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We service all makes and models, commercial and residential. We are boiler experts, we also do snow melt applications. Call for details.

Saving Energy: Heating

Maintaining Your Systems – Boilers & Radiators

A boiler system can be an efficient way to heat your house - if you know how to use your equipment effectively.


Radiators usually aren't the most attractive element in the room, so most people try to disguise or hide them. But this can significantly reduce the amount of heat that reaches the room.

Air needs to circulate underneath the radiator, so avoid pushing furniture up against the radiator or covering it draperies. If you like to have a shelf or cabinet around your radiator, make it easy to remove during the heating season.

If you paint your radiator, be sure to use the right kind of paint - choose one that's made specifically for "high-heat" applications. Otherwise it may crack or peel within a few days. Keep in mind that multiple layers of paint can also cut down on the amount of heat that reaches the room.

There is an easy way to improve the efficiency of your radiators - just add a reflecting panel behind it. You can purchase them at a home center or hardware store, or you can fashion your own with a piece of plywood and a smooth sheet of aluminum foil.

Adjusting radiator

Maintenance and safety

Boiler systems need regular maintenance to keep them operating efficiently. There is a danger of scalding or steam burns when working around a boiler system, so maintenance should be left to professionals.

And if you have small children in your family, be sure to watch them closely around the radiators. You might want to wrap foam pipe insulation around pipes and valves for added safety.

Adjusting boiler

Water Central Heating - the boiler

This page explains the boiler systems

The two main boiler arrangements are:

  • Open vented systems
  • Sealed systems

Vented central heating boilerOpen vented  systems

This basic design works well and is usually used where a hot water cylinder is used to store the domestic hot water. The system works at natural atmospheric pressure as the feed/expansion tank is open to the air.

The feed/expansion tank is fitted high up above the rest of the system, often in the loft. The tank is fitted with a ball valve so that any water lost due to evaporation etc. is automatically replaced, the tank also allows for the water in the system to expand when it is heated, the ball valve need to be set very low so that the expanded water does not cause an overflow. The tank also allows for any water vented from the system up the vent pipe to be recovered, the vent pipe is connected from near the boiler and is bent over the tank.

From the tank, the water is fed down to connect into the system near to the boiler.

Sealed central heating boilerSealed System

A sealed system normally operates at a pressure of about 1 Bar above atmospheric pressure, this pressure is achieved by a filling loop connected from the mains water supply to the system. A stop cock in the link allows for the system to be pressurised as required. Once pressurised, the system should retain its pressure unless the radiators are bleed or there is a leak in the system.

To avoid potential damage by excess pressure within the system (which normally will only occur if there is a fault in the system), a safety relief valve is incorporated so that any excess pressure is vented to atmosphere.

It is not generally practical to use an additive in sealed systems as there is no way for it to be added. In hard water areas various devices may be fitted in the feed to the filling loop to soften the water as it is added to the pressurised circuit. Such a softening device should reduce lime scale build-up in the system.

A lot of boilers are designed specifically for sealed systems and incorporate the boiler, controls, expansion vessel, pressure gauge & relief valve all within one casing. However all the various parts are available separately and it may be necessary to use separate components for large volume systems where the size of the expansion vessel needs to be relatively large.

It should be noted that not all boilers are suitable for connecting to sealed systems, the manufacturers technical details must always be consulted before using a boiler in a sealed system.


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