Switch on to Heating System Efficiency

September 14, 2016

Historically many within the heating industry have seen September as the start of the heating season and as a result, the start of the breakdown and system failure calls. Here Richard Sharp at Xylem advises on those added extras that can make a big difference to system efficiency but also keep you front of mind with homeowners throughout the year.


In 2013, September saw temperatures across the UK peak at 30C, but then in 2014 it was the coolest September since 1994, according to the Met Office. Of course temperature is a personal thing and not everyone will want heating on at the same time, but as many installers know when the mercury truly begins to fall that’s when the flood gates traditionally open with breakdown calls and system failures.


With the diary filling up with appointments, now is the time to add that extra value for customers bringing in new potential business opportunities throughout the year.


  1. Simple system efficiency techniques

For installers and heating engineers, understanding radiator temperatures and what it means comes as second nature, but for homeowners, knowledge may be minimal. Explaining how to do simple jobs such as radiator bleeding and when to cool, can help save time in the long run and households a call-out fee.


Another easy way to continue the smooth running of a boiler is to start it up at least once a month while it’s switched off. This will help alert homeowners of any issues prior to the weather turning colder and will also ensure there is no build-up of dust and grit. Corrosion in the pipework, can lead to the build-up of unwanted particles which can result in a blockage and ultimately impact the efficiency of the pump. Many heating systems now have a timer, so this can be set to go off at monthly intervals as a reminder.


Also, consider outlining issues such as magnetite and sludge build-up, so they know what to look for. When the time comes and the system needs a flush, they will look to you for advice and to complete the job.


  1. Upgrade the circulator pump

Most customers are unfamiliar with circulator pumps, or central heating pumps as they are often known, and their purpose in a heating system. However, if installers and engineers can explain the potential savings that can be made by replacing the pump, it opens up a new revenue stream.


Considering that a traditional fixed 3-speed circulator, with an induction motor, requires approximately 65W of power in order to operate. A modern circulator pump follows the system curve much more efficiently and can therefore reduce the maximum power consumption to between 4 and 35W – saving homes money and potentially between 50 to 70% of energy costs.


High efficiency circulator pumps, such as the Lowara Ecocirc range, can offer a number of benefits including, low cost of operation and ease of use. The Lowara Ecocirc XL, for example, has over 120 versions, ensuring simple selection and replacement of existing pump equipment. The latest additions to the Ecocirc XL and Ecocirc XL Plus also come with the introduction of 4 and 6 metre head models in both cast iron and stainless steel pump housing a variety of heating applications.


  1. Boosting water in apartment blocks, have you considered a VSD?

Another consideration, ideally suited to the domestic environment, is the installation of variable speed drive to reduce the amount of energy consumed by the water booster set.


Larger households are a perfect example of how a variable speed drive can help improve efficiencies. For the majority of homes, demand for water rises during morning and in the evening, but falls off completely during working hours in the day. A variable speed drive such as the Hydrovar, can be simply retrofitted to any existing booster set, this is quick and easy to install and through electronic communication, ensures energy consumption is in-line with demand - saving money once again.


Our advice is simple; explain the basics to customers, monitor system performance and don’t be afraid to offer alternative options and additional services that will keep you front of mind for all future work. It could help you keep a steady flow of work throughout the year as well as an income boost on existing jobs.  


For more information on Lowara domestic pumps call 01297 630 200, visit www.lowara.co.uk or view our handy videos on YouTube.

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