The Fascinating Future of Home Heating
Carbon reduction targets make us reconsider the impact our energy use has on the environment. The way we heat our homes is looking to change in the not so distant future.
The UK is aiming to phase out gas and oil boilers by 2050. Installing them in new homes from 2025 will be illegal. Completely phasing out the main method we have used for heating for decades may seem like a tall order.
What will take its place? There are some interesting ideas in store for the future of home heating.
It has been reported that households need electric or hydrogen boilers. To ensure the country hits these carbon targets at the lowest possible cost. While electricity suppliers are switching to low-carbon sources, the vast majority of homes have a reliance on fossil fuels to heat homes.
According to the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the public is largely unaware of the alternatives to traditional methods of heating. So, what are some of the other ways you can continue to heat your home and reduce your carbon footprint?
Thermal stores save heat for later use, with the energy from the solid fuel appliance feeding into the thermal store which also provides the water that circulates around the heating system. This means the energy available can be used to power the heating circuit and decreases the dependency on fossil fuels.
At HEATWEB, we’ve been manufacturing standard and bespoke thermal stores since the 1980s. Decades of experience means you can expect the finest quality product and follow-up servicing. An example of one of our thermal stores is the HEATBANK Pandora.
The Pandora can supply potable domestic hot water at up to 10 bar pressure, and flow rates of over 35 litres per minute. It also:
- Doesn’t require discharge pipes
- Has smaller primary supply pipework
- Controls the amount of water heated
- Has cooler pipework
- Returns lower temperatures to the boiler
- Backs up both hot water and central heating with immersion heaters
- Stores water at atmospheric pressure with a vent to the atmosphere
- Doesn’t suffer from limescale build-up
- Supplied with components and controls fitted.
Heat Interface Units
Heat Interface Units (HIUs) provide hot water and heating for domestic properties. Connected to a district heating network with a central boiler. HIUs present the advantage of removing the gas boiler from a property, helping to reduce the dependence on a less efficient method of heating.
The heat networks are only as efficient as the HIUs that they connect to. Which is why we proudly present the UK’s most efficient HIUs. This has been demonstrated through independent testing by DECC and BESA.
Our HIUs offer:
- Moulded EPP insulation to reduce the rate of heat loss
- An economy mode that de-activates after a defined period of inactivity
- An advanced heat exchanger design to further reduce heat loss
- Unique moulded security clips and caps make it impossible to access the HIU casing and components without breaking.
Enjoy a More Efficient Home Heating System with Our Help
HEATWEB offers both heat interface units and thermal stores for domestic customers to reduce their heating bills and carbon footprint. HEATWEB is the only thermal store manufacturer who is recommended by most wood burner manufacturers. You’ll receive a system designed by some of the industry’s leading experts, who are drawing on the experience of thousands of successful multi-fuel installations. The one-year on-site cover is also provided for extra peace of mind.
Get in touch with us today to get started with your new thermal store or heat interface unit today. Our friendly team is always on hand to help with any questions you have about our products and services. You can also find our heat network calculator here, which is a helpful tool for analysing the efficiency of a district heating network.
Smart Heating Controls Explained
Smartphones, smartwatches and even smart key chains are continuing to transform life as we know it.
This is why the idea of equipping a home or office with smart heating controls should not seem entirely unknown. These unique systems will allow consumers to save a great deal of money on their energy bills while also enjoying a more comfortable environment throughout the year. What are some of the main principles behind multi-zone heating control systems and why are they becoming so popular? Let’s take a look at how these networks work.
The Main Components of a Smart Heating System
Smart heating controls consist of three elements:
- A component that directly connects to the boiler/heating appliance.
- A smart thermostat links to a wireless Internet service.
- A mobile phone application.
The main aim of this integrated system is to provide the property owner with greater control over the temperatures within a particular area. However, this is only the beginning.
The Wireless Edge
The most unique feature of this heating system is remote access. The user will simply open the application to gather instant data, such as the temperature or even the humidity. Using the app you can make adjustments. This concept has become known as the Internet of Things. This refers to the ability to link various real-world systems into a digital interface, to enjoy more precision and efficiency.
What Other Functions Can Smart Heating Controls Offer?
The intuitive nature of these systems is quite impressive. Some smart thermostats are able to adjust the heat within a home or building based upon exterior temperature changes. Systems can sense which rooms are associated with occupants. To increase or decrease the heat to suit. There are times when a programmable thermostat will automatically activate when the owner is a certain distance from home (such as returning from work). He or she will then arrive in a comfortable and welcoming environment.
The Role of Customisation
These systems can be personalised in order to address specific concerns and so less energy will be wasted. There may also be times when other elements such as humidifiers and voice-activated hardware, including Amazon Alexa, can be linked together. This allows for an even more seamless form of interaction. Ultimately, many of these networks will eventually pay for themselves thanks to the money that is saved on an annual basis. Not only is this excellent for the customer, but a lower carbon footprint due to decreased energy consumption will also help the environment.
Smart home heating systems are now becoming very popular. They are perfect for domestic and commercial locations. If you would like to find out more about smart heating controls and the options available to you, please do not hesitate to contact our team at HEATWEB.
Low Carbon Heating Systems
As residential, commercial and industrial buildings work to reduce their carbon footprint, they need to determine the kind of low carbon heating system they will use. Residential buildings alone need to reduce carbon emissions by 25% as per the Code for Sustainable Homes Level 3. At the same time, large buildings like hospitals and offices that were once powered by oil and gas need to find an equal carbon natural power source.
Fortunately, there are a few low carbon heating systems out there worth looking at. So, what are these systems, how do they work, and what benefits can they provide?
Types of Low Carbon Heating Systems
When it comes to lowering your carbon footprint, there are a few options:
- Biomass – Biomass systems, also known as wood-fuelled systems, involve burning logs, pellets and other wood products to create heat. This is one of the simplest systems around, although for it to be carbon neutral the amount of CO2 it creates must be less than or equal to the amount captured by regrown trees.
- Heat Pumps – Heat pumps draw power from cold sources in the ground or the air then turn it into heat. While they do run on electricity and are not fully carbon-neutral, they produce less carbon emissions than natural gas. Another benefit is they can produce heat year-round and can be used for air conditioning in warm weather.
- Solar Thermal – Solar thermal systems take energy directly from the sun and convert it into heat. The heat is used for hot water systems and the like, with any surplus heat stored for later use. In addition to being more eco-friendly, this system offers better heating than oil or gas which can incur heat loss.
- Combined Heat and Power (CHP) – CHP systems use existing power systems to generate both electricity and heat for a single building. While not entirely carbon neutral they do, however, lessen reliance on emission-producing systems.
Benefits of Low Carbon Heating Systems
The benefits of installing these systems over traditional heating systems are:
- They create fewer carbon emissions: over 70% less than gas heating and 80% less than standard air conditioning.
- They have lower running costs long term, plus they save money by storing heat in thermal stores for later use.
- There is less maintenance required overall and they often have reliably long life spans.
- They are safer to use and install compared to gas systems.
- They provide more efficient heating and cooling systems with little to no heat loss.
About Thermal Integration
As experts in the field of low carbon heating systems, we at Thermal Integration have the knowledge and expertise to provide you with the best system for your needs. We offer a range of heating cylinders, thermal stores and heat interface units that can provide the solution you need for any home or business installation planning.
To find out more about what we offer speak to us online or contact our friendly and professional team via phone. For high quality and eco-friendly heating contact Thermal Integration today!
What is a Thermal Store?
What is a thermal store? Sometimes known as a thermal bank, the main principle behind this system is to enable excess energy to be stored for hours or even days at a time. The main intention is to provide a viable source of heating in order to balance one’s energy demand. Fully understanding what a thermal store is involves how this type of mechanism functions as well as understanding its main benefits. While there are many articles entitled “what is a thermal store?”, only a few break the concept down for those who might not have a great deal of technical experience. Let’s take a closer look.
What is a Thermal Store?
A thermal store is a large store of water that can be heated by multiple heat sources depending on the intended application. Some common examples include:
- Solar energy storage.
- Ground-source heat pumps.
- Electric thermal storage heaters
- Hot water storage cylinders
As hot water thermal storage cylinders are often used to exchange heat to domestic hot water within domestic and commercial settings, these systems will be the focus of this article. So, what is a thermal store in relation to everyday heating tasks?
A Look at a Typical Water Thermal Storage Tank
There are two common varieties of hot water thermal store. The first utilises a coil within the thermal store while the second uses an externally mounted plate heat exchanger.
In the first example, a hot water coil will pass through the store of hot water. The water contained within this coil then absorbs the heat from the store; allowing it to be used as an immediate source of domestic hot water.
External plate heat exchanger systems are slightly more complicated and they involve directing mains cold water through a flow switch and towards the plate heat exchanger. The flow switch activates a pump which circulates water from the store around the other side of the plate heat exchanger, heating the incoming cold water to create domestic hot water. The main benefit here is that while there are more components, this variety tends to be much more efficient than the coil-based alternative, and the plate heat exchanger can easily be replaced, when a coil cannot.
What is a Thermal Store in Relation to User Benefits?
One of the main benefits is that less mains electricity will be needed to obtain an immediate source of hot water. In addition, it is possible to link multiple systems together (such as a solar heating pump and a wood-burning stove). Therefore, hot water can be obtained quicker when compared to other methods such as activating a standard boiler.
To find out more, please feel free to get in touch with a member of our team at Thermal Integration.
Types of Domestic Hot Water System
There are a few different domestic hot water system types available for a home. These systems are able to work in conjunction with top water heater brands such as Hyco and Bandini. This superior sense of flexibility also allows you to choose the correct system based on very discrete metrics such as the size of the dwelling and the most appropriate type of water heater installation. Let’s take a look at some of the most common domestic systems as well as the advantages that each one has to offer.
Instantaneous Domestic Hot Water System
This type of domestic hot water system will provide you with on-demand heat thanks to the presence of electric heaters and combination boilers. As you might have already guessed, you will be provided with a continuous flow of hot water. The rate of consumption is likewise limited by your fuel supply.
Stored Heat Systems
One of the main benefits of stored heat systems is that they have the ability to offer a higher supply of hot water. This is due to the fact that the heat itself is stored for an extended amount of time. These configurations can also be used in conjunction with existing water heater installations such as solar or gas-powered options. However, you should keep in mind that any excess hot water not used will eventually go cold.
A Mains Pressure Domestic Hot Water System
If you have a smaller home, you may choose this type of domestic hot water system. This is because the presence of apparatus such as a combination boiler is not needed. Sometimes referred to as “dry loft” configurations, mains networks are known for their high levels of pressure. This is often an advantage if monobloc taps are installed or when dealing with upper floors (such as attics). If you have been concerned about tankless water heater costs, mains supplies are a good idea.
Low Pressure Stored Water Systems
In this case, a storage tank is located in the attic or on an upper floor. The tank supplies a separate hot water cylinder. Low pressure systems have the advantage of not being susceptible to fluctuations in the mains water supply. In fact, they can even function for a period of time if the mains water happens to be cut off. The only possible drawback is that their relatively low pressure may require the use of a separate pump when sending water to the upper floors of a home.
As we can see, there are a number of hot water systems to consider. This is why taking into account other aspects such as the price of a water heater installation, the available water heater brands and the associated pressure are important to look at. Of course, the team at Thermal Integration supplies only the latest configurations at highly competitive prices. Whether you want to learn more about tankless water heater costs or your home needs a total upgrade in the near future, we are always here to help. Please give us a call to speak with a member of our team.
The Best Commercial Heating Systems
What is the best way to heat a commercial building? There are a number of different types of heating systems and each system is associated with its own set of unique benefits. Still, the main intention is always the same. Commercial heating systems aim to provide a viable source of warmth in the most efficient way possible. If you hope to choose the best system for your property, it is wise to take a look at the information below.
The Different Types of Commercial Heating Systems
Heating systems come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Here are some of the most common systems used today:
- Steam heating systems.
- Heating systems which utilise water.
- Natural energy commercial heating systems.
- Heat pumps.
Steam & Water Heating Systems
Many traditional commercial heating systems use either steam or water to drive their internal processes. In either case, a boiler will first heat the steam or water. These elements are then passed on to nearby mechanisms such as a radiator via a series of pipes. One of the only drawbacks to these types of heating systems is that they are not the most efficient. It takes time to boil water to produce steam and other units may require the air to be cleansed before they begin to function; wasting a slight amount of energy.
Natural Energy Heating Systems
One of the most recent commercial heating systems to enter into the marketplace involves the use of sustainable energy. They are quite beneficial due to the fact that they are highly efficient and will therefore help to reduce your energy consumption over time. These configurations also boast an environmentally friendly edge; an obvious concern in this day and age. Still, we should mention that systems powered by renewable sources tend to be more costly to install and maintain.
Heat pumps are a final variant to mention. These commercial energy systems essentially extract warmth from the air and then recirculate throughout a given area. One main advantage with this method is that it does not require any type of additional fuel. In addition, heat pumps are also very cost-effective alternatives to more traditional methods. The only possible drawbacks are that a backup generator may be needed in the event that the air becomes too cold and that heat pumps are generally not chosen for properties associated with a colder climate.
These are some of the best choices if you have been curious to learn more about the types of commercial heating systems on the market. You will be pleased to know that Thermal Integration provides some of the most cutting-edge commercial heating systems on the market today. Furthermore, we are more than happy to explain why it is important to upgrade your property in order to embrace a modern edge. If you would like to speak with a member of our team, please take a moment to fill out our short enquiry form. Our heating options will never leave you out in the cold.
What is a Plate Heat Exchanger?
A plate heat exchanger is a device that enables the heat emanating from one liquid to cool or heat another. A basic law of physics states that heat leaves the hottest fluid and transfers to the colder fluid. Basically, that is what a plate heat exchanger is all about.
What is a plate heat exchanger design?
The design is simple and resembles a sandwich. It comprises two, usually rectangular, plates (the slices of bread) in which the two different liquids are stored, on top of each other, separated by a thin, highly conductive wall (the sandwich filling). Plate heat exchangers come in many different sizes. Those that deploy gaskets as a means of stopping leakage can usually facilitate the addition of additional plates and may be cleaned by dismantling each plate; in welded or brazed exchangers, it is not possible to add additional plates, and the entire unit can be removed for cleaning off-site.
Plate heat exchanger calculation
If you are installing a plate heat exchanger, you need to know whether it will provide the performance you need. You may therefore need to do some calculations which are quite complex. The calculation needs to take in a number of factors, including:
- Heat load
- The temperatures that the heat enters and leaves the plates
- The flow rate on both sides of the plates
If this sounds technical, don’t panic, there are applications available on the Internet that will help you with the calculation.
Types of heat exchangers
There are other types of heat exchangers in addition to plate heat exchangers. Shell and tube heat exchangers comprise a number of tubes, brigaded in bundles within a cylinder. The tubes contain hot and cold fluids which work in a similar way to how a plate heat exchanger operates. Shell and tube exchangers are favoured in the marine industry because they are easy to maintain even though they are not as efficient as plate heat exchangers.
Air exchangers, as the name suggests, use air as the cooling medium. Air exchangers have a wide application in the vehicle industry, in military vehicles, agricultural machinery and diesel and petrol engines.
Finned tube exchangers are an enhanced version of shell and tube exchangers where fins are added to each tube, significantly increasing the surface area.
It is worth remembering that of all heat exchangers, flat plate heat exchangers are regarded as the most efficient; the fact that plate heat exchange works on the basis of counter-current flow rather than co-current flow is a primary factor in this. There are different types of plate exchangers that offer different benefits depending on what you are using the exchanger for. These include vacuum brazed, dip brazed, and welded.
A final word
A detailed introduction to heat exchangers, their designs and applications would take many pages. I hope that I will have at least covered first-base for those thinking about their heat exchanger requirements and that I have answered the question, what is a plate heat exchanger?
What is Energy Heating?
When we talk about energy heating, we often think of it in terms of how cold or hot something is. But while an object such as an iceberg will feel cold to us, in truth, it will contain a lot of heat energy. Therefore, while temperature measures how cold or hot something is, heat instead measures the amount of energy within. So, how does energy heating work and how can it make heating more efficient and sustainable? Here is everything you need to know about energy heating.
What Is Kinetic Energy?
Within each object there are molecules moving around and bumping into each other. This process is referred to as kinetic energy. As the object or substance heats up, the faster the molecules move around. Eventually the heat will cause the molecules to break apart, turning solids to liquids and liquids to gas. On the opposite scale, freezing an object or substance will cause the molecules to move slower and become closer together. This is the process that turns liquid into ice, and at certain temperatures, gas into liquid. Because it is virtually impossible to reach absolute freezing temperatures, all objects retain a certain amount of kinetic energy. Therefore, as cold as an iceberg is, it can contain a lot of heating energy due to its massive size.
How Does Heat Transfer?
Another aspect of energy heating to discuss is the concept of entropy, or the second law of thermodynamics. Basically, heat will always flow from hot temperatures to cold ones. This is why ice melts on warm days, or hot coffee cools at room temperature. We can recognise this when trying to heat our homes in winter: the colder it is outside, the more heat escapes, in turn this leads to more energy usage and higher bills. To reduce this, we need to understand the three types of heat transfer: conduction, convection, and radiation. Conduction is where heat flows from a hotter solid object to a colder one. Convection is where heat circulates through a liquid or gas until the cold air or liquid is replaced. Radiation is where heat is carried directly to you through electromagnetism, such as the sun’s rays.
How Understanding Heat Energy Helps
Looking at heat energy and transfer shows us how to effectively use energy heating to heat our homes. Solids such as metals tend to have low heat capacities, meaning convection takes place, but they do not retain heat for long. Therefore, choosing a metal like copper for conducting heat works well. Water has a high level of heat capacity compared to air, which works well for convection. Finally, insulation can help prevent the escape of heat through convection or radiation. As such, this type of energy works best for industries and homes that want to be more efficient when it comes to heating and cooling.
For over 40 years, Thermal Integration have been the market leader when it comes to efficient heating solutions. Now trading as HEATWEB, we offer a range of heating services including free calculators, training and more. To find out more about our range of services, we invite you to get in touch with us today.
Geothermal Heating and Cooling
Geothermal heating and cooling systems for homes have grown in popularity over the years for a number of reasons. They are a natural source of energy that is both efficient, sustainable and eco-friendly. In addition, the temperature of these sources remain constant throughout the year; this means you can use them to supply or reduce heating as needed. Also, their reliability, efficiency and low maintenance needs make them a great investment. With that said, how were geothermal heating and cooling systems discovered? Who developed them into the technology we see today? Let us take a look at some of the history behind this technology as well as their types and benefits.
The History of Geothermal Heating and Cooling
Geothermal systems have been around for thousands of years. The Qin dynasty in ancient China built hot spring spas as far back as the 3rd century BCE. A few hundred years later, the Romans popularised this energy for heating rooms and public baths. For modern geothermal systems, there are several inventors who have helped develop them into what they are today. William Thomson, the future Lord Kelvin, invented the heat pump in 1852. This would become one of the primary tools used for modern systems.
In 1912, Mexican-Swiss engineer Heinrich Zoelly used Thomson’s pump to patent an invention that would draw heat from the earth. This would become the basis for the modern geothermal system used today. During the 1940s, several inventors such as Robert Webber, J. Donald Kroeker and Carl Nielsen came up with their own unique systems that are in use today.
Types of Geothermal Systems
All geothermal heating and cooling systems use underground pipes to exchange heat as needed. The design of these exchangers determines what type of system is used:
- Closed Loop Systems are the most common type of geothermal system. It uses water and a refrigerant such as anti freeze as a medium within the heat exchange coils. This medium remains inside the system and there is no requirement to replenish this fluid on a regular basis. These exchangers can take the form of vertical pipes drilled straight down (vertical loops), horizontally orientated within a trench (horizontal loops), or overlapping with coil-like pipes (slinky loops). In some cases the pipes can be installed beneath water sources, such as ponds (pond loops). In such cases the water source needs to be deep enough so the temperature will not be affected.
- Open Loop Systems are a much simpler type of geothermal system. These draw heated water from an underground source which passes through the exchangers and heat pump. It discharges the used water back into the original water source away from the water intake. These systems are reliant on having access to a clean supply of water. Also, in many cases the system will need to treat the water before discharging it.
Benefits of Geothermal Heating and Cooling Systems
- Geothermal systems are much more energy efficient than other heating and cooling systems. They can reduce energy costs in the home up to 50%.
- There are less parts that you need to take care of. This means the system is easier to maintain and more convenient to run.
- Regular heating and cooling systems can last between 10 and 15 years. However, geothermal systems are very durable and can last anywhere between 20 and 50 years.
Thermal Integration has links to the innovative Spartan ET50/100 which was launched back in the early 1980s. Since then our company has been at the forefront of designing high quality thermal technology. Now trading as HEATWEB, we have become market leaders in the industry. We offer a range of services including free calculators, design solutions, training, monitoring and more. So, to find out more about our thermal services, we invite you to contact us online or via phone today.
Communal Heating Systems for Flats
Whether you are a landlord or a tenant there are many benefits to using communal heating systems for flats. A communal heating system is one that supplies heat to all tenants from a central heat source. This type of system can help cut down energy needs and can also reduce carbon emissions through the use of renewable energy. There are a number of products and services that can help you achieve a reliable heating system. Here are some of the available types of communal heating systems for flats, and their benefits.
Types of Communal Heating Systems
There are five main communal heating systems for flats available:
- Type One systems are ones that provide heating only. Boilers run for 18 hours each day between 6 am and 12 midnight during the colder months of September through March. The boilers can also be optimised to increase the temperature before 6 am during any sudden cold snaps.
- Type Two systems provide 18 hours of regular heating until midnight, at which point they shut off. These run on an “optimum start” system that allows them to begin warming up at 3 am ready to provide the ideal temperature at 6 am. Also, they will continue to provide hot water throughout the year.
- Type Three systems are similar to Type Two except that they do not shut off at 12 midnight. Instead, these systems run at a reduced temperature overnight. These systems also have the optimum start and hot water capabilities found in Type Two systems.
- Type Four systems do not shut off overnight and are available to run fully for 24 hours. These systems will also continue to offer hot water throughout the year as needed.
- Type Five systems allow the tenant to have control over the level of heating and hot water in their flat. Tenants receive a heating card when they sign the agreement and can purchase heating credits from the supplier. By inserting the card into the control interface they can use as much credit for heating and hot water as needed.
For systems One through Four you can control the level of heating supplied by adjusting your thermostatic radiator valve (TRV) or room thermostat. A separate thermostat is available for hot water if no storage cylinders are supplied.
Benefits of Communal Heating Systems for Flats
There are several benefits for both landlords and tenants when it comes to communal heating systems for flats. The benefits for tenants include:
- An efficient and reliable central heating system.
- Instant hot water from the mains.
- No need to maintain gas appliances or cylinders.
For landlords the benefits include:
- The ability to monitor heating usage for each tenant from any location.
- The ability to control the amount of central heating from anywhere.
- Instant alerts that can be sent to mobile devices.
- Free software for monitoring communal heating.
Here at HEATWEB we offer a range of services to help you install a variety of high quality heating systems. We offer advice and assistance right from the design stage, and can also provide a range of products and training services. HEATWEB is the trading name of Thermal Integration, a brand with over 40 years of experience in the heating industry. To find out more about our range of services, we invite you to contact us online or via phone today.