How Modern Central Heating Systems Work?

26 Apr. 2019

Written by Neil Marsh MCIPHE RP RHP EngTech

Central heating installation takes a high level of knowledge and skill to design so that it operates safely, effectively and efficiently. This is by no means something a layman should attempt by themselves … This guide we have put together so people can better understand the basic principles behind how a modern central heating system works, however, should you need a central heating installation in Gloucester, Cheltenham, Tewkesbury, Stroud or the surrounding areas, it would be advisable to contact ourselves than take risks with DIY or rogue installations.

Modern central heating systems are what is known as a “two pipe systems”. These systems are fully pumped, which means that the circulation of water within the central heating circuit is pumped.

The design of a two pipe system allows water to circulate to all the radiators which are turned on, and by turning a radiator off, it has no adverse effect on the other heaters. Wet underfloor heating also works from a two pipe central heating system. 

With this central heating system configuration heat is provided throughout all the radiators, towel rails and underfloor heating equally, so long as it is installed correctly and the system is “balanced”. 

Each heat emitter has an inlet and outlet. One side is for user control, which is typically fitted with/to thermostats depending on what type of heat emitter it is, the other is for balancing that part of the system.  For radiators, this is usually done with a thermostatic radiator valve (TRV) and lockshield, however bypass radiator may have two lock shields fitted, and older radiators may have wheel-head valves instead of TRVs. 

Hot water is produced by a heat source, such as a boiler, which runs on a variety of fuels. The two pipe system transports the water around the system, with a pump being the method to circulate the water. 

A modern central heating system is a combination of electro-mechanical equipment that uses water to transport heat to heat specific areas of the system. 

Depending on the system, there may be a series of controls and one or more hot water storage vessels. Controls consist of electronic times and switches that trigger the boiler to fire and pump to circulate, and can also be used to engage motorised valves which are used to control the flow of water to different aspects of the system. Thermostats are also controls that are installed with the other components for better heat regulation of the heating and hot water (where applicable).

Central heating systems can be very complex, for which many so-called central heating ‘engineers’ do not know how they fully work, how to install them correctly or how to fix them. That may sound crazy, but sadly it is true.  To become a competent heating engineer takes more than just a few years of college, it requires years of varied hands-on experience, a good ability to problem solve and a minimum level of intelligence. Many heating ‘engineers’ are lacking on one or more of these. 

We are a high quality and proven central heating installation company who has a large number of reviews to back up our work. If you would like a quote for a central heating installation in Cheltenham, Gloucester or within the county of Gloucestershire, contact us for a highly competitive and professional quote.