Heating Controls Guide
Many people are unaware that when it comes to heating your home efficiently, a full set of heating controls is just as essential as the right kind of boiler.
Heating controls, as the name implies, allow you to have ultimate control of your heating and hot water system. Using the appropriate controls, will enable you to control when your heating and hot water is switched on and off. Heating controls, allow you to make the most of your central heating system, allowing it to only ever be in use when necessary, this means a highly efficient home, and lower fuel bills.
A properly controlled heating system should typically have:
- Room Thermostat OR:
- Programmable Room Thermostat (Programmer and Thermostat combined)
- Cylinder Thermostat (only if your home has a regular conventional boiler with a separate hot water cylinder)
- Motorised Mid-Position or Zone Valves
- Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs).
The majority of boiler manufactures, such as Worcester, Vaillant and Glow-worm, actually manufacturer their own boiler controls, such as programmers and thermostats, which can be “plugged” into the fascia of the boiler itself, thus creating an easy and simple installation. These controls (if available) are listed under the boiler flues and accessories. Alternatively, if you do not wish to use the manufacturers own models, then PlumbNation offer a vast range programmers and thermostats, from the market leading manufacturers, Honeywell, Drayton, and Danfoss. They also manufacture Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRV’s), a popular choice being the Danfoss Ras-C2 TRV’s. These heating controls are compatible with all the boilers listed on PlumbNation’s website.
Having a Programmer installed will allow you to control when the heating and hot water is switched 'On' and 'Off, and therefore only allowing you to heat your home and hot water as and when necessary, saving you energy and money. Programmers are available as “single channel”, which only allows single control of the heating or hot water, or “Twin Channel” which enables separate control for heating and hot water. Programmers are also available as either 24 Hour, providing the same setting from day to day, 5/2 day options, enabling different setting for weekdays and weekends, or as 7 day options, similar to that of 5/2 day settings, but allows more flexibility if living patterns vary day by day.
Room Thermostats measure the air temperature around them, which enables them to regulate the heating system to constantly maintain the desired temperature. So when the temperature falls below the setting, the thermostat switches on the central heating and once the desired temperature is reached, it switches it off again. Room Thermostats are generally positioned in areas close to a home’s main living spaces, such as halls, stairs or landings. Thermostats will only work when a programmer or timer is switched on. For optimum energy saving, a Room Thermostat should be installed in the coldest room and TRV’s should be installed in every other room containing a radiator.
Programmable Room Thermostats
A Programmable Room Thermostat is a combined room thermostat and programmer. Programmable Room Thermostats therefore work in the same way, but allow you to control both time and temperature from one unit. You can programme your heating and hot water to switch on and off at various different times of the day, and also set the temperature at which you want your rooms heated.
Just as a Room Thermostat, a Cylinder Thermostat operates in the same way, only instead of central heating; it keeps a constant check on the temperature of the water in the hot water cylinder. The thermostat will switch the boiler on and off, in order to maintain the required water temperature. When the desired temperature is reached, the boiler will then rest if no other control is calling for heat, until some hot water is used, or the cylinder cools down naturally.
Wireless controls are generally required if your boiler is sited in an area that isn’t easily accessible, e.g. loft areas or garages. Wireless controls operate in the same way as hard wired controls, however, they require a separate receiver unit that transmit wireless signals from the main control unit, which is hard wired to an area within the household. Therefore if you boiler is located in the garage area, you will be able to control it from within the property. The added bonus of using wireless controls means there is no need to chase walls to conceal unsightly cables, when retro fitting to a pre-installed system.
For a more advanced controlled heating system, Wireless Controls, can offer more flexibility to control temperature in one or more locations of your choice. This is generally referred to as “Zoning”, where different rooms within your property can be individually controlled from one central control point. These kinds of Wireless controls are becoming increasingly popular, as it enables you to upgrade your system, with minimal disruption.
Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRV’s)
Thermostatic Radiator Valves are most commonly referred to as TRV’s. TRV’s can be fitted to radiators to give you ultimate control of your heating system. Thermostatic Radiator Valves, enable you to control the heat output from your radiators on a room by room basis. TRV’s actually work using a sensor that establishes the surrounding air temperature. It will close down the flow to the radiator, thereby cooling the radiator and generally regulating the room temperature.
TRV’s even allow you to set the room temperature that is required, you can even turn the TRV completely down, if you are not occupying the room in question, thus conserving energy and saving you money on your heating bills.
PlumbNation offer a range of TRV’s from the market leading manufacturers such as Danfoss, Honeywell and Drayton. Thermostatic Radiator Valves can be purchased individually, if you are looking to fit to an already installed radiator, or they can be purchased in a “Combi Pack”, which contains the TRV and Lockshield Valve (to close off the other end of the radiator). These are ideal if you are installing/replacing radiators, in your home.
Motorised Valves, are used to divert the flow of water from the boiler, to either the direct hot water cylinder, the central heating radiators, or both. Motorised Valves are available in either 22mm or 28mm, which is established by the size of your pipe work.
Two Port Motorised Valves
A Two Port Motorised Valve has 2 pipe connections (Inlet and Outlet ports) that permit or block flow between the ports depending on whether it is actuated or not. Flow is permitted when the valve is started (usually when the boiler is on) and blocked when the valve is off. Two Port Valves are only designed to control the flow for hot water or central heating, at one time. Two Port valves may also be referred to as Zone Valves.
Three Port Motorised Valves
Three Port Motorised Valves have 3 ports (one inlet and two outlet) and can divert the water flow to either or both of the outlet ports. This allows one Motorised Valve to control heating and hot water, instead of two separate (2 port) Motorised Valves. Most Three port Valves have a mid position option which allows flow to both circuits simultaneously, but some (diverter valves) allow flow to only one or the other at any one time. Three Port Valves are commonly referred to as Mid-Position Valves.
Control Packs are a cost effective and simple way to provide everything you need to ensure a fully controlled heating system. Control Packs generally consist of all the major components required to control your central heating system. Most Control Packs consist of Motorised Valves, Thermostats, and Programmers.
A variety of Control Packs are available here at PlumbNation from market leading manufacturers such as Honeywell, Danfoss, and Drayton.