Central Heating – What’s The Right System For You?
When it comes to choosing a central heating system, it pays to be informed. Heating your home, especially in colder climates, is of huge importance to not only personal health, but also the health of the building and your bank balance.
With various types of central heating available, each offering different benefits, let’s look at three of the most common: gas, oil and LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas). All three are ideal for home heating needs – central heating, water, fires, ovens and cookers, but vary in suitability, installation and efficiency.
Gas is the most common type of central heating system. Also known as a “wet system”, a gas-fired boiler heats up the water which is then pumped round the radiators, one, sometimes two in each room, as well as providing hot water for taps. It is probably the most affordable system, and is also safe and reliable if serviced often.
Gas central heating is highly efficient and offers a good return on units of energy used. Efficiency does depend on radiator type, however, with the two most common types being cast iron and aluminium. Radiators made from cast iron are the best option because they retain heat well and continue to disperse it long after the heating is turned off.
The efficiency of gas systems must be weighed against other factors, however. Gas prices are increasing as the supply gets scarcer. But if your property is unfit for on-site storage of fuels, and you already have a gas supply, it may be your only option, and if your home is not already connected to the gas network, connection can be costly and disruptive.
Oil heating systems are viable if your property is not connected to mains gas or live in rural areas. They operate similarly to gas systems as the fuel heats the water which is then pumped round the home, and should have the same thermostatic controls and timers. The biggest difference is that the oil needs to be stored in a tank, which can be over or underground, and fresh supplies delivered.
Like natural gas, oil is very efficient, giving a good return for energy used. Some manufacturers claim 97% efficiency*, which is good from both heating and money-saving points of view.
One main misconception about oil central heating is that it is smelly. This may have been the case with older steel tanks, which are prone to corrosion if not cleaned out regularly, but most modern tanks are made from plastic, extremely hard wearing and virtually odour free.
LPG has a growing popularity when it comes to choosing a central heating system. From a green point of view, compared to other fossil fuels, LPG has the lowest level of carbon emissions, poses no pollution threat to the soil or water, and burns very cleanly with few emissions.
Like oil systems, the fuel needs to be stored in tanks or cylinders, which makes it a more viable option for rural properties or properties with plenty of land storage space, although LPG tanks are usually stored underground, which means minimal impact on the look of the land. Also, tank installation is cheaper than oil tank installation.
Making the Choice
When you choose a central heating system, become informed, weigh up the pros and cons of each system, contact experienced and reputable heating installation company for advice and quotation, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you have the right system for your home; one that is efficient and cost effective.