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How much will it cost to run?

Manufactures such as Dimplex, Creda, Consort Claudgen and DeLonghi will not provide detailed information on running costs because there are so many variables to consider – what electricity tariff will be used, how long the heater will be on for, what setting the thermostat will be on, etc – all these factors need to be taken into account when working out the running cost of a heating system.

A great tool is this calculator which can help work out how much it costs to run household appliances

Types of heaters

Radiant Heaters
Provide heat directly to the room and tend to warm people and objects in the room faster than the air itself.  They are therefore most appropriate for rooms that are poorly insulated, drafty or rooms with high ceilings.

Examples of radiant heaters:

    Oil-filled Radiators - a popular solution because once the oil has beenwarmed up the electricity consumption stops and the oil retains theheat for a long time.   There is no fan and therefore they arevirtually silent and create no dust, they have the same radiant heatbenefits of the halogen heater below.  A popular solution for themajority of applications.

    Halogen Heaters - Provide a warm glow which makes one warm just by looking at it!  The heat is a radiant heat similar to the sun which warms up the body faster than other forms of heat, this makes them especially useful in a cold conservatory or workshop.  The warm glow should stop children from touching it and a safety cut out turns the units off when and if they are knocked off.  The light weight make them popular with the elderly.

Convection Heaters

The air is past over an element warm up and then circulated back into the room, either with or without a fan.

Examples of convection heater:

    Fan heaters - provide instant heat and warmth, especially if you are in the direct line of the fan.  Small in size so can be placed under tables to warm someone's toes up!  Very light to move around and take up next to no space to store when not required.

    Convector radiators - Not portable in that they are not a natural shape to push around but they are so light they are easy to move from room to room.  A convection panel heater will also provide radiant heat from it's front panel.  Some models have a fan to boost the warm-up time.

What is the best heating solution?

Panel heaters provide instant, controllable heat and are suitable for almost any room.

Storage heaters are one of the most popular forms of electric heating, and because they use low cost 'off peak' electricity running costs are low. Storage heaters are also cheap and easy to install, requiring no pipework or flues. Storage heaters have no moving parts or internal combustion and are virtually maintenance free.

How to convert Watts to AMPS
AMPS = Watts / Voltage
I = P ÷ E
Example: 2kW heater = 2000w divided by 230v = 8.7 AMPS
(for 3 Phase divide by 1.73)

What is IP Rating?
The resistance offered by the fixture to the penetration of solids and liquids is indicated by the IP (Ingress Protection) rating. This is a 2 digit number, the first number identifies the degree of protection against the ingress of solids and the second number against liquids e.g. IP65 indicates total protection against dust and protection against low jets of water where as IPx4 indicates that it only offers protections against water spray from all directions.

First Digit
Protection against solids
Second Digit
Protections against liquids
No Protection
No Protection
Protected against solid objects greater than 50mm (e.g. accidental contact with hand)
Protection against vertical water drops (e.g. condensation)
Protected against solid objects greater that 12mm (e.g. accidental contact with finger)
Protection against direct sprays of water, up to 15° from vertical
Protected against solid objects greater that 2.5mm (e.g. tools and wires)
Protection against direct sprays of water up to 60° from vertical
Protected against solid objects greater than 1mm (e.g. fine tools and wires)
Protections against water spray from all directions
Protected against dust
Protection against low pressure jets of water from all directions
Total protection against dust
Protection against jets of water of similar to heavy seas

Identified Zones within the bathroom

The previous IEE 16th Edition identified zones within the bathroom to illustrate what type of electrics in the bathroom can be used or installed, and these have been updated in the 17th Edition. These zones take into account windows, doors, walls ceilings and partitions, assessing the level of risk in each zone, with specific requirements governing the type of equipment deemed safe to be used in each. Zones 0–2 are considered the wettest, and the former zone 3 is no longer defined.

Bathroom Zone 0
Applies to inside the bath or shower. Here electrical products must be low voltage (a maximum of 12V) and be IPx7, i.e. can withstand total accidental immersion.

Bathroom Zone 1
Applies to the area around the bath or shower up to a height of 2.25m above the floor and at a radius of 1.2m from the water outlet. A minimum rating of IPx4 is required. If the fitting is 240V a 30mA residual current device (RCD) must also be used to protect the circuit in this zone, i.e. SELV with the transformer located beyond zone 2.

Bathroom Zone 2
Applies to the area beyond Zones 0 and 1, 0.6m horizontally and up to 2.25m vertically, including any recessed window with a sill next to the bath. This area requires electrical products to be IPx4 or better, or SELV with the transformer located beyond zone 2. It is advisable to consider the area around a wash basin, within a 60cm radius of any tap as Zone 2.

Outside Zones
These are classed as anywhere outside Zones 0, 1 and 2 (subject to specific limits) and where no water jet is likely to be used. No IP rating is required here unless water jets are used for cleaning purposes in Zones 1, 2 and “Outside Zones”, in which case a minimum IPx5 must be used.

Portable equipment is allowed in Outside Zones providing they are located where their flex length prevents them from being used in Zone 2, and they must be plugged in outside the bathroom, with the socket far enough away to ensure the appliance cannot be used inside zone 3.

Any space under the bath is considered out of scope, so long as it cannot be accessed without using tools such as a screwdriver.

Converting BTU to KiloWatts (kW) and kW's to BTU

BTU (British Thermal Units) is often used when specifying boiler outputs so it is useful to be able to switch easily between BTU and kW.

1 BTU = 0.000293 kW - To convert BTU to kW simply multiply by 0.000293
1 kW = 3414 BTU - To convert kW to BTU simply multiply by 3414.

Single Radiator 600mm X 1000mm 3248 BTU - 0.95kW
Double Radiator 600mm x 1600mm 9766 BTU - 2.86kW

What is the difference between Indirect Heated and Directly Heated Unvented Hot Water Storage Heater Systems ?

Indirectly Heated
Indirectly heated cylinders are designed to be run in conjuction with an external heat source, normally a central heating boiler. They are often supplied with an immersion heater as back-up. This is the most commonly used type of mains pressure hot water storage installation.

Directly Heated
There are directly heated units fuelled by gas, oil or, most commonly, by electric immersion heater. These units are typically supplied with two or more immersion heaters and can take advantage of “economy tariff” electricity. These stand alone units are highly versatile requiring only mains water and adequate electrical supply for installation almost anywhere in a property. These units are most often found in new build apartments, student accommodation, loft conversions and housing extensions where other forms of heating cannot be brought in, as well as smaller shops and offices.

For further details please see our MODUS Guide to Unvented Water Storage Heaters

What is the difference between Vented and Unvented Mains Pressure Hot water Systems?

A mains pressure system is a means of heating water taken directly from the incoming water main prior to delivery to your tap.  There are several ways to do this and many different manufacturers interpretations on product design.  The first thing to consider is that any system providing a mains pressure supply is only as good as the supply entering the property, so how good is your flow rate!?  It may boast for example - 35 litres per minute flow rate at 3 bar pressure - but if the supply to your property is inadequate and can only muster say 15 litres at 1 bar, this is all you will achieve.

Vented or Unvented Mains Pressure Systems

The term vented refers to whether the system is partially vented to atmosphere and the term unvented refers to the system being completely pressurised.
Vented Mains Pressure Systems
In a vented system, heat is imparted to the incoming mains water by means of a secondary heat exchanger within the vessel. Water in the vessel is used rather like a battery for heat - a Thermal Store. The incoming mains water passes through it's heat exchanger within the vessel drawing heat from the store. The Thermal Store temperature is maintained in the usual way - either Directly with electrical heaters, or Indirectly by your boiler.

Because the water within the Thermal Store does not need to be under pressure (as with an unvented system) it is vented to atmosphere. The body of water within the Thermal Store is used purely as a medium for storing and imparting heat to the secondary exchanger.

Unvented Mains Pressure Systems
In an unvented system, incoming cold mains water typically enters a pressure vessel (for example: Heatrae Sadia Megaflo HE) where it is heated either Directly by means of electrical heater/s, or Indirectly by means of a primary heat exchanger within the vessel being supplied by your central heating boiler. The hot water stored within the vessel  is forced out by the incoming cold water when you open a tap hence - Mains Pressure Hot Water.
Considerations when choosing the system that suits you best.
Unvented Mains Pressure Systems
In an unvented system you will be storing a large volume of hot water under pressure. For reasons of safety such systems must be installed by qualified technicians with relevant experience, CITB training and G3 certification.

As a precaution, pressure-relief pipework and valves must be installed to protect against unsafe pressure build-up within the vessel which could result in explosion.

Your Local Authority (Building Control Dept) will need to be advised of your intention to install an unvented system.

For reasons of safety, your system will require annual maintenance to ensure safety equipment is functioning correctly (BS2870).

An unvented system must be commissioned and certified by the installer.

Vented Mains Pressure Systems
A vented system does not store a large volume of hot water under pressure. The Thermal Store, whilst containing hot water, remains at atmospheric pressure.

There are no hazardous issues with a vented system. Pressure relief valves and pipework are not therefore required.

Vented systems do not require Building Control approval.

Because of the simplicity and safety of such systems, installers do not need certification or specialist training.

Vented systems do not need certification.

There are no special annual maintenance requirements.
Drawbacks of a mains pressure hot water system
Under water bye-laws you may not add a pump directly to your mains fed system to increase pressure or flow rate. If the supply in your house is poor there will be no simple way to improve it. Additional performance usually entails bringing in a new, larger supply pipe to the property. Even then, you should ensure the new improved supply will be adequate, as some areas suffer from frustratingly low pressure.

Always remember - your system can never be better than the supply to it.

Mains pressure systems are at the mercy of fluctuations in supply pressure. This may not be an issue in the majority of cases.

Mains pressure systems can give 'power shower' performance, providing supply pressure is good. If you like a vigorous showering experience and your supply pressure is poor, remember - you cannot install a shower booster pump.

If you simply must have a power shower then consider a gravity fed system. You can do pretty much anything you want with a gravity feed.

Compared - The Good  and the Not So Good

Unvented Mains Pressure System Vented Mains Pressure System
Mains pressure hot water to all your taps Mains pressure hot water to all your taps
No loft tanks - space saving No loft tanks - space saving
High Pressure storage cylinder Vented cylinder
External pressure relief pipework required No risk of pressure build-up
Specialist installation requirements No special requirements
Annual maintenance required
No special requirements
Notification to Building Control Required
No special requirements

Fully Integrated System Available?

What is the difference between GU10 and MR16 ?

The two types of bulbs most often seen are GU10s and MR16. The main difference between these are their fitting types, and the voltage they run on. The MR16 has two pin-like fittings and runs on low voltage (12V), and if you have these, you'll also have a transformer somewhere. Where the GU10 has two knobbly, cylindrical fittings and runs on normal mains voltage (240V).

What is the difference between GU10 and GZ10 ?

You can fit both GZ10 (dichroic) and GU10 (aluminised) lamps into GZ10 fittings but only GU10 (aluminised) lamps into GU10 fittings.

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