location according to the floor plan of your property. If you have not already done so, this may require several feet of concrete to be laid before the unit can be placed over it. An insulated casing should then be built around it, leaving a door for future access.
The next step of the installation process is to run pipes from this boiler room to each individual radiator in your home. It may be necessary to install more than one unit if you require a particularly large heating system. In smaller homes, central heating systems are mainly used to heat water rather than air and are installed in the walls or floors. They are far less common in British homes, however, because they are expensive to install and require a lot of ongoing maintenance.
Finding a central heating installer
A large number of central heating installation companies exist but you must choose one which has experience in your type of property. Older buildings, in particular, may have unique heating needs which are best catered for by an expert who knows the layout of the building well. Central heating systems are usually installed when a home is being built, so it may be necessary to ask around family and friends for recommendations before you start looking.
How is central heating installed?
Central heating is typically installed by laying an underground pipe system on the outer walls of your home. This piping then connects to a furnace that can be located anywhere in your home, depending on where the most efficient spot for it was determined to be. Most furnaces are placed in basements or utility closets, but some rooms are more convenient as well.
How does central heating work?
Central heating works by pumping hot water which has been heated in the boiler around your home. Your radiators are like miniature boilers, converting the heat energy in the water into heat energy, which is transmitted to the air via convection and radiation.
How much does it cost to install central heating?
This varies, depending on factors such as the size of your home and the type of heating you choose. Ground source heat pumps are more expensive to install but can end up cheaper in the long run. The average cost of a full install is around £5000, while smaller jobs such as replacing only the boiler tend to be less expensive and will cost anywhere from £1,500 to £2,000. The location of your property may affect the labour costs as well.
How long should central heating take to install?
If you are having professionals do the installation for you, then expect it to take anywhere between 4 to 10 hours depending on the type of central heating and how complex the work may be. Make sure your home is prepared beforehand and that all the necessary items are ready.
Can I install my own central heating?
Yes, but you should only consider it if you have the right qualifications and experience. You have to be Gas Safe trained to install your central heating. A professional installer will ensure that your system is thermostatically controlled and constantly monitored for safety.