How To Install Central Heating
The installation of central heating systems (CHS) can be a costly and time-consuming process. However, while it’s clearly important to hire a qualified gas heating engineer to fit the main gas line to your new boiler, it is possible to reduce costs by conducting the rest of the installation yourself.
To that end, the PlumbNation experts have assembled the following step-by-step guide to installing central heating.
Is It Difficult To Install Central Heating Yourself?
Installing a new heating system requires a high level of skill and understanding. This is due to the fact the vast majority of current home systems require connections to both gas and water mains while also utilising an interconnected network of hot and cold water pipes.
More to the point, the larger the task, the more complex it becomes. Difficulty also depends on the size of the project and how much of the existing pipework/system you plan to replace.
However, with sufficient experience and the correct equipment and support, installing your new central heating system is very achievable. You just need to be prepared.
What Will You Need To Install A Central Heating System?
Clearly, when installing a new system, you need a central unit to provide your heat. This is a boiler. With that in mind, you’ll need to choose a boiler that is appropriate for your property’s needs.
The output of regular boilers varies depending on their size and requires the use of, and therefore storage to accommodate, a hot water cylinder/tank.
Combi boilers are, perhaps, the most popular type of boiler available today. Here, the need for a hot water tank is removed as the combi heats water to demand directly from the mains water supply.
System boilers are slightly more environmentally-friendly than their conventional and combi boiler counterparts and thus, combined with lower long-term running costs, are becoming more and more popular.
That said, system boilers require a large amount of room in order to house both the body of the boiler and a large water tank. For this reason, they are best suited to larger properties with two or more bathrooms.
Biomass boilers are the most expensive heating system on our list, with professional fitting costing between £10,000 - £14,000. That said, once installed, owners of biomass boilers qualify for the Renewable Heat Incentive, whereby they can earn a fixed fee in return for every kWh of renewable energy they yield.
Moreover, biomass boilers are cited as carbon neutral as the burning of the biomass fuel emits and absorbs carbon dioxide in equal measure.
Liquid Petroleum Gas Boiler
More often associated with off-grid properties, liquid petroleum gas boilers (LPGs) require the owner to source and store their own supply of gas.
Just as the type of boiler you choose will impact the complexity and price of installing your new central heating system, so will how many radiators you choose and their style and size.
In general terms, the larger and more elaborate your radiators, the greater their cost. With that in mind, it’s important to choose your radiators based on your budget as well as their aesthetics.
There are countless heating controls available today, and, broadly speaking, the more intelligent and intuitive your controls, the more efficiently your system will run.
Therein, installing thermostatic radiator valves in each room as part of a smart thermostat system will enable you to tweak and control the temperature of each room at will. These can cost between £125 - £200 for each room and may also require a subscription.
However, if you’re happy to utilise more traditional heating controls, this will reduce the cost and energy-efficiency of your heating but cost less in the short term.
We’ve discussed a few of the required parts of your new heating system. However, depending on the type of boiler you choose, you may need to source a variety of additional parts to maintain its condition and efficiency. These may include:
- Cleaning solutions
- Hot water pipes
- And more.
Clearly, it’s important to acquire all the necessary tools required to install your new system before beginning installation. As such, once you have purchased your new boiler, you should also receive guidance regarding what tools are needed.
However, if you remain unsure, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the PlumbNation experts as we’re happy to provide advice and, indeed, the tools you need. To speak to us today, simply head over to our Contact Page.
Installing Central Heating: Step-by-Step Guide
So what does central heating installation involve? Read on for our step-by-step guide, which details everything you need to know.
Step 1: Create a central heating map
The first step is to create a map of your new system.
Therein, locate your new boiler in a position that allows easy access to mains hot water and gas supplies while also providing direct ventilation to the roof. When placing your radiators, make sure they are positioned as close to your windows as possible, as one of their main functions is to combat heat loss (through the windows).
Once complete, purchase all the necessary parts.
Step 2: Install the radiators
Make sure to install your new radiators between 4 and 6 inches from the floor. This provides sufficient room for valve installation and maintenance.
Additionally, to enable full control over water flow, each radiator’s flow connection should be fitted with a wheel valve and, likewise, each return connection with a lockshield valve.
Step 3: Lay the pipes
Once you have installed all of your radiators, measure the amount of piping you need to connect them to your boiler and proceed to lay it. Cheaper plastic pipes are becoming more commonplace, but we recommend using copper piping with capillary or compression joints.
Ensure that your pipes can vent to the radiators, as this will reduce the risk of airlocks.
Step 4: Set up the control system
To install your new control system, simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions provided with the device.
Step 5: Fit the boiler
Next, turn the hot water and gas off and follow the provided instructions to fit your boiler. For the gas connection, you must use a gas safe registered engineer to mitigate the inherent risks that gas presents.
Step 6: Commission the system
Finally, it’s time to commission the system:
- Close the radiator vents
- Flood the new system with water
- Activate the heating pump and re-vent the system
- Turn the boiler on and use the lockshield valves to balance the volume of water in each radiator.
Is it safe to install central heating myself?
Gas central heating installations carry an inherent risk due to their connection to a gas mains supply. As such, it’s important to utilise the services of a qualified gas heating engineer to ensure this element is fitted safely and securely.
Otherwise, with the proper knowledge and equipment, it is relatively safe to install your new system yourself.
How long does central heating installation take?
Installation can take anywhere between a few days to a few weeks depending on the size of the project and the ability of the installation team.
How much does central heating installation cost?
Central heating installation costs vary depending on the size of a project, the chosen system and the time it takes to complete. As such, we recommend shopping around to secure various quotes for your project before committing to having your boiler installed.
Where can I buy the parts for my central heating system?
Whether you’re installing underfloor heating, a new hot water storage tank or replacing your copper pipes, you can buy any parts you need through the PlumbNation store. We provide expert advice and thousands of premium parts at affordable prices.
So if you need a part, we’ve got you covered.