It is essential that you know how the system that heats your home works.
In an average home more than half of the money spends on fuel goes towards warming up the water. As fuel costs increase having an efficient system is very important. This can also help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide that your home is emitting. Newer houses have a central heat unit that includes a boiling device and a radiator. They are considered to be electric heating systems. Some houses will use a single heater that is separate from the main system.
A hot water unit is used to heat up the water that goes through the pipes to the home.
Many systems are powered by gasoline but they can also operate on different fuels including coal or wood. The gas systems is usually the least expensive and emits the least amount of carbon dioxide besides wood. Some homes also have a backup heater as well.
There are things that can be done to improve the energy efficiency of the central system used for providing heat.
- You can replace the system and install an energy-efficient model
- You can install better controls to make sure the system works the way you want it to
- You can switch to a new type of fuel and look for renewable fuel technology
- Insulate the home and fix any draughts
- Use a chemical inhibitor to help it operate more efficiently
Types of Hot Water Systems for Homes
Since 2005 all gas systems are more energy-efficient. Condensing systems have larger exchangers and get more heat from the material that they burn.
To tell if your system is condensing it has the following:
- The flue would be made of plastic. Metal it is not likely to be a condensing model.
- There is a plastic pipe running out of the bottom to the wall to a drain
- The gas unit was installed after 2005
- The oil burner was installed after 2007
A regular system will be more energy efficient than a combi hot water heater. Some systems lose heat from the water cylinder where a combi does not.
Many houses have a secondary source of heat or fires in addition to typical main sources. This is known as secondary heating. These sources can be used to heat up a smaller space. A secondary source can include:
- Portable units such as electric, convection, panel, or even fans
- Wall-mounted powered heaters
- Wood burning or fuel stoves
- Portable halogen heater
- Open fires
- Range cookers
- Gas fires
- Portable heaters
Smaller units can be used only in one room for a limited amount of time.
The central unit may not be enough and a secondary source can be used. Electric units are 100 per cent efficient but it is expensive to run. These units should only be used on an as-needed basis.
Wood or soil fuel stoves are more efficient at warming one room and emit less toxic gases.
Open fires can make the room warm but are not efficient. Many of the heat leaves the room through the chimney. It can also be a source of draughts when not in use.
Portable gas units operate on butane or oil. They need a lot of ventilation and release gases and water vapour that can make an unventilated room worse.