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Central heating

  • How to Fight Back Against Food Waste

    As a society we’ve grown disturbingly accustomed to wasting resources and destroying our fragile planet. Hundreds of trillions of gallons of water are wasted globally in food production alone, an unfathomable number to the average person. And yet the water we use to drink, bathe in, shower in, and flush the toilet with, accounts for less than one per cent of the world’s overall supply. In a century where the global population is expected to surpass nine billion, it’s never been more critical to manage our use of resources and limit waste.

    We’re all guilty of wasting food but not all of us are aware of the dire impact this is having on the environment. Landfills of rotting, wasted food are potent sources of methane - a greenhouse gas with the potential to accelerate climate change even faster than carbon dioxide. A reduction in food wastage would also mean a reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases in general, as the environment-harming chemicals associated with the production of food will be lessened.

    So what can we do to reduce food waste?

    Planning meals in advance

    Shopping list

    Efficiency and management is the key. At the supermarket, try to shop with a list, reducing impulsive purchases. A weekly planning schedule could help, giving you an idea of what to prepare and when. In time, you’ll develop a knack for portion sizes, and will learn what’s right for you and others, you may even find you’ve overspent in the past, making your weekly shop more cost effective.

    Getting creative with leftovers

    pickled goods

    As much as proper planning can help, leftovers are unfortunately more or less an inevitability. Freezing anything that is left over can preserve it for months. Canning, pickling and drying are three effective ways of ensuring your food goes further. The Love Food Hate Waste website is an invaluable resource - it is full of unorthodox, underrated and underappreciated cooking techniques and recipes that can help you create something delicious from what you would otherwise assume are incompatible ingredients.

    Invest in a wilo central heating pump

    wilo central heating pump

    While it won’t technically reduce the amount of food waste you generate, a wilo central heating pump will help to reduce the guilt you’ll feel after hearing the following statistic: throwing away a single burger wastes the same amount of water as running a shower for an hour and-a-half. Whenever food is wasted, so too is a mass of water.

    These ingenious central heating circulator units from Wilo regulate and maintain the water temperature in pipes even if they aren’t located near the storage tank or boiler. Although some initial energy is expended maintaining a uniform temperature, in the long term you can expect a drastic reduction in both consumption and wastage. After all, there’s no need heat up the water if it’s already at a desirable temperature, and you’ll no longer have to let the water ‘run’ as you turn on the tap - because it’ll already be hot.

  • Surviving and thriving in the coldest places on the planet

    I’m sure you would be inclined to argue otherwise, but, despite what you’ve probably been led to believe by sensationalist headlines, the UK isn’t actually the coldest place on earth. In an average year, the temperature doesn’t even drop below zero. The inhabitants of Oymyakon and Verkhoyansk meanwhile, have the unique pleasure of living in the two places considered the coldest in the world. But the cold isn’t even the most interesting thing about these places, it is how the people that live there have adapted their lifestyle to not only survive, but thrive.

    Oymyakon, Russia

    central heating pumps

    You can understand why just 500 people are brave enough to make Oymyakon, the coldest inhabited place on Earth, their home. During the winter months, the temperature hovers around the -50°C mark and a measly four hours of sunlight puncture the semi-constant cloak of darkness each day. With such an inhospitable climate, how do residents possibly cope?

    The icy conditions prevent the growth of produce, and for that reason, the local diet is overwhelmingly reliant on meat. An average day can consist of raw fish, horse liver and rabbit soup. In keeping with the mantra that alcohol can warm you up; there is regular consumption of vodka, or as the locals call it Russki chai, which translates as the more docile-sounding Russian tea.

    Layers upon layers of animal fur are considered the only worthwhile defence against the biting cold. And this even extends to footwear - the most popular of which are constructed from reindeer leg fur. So adapted and used to the freezing conditions are the people of Oymyakon, that the only time schools are forced to close, is when the temperature dips below -55°C.

    Verkhoyansk, Russia

    central heating pumps

    Oymyakon’s closest rival for the king of cold is also close by geographically - relatively speaking anyway. At less than 1 person per square mile, the Sakha Republic has an extremely low population density, making the 400 miles that separate Oymyakon and Verkhoyansk seem reasonably  tame. Even though Verkhoyansk has close to three times as many inhabitants as Oymyakon, it is far from an indication that their climate is three times as accommodating.

    Verkhoyansk describes itself as the Pole of Cold and claims it has recorded the lowest ever temperature in an inhabited place. Do the daily lives of Verkhoyansk’s residents differ much from their neighbours in Oymyakon? In short, no. Pony innards are considered a delicacy and copious layers of fur clothing are an absolute prerequisite for braving the elements. They even share their neighbours’ penchant for vodka.

    Both are decidedly isolated but Verkhoyansk even more so - there are strictly-speaking, no roads leading to the town, and it is only accessible in the colder months when all of the lakes that surround it are frozen over - making for a treacherous trip. For this reason, heating is that bit more difficult. As is the case in Oymyakon, the residents of Verkhoyansk rely on wood burners, and some coal, to provide them with warmth. But because of their severity of their isolation, over a third of their income is spent purely on heating, with approximately seven truckloads of wood needed to keep a single home warm over the winter months.

    King of Cold? Oymyakon or Verkhoyansk?

    central heating pumps

    You would think their shared way of life would give them a certain sense of kinship and put them on the same page. But when it comes to the contentious issue of whose home is coldest, Verkhoyansk and Oymyakon couldn’t be more divided. Both have monuments proclaiming their status as the pole of cold. As well as the faux-mammoth head declaring just that, Verkhoyansk has a commemorative black marble plaque marking a record reading of -67.6°C, whilst Oymyakon has a distinctly Communist-style monument stating a record temperature of -67.7°C. The miniscule 0.1°C difference leaves just enough doubt to render the result inconclusive and the debate unwinnable.

    Regardless, just reading about temperatures that cold should send a shiver down your spine. Central heating pumps can ensure that your own home is warm whenever you need it to be.

  • Is infrared heating here to stay?

    Infrared heating has struggled to find its market - that is, until late last year. Having been all but dismissed as a viable alternative to LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) infrared heating has since pivoted to great success. Infrared saunas are the latest craze gripping the famously fickle attention of the health industry - but is it just another fad that will stick around for a matter of months before exiting as unceremoniously as it entered, or is it built to last long-term?

    The history of infrared heaters  

    It wasn’t for another 150 years after the discovery of infra-red radiation that it was properly adapted for the purpose of heating. During World War Two, infrared heating started to prosper more. Banks and banks of infrared lamps were constructed to dry paints and lacquers on military equipment. After the war ended, infrared heating failed to go from strength-to-strength, with its use floundering rather than flourishing.

    Fit for use in the home?

    grundfos alpha

    Infra-red heating models itself as an alternative to the gas heaters that have a stranglehold on the heating market. Better for the environment and better for your bank balance apparently. Whilst the former can be true (if the source of electricity is renewable in origin) the latter certainly isn’t. At 14p per kWh (kilowatt hour) infrared heating is the most expensive heating fuel available. And it is perhaps for this reason that infrared heating has failed to cut into LPG’s sizeable market share in domestic heating - especially as LPG costs a meagre 6p per kWh. With tech like the Grundfos selectric ensuring maximum efficiency, the price battle between LPG and infrared becomes a complete mismatch.

    The revival of infrared heating?

    Infrared heating has experienced a resurgence as of late, mostly thanks to the infrared sauna and the growing roster of famous clientele that swear by its effects. Unlike many other health fads that fail to expand beyond the trend-setting hub of Los Angeles, infrared saunas have successfully breached the proverbial ceiling - and for that reason, they look set to stay -at least for a while anyway.

    What are infrared saunas?

    grundfos alpha

    As you can probably guess from the name, an infrared sauna replaces the heat that is typically generated through traditional means (hot rocks and water or something of that ilk) with radiant heat from infrared light. Because the infrared rays heat the body directly, rather than the surrounding air, a lower temperature of around 70°C (normal sauna temperature is around 90°C) is required to achieve the same cardiovascular exertion.

    Does the science back up the reported effects?

    What infrared saunas haven’t escaped is the absolute scarcity of scientific evidence backing their extensive list of miraculous effects. Improvements in cardiovascular health, weight loss, detoxification, and even euphoria are just a few of many supposed benefits.  The cardiovascular benefits are well-documented, but the rest, not so much. The weight loss claim is dubious at best - water weight is lost through sweat but is quickly replaced when rehydration takes place. As for the detoxifying effect, there is no evidence that any heavy metals or radiation are wiped from your body as many ‘experts’ have claimed. The purpose of sweat is to cool your body, not to expel toxins.

    In spite of the controversy, infrared saunas are enjoying a period of popularity at the moment and the future of infrared heating seems to rest firmly in the niche of saunas, rather than central heating.

  • Does my central heating pump need replacing?

    Your central heating pump is a key part of your heating system, and it’s vital that it’s in good working order for your system to function efficiently. Signs that your pump is starting to fail may be the radiators taking longer to heat up or the pump itself becoming noisy or getting excessively warm in operation.

    central heating pumps

    Central heating pumps fail for a number of reasons. They may become clogged up with sludge, the pump impeller may wear or the pump bearings may fail. If your pump stops working altogether, it may be due to an electrical fault rather than the pump itself, so it’s worth checking for loose connections or blown fuses before deciding to replace the pump.

    Replacing a central heating pump may sound like a daunting task, but in fact it’s a task that can be undertaken by a competent DIYer. You’ll need a plumber’s wrench or adjustable spanner, an electrician’s screwdriver and a bowl or towels to catch any stray water.

    If the system is hot, you should wait for it to cool before you begin. Make sure you note which way round the pump goes and the position of the electrical connections - write this down or take photos with a digital camera or phone. Before you start, isolate the power to the heating system by removing the fuse. In most modern installations there will be isolator valves on either side of the pump. By closing both of these, you are able to change the pump without needing to drain the whole system.

    First disconnect the electrical supply to the pump. Then with the valves closed you can undo the nuts holding the pump in place. A small amount of water will escape when you do this, so be prepared to catch it in a bowl. You’ll also need a towel or paper towels to soak up any spillage - if you have young children, a disposable nappy is good for this. Next lift the old pump out and check the valves aren’t clogged with debris or sludge. It’s a good idea to replace the washers to ensure a good seal; then put the new pump in place, making sure the flow direction is as before. Tighten up the nuts, and then open the valves and check for any leaks before proceeding.

    If everything is right and there are no leaks, you can connect the new pump to the electrical supply and turn the system back on. Check that the expansion tank overflow doesn’t discharge water when the pump starts. If it does, you need to consult a plumber.

    If there were no isolation valves and you needed to drain and refill the system, make sure that it’s topped up with corrosion inhibitor once you’ve finished.

  • How you can control your central heating from your iPhone!

    Central heating systems are getting smarter, with app integration making it possible for people to control everything from their smartphones by making use of internet connectivity to enable a wide range of settings to be adjusted remotely. This means that people can manage central heating pumps, temperatures and activation times even if they are out of the house.

     

    There are a number of apps and systems to consider, and it is important to remember that not all apps are compatible with all central heating pumps, or indeed with all mobile platforms. If you have an Android or iOS device, then you should be covered, but the availability of this type of software for Windows Phone or BlackBerry’s OS is less guaranteed.

    central heating mobile

    So what apps and services are available at the moment, and what features and benefits do they bring to the table?

     

    Samsung SmartThings

    If you want a holistic approach to remote management of various facets of your smart home, then Samsung’s solution is one of the best around. You will need to install a Hub at home and make sure that it is compatible with your central heating as well as any other devices you own. And once the set-up is complete, you can even install other monitoring systems such as a wireless camera to provide security features as well as temperature control.

     

    With the SmartThings app on your mobile, you will not only be able to turn the heating on and off but also take charge of everything from the lighting to the stereo. And while the equipment will cost a little upfront, there is no subscription to worry about, with the savings made possible helping this system to pay for itself over time as your energy bills are reduced.

     

    Grundfos Go

    This app works with the compatible central heating pump system from Grundfos and lets you access a significant amount of information about how your heating is operating, thus enabling you to alter a wider range of settings than are usually available via this type of software.

     

    You can keep track not only of temperature but also of the water pressure, taking advantage of troubleshooting capabilities to pinpoint problems as they arise and even source replacement parts quickly. Operating over Bluetooth as well as infrared connectivity, this system and the compatible module will work with both Android and iOS and is of course free to download.

     

    There are many reasons to think about making your central heating smarter, especially as the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the boom in tablet and smartphone ownership have coincided, and most people now have the means to manage their entire premises from the sofa or from the other side of the planet.
    Some smart heating systems can even use the location provided by your smartphone to work out when is the best time to activate and warm your house so that just as you arrive home from work or the shops it is welcoming inside without energy having been wasted in the interim. And this is just one of the factors that could convince you that now is the time to upgrade.

  • 5 common central heating pump problems explained

    Your heating system is an essential component of your property, particularly during the winter months; however, there are a number of areas where problems can arise and cause your system to break down. Here we take a look at some of the most common problems with central heating pumps and help you to understand how they can be resolved.

    central heating

    1. The pump is not pumping round correctly

    In some instances, it might appear that your central heating pump is working and switched on; however, it is not pumping water around the system correctly. If the pump is hot, it could be an issue with the pump’s motor or the propeller. It is generally advisable to have a new pump motor fitted or replace the entire pump and body if this is the case. You can find a wide selection of pumps at Pump Sales Direct.

     

    1. The pump is working but the boiler is not lighting

    Central heating pumps can be working but your heating system is not operating because the boiler won’t light. Here you should ensure that your pilot light has come on and then check that your gas supply is on. If you find the pilot light is not on, you should relight it using the boiler’s instructions. If the light does not remain lit, you are likely to need a new flame failure device.

     

    1. The pump has no power

    When there is no power to a central heating pump, it is likely that a fuse has blown within the system or your heating is not requesting the pump to switch on. You should speak to a heating engineer, as there could be a loose connection somewhere within your heating system.

     

    1. The central heating pump leaks

    Central heating pumps can become corroded with age, which can cause them to leak. When this occurs, your only option is to replace the whole pump. It is unlikely that you will be able to fix the leak on a long-term basis and the corrosion will only get worse. A central heating pump typically has a lifespan of between 15 and 30 years. If yours has been operating for 30 years or more, it has done exceptionally well and you will probably find a new one far more efficient.

     

    1. There is an airlock in the pump

    Airlocks can often occur within a circulation pump and can be easily rectified. All you need to do is loosen the head screw using a flat head screwdriver, which will release the air that has become trapped.

     

    These are some of the most common issues you will find with a central heating pump. In some instances they are easily resolved, whereas others will require more extensive repairs or replacements. If you are in any doubt about the cause of the problem, you should consult a qualified heating engineer.
    Having trouble with your pump? Shop the full range of central heating pumps at Pump Sales Direct now.

  • How to bleed a radiator in your central heating system

    If your radiators are not heating up thoroughly, it could be that they simply need bleeding. Ineffective radiators can put a strain on your central heating system, including heating pumps such as the Wilo central heating pump from Pump Sales Direct. This means it has to work harder to pump the water around your system, but your house is still not heating up correctly. Bleeding a radiator should ideally be done at the start and end of the winter and is a quick task to complete.

    Radiator Image

    Why should you bleed a radiator?

    If air gets into your heating system and becomes trapped, it can stop it working as efficiently as it should. It is generally very easy to tell whether you have air in your radiator by simply touching it when the heating is on. If it is colder at the top than it is at the bottom, your radiator probably has air in it. Air can also be generated in a heating system when the heating pump blades spin around, such as blades in the Pump Sales Direct Wilo central heating pump. The best method to rectify this is to bleed the radiators.

    How to bleed a radiator

    Bleeding a radiator is a simple DIY task; however, it can become messy and you should always have towels and a jug to hand before you start. This will help to protect the carpets from any dirty water that leaks out of the radiators.

    Turn off the heating

    The heating should be switched off before you start bleeding the radiators. This will stop any boiling water from leaking out or more air getting into the system.

    Bleed radiators in order

    It is important to bleed the radiators in the right order to be as effective as possible. In properties with two or more floors, you should start with the downstairs radiators and work from the one that is located the greatest distance from the boiler. When the radiators on the lower floor are finished, you should employ the same method with the upstairs ones.

    Radiator bleed valves

    The bleed valve is a square plug at the side of a radiator. A radiator bleed valve key, which you can purchase at any DIY store, can be used to loosen the valve. Before you loosen it, hold a cloth underneath and then begin turning it anti-clockwise. You will hear a hissing sound if any air is in the system. When the hissing stops and water comes out, you should close the valve securely.

    This process can then be repeated for all the property’s radiators to ensure they are working efficiently. By doing so, you will heat your home more efficiently and make the best use of your heating system and pump, such as those available from Pump Sales Direct.

  • The history of central heating: From 15AD to 2015

     

    central heating pumps

    Today we take our central heating systems for granted, but it wasn’t always like that. Our modern systems with efficient boilers and central heating pumps are designed to keep our properties as warm as we like, but they have developed substantially from the initial models. Here we take a look at the development of central heating, from the early Roman methods through to the systems we benefit from today.

     

    Early Heating Methods

    The Romans were the first to invent any form of heating as far back as 15AD. Hypocaust, as the system was called, used a furnace to create hot air that then went along channels under the floor and pipes within the walls to generate heat. This type of heating created better living conditions and was the start of the development of central heating.

     

    19th-Century Developments

    Once the Roman Empire collapsed, the use of central heating largely came to an end, and homes generated heat through the use of individual fireplaces. Over the next thousand years, there was very little central heating in existence. It wasn’t until the 1830s that mass-produced systems that used steam were introduced.

     

    These were initially created by Angier March Perkins, who was an American based in the UK. His first customer was the then Governor of the Bank of England, who wanted to keep his home warm to enable him to grow grapes.

     

    Radiators were first introduced in Russia in 1855, and this is when we see the start of central heating as we know it today. Thomas Edison then went on to invent the electric heater in 1883, and by 1896 there were solar water heaters in existence.

     

    Central Heating Pumps in the 20th Century

    There were further developments in central heating systems during the middle of the 20th century. Robert C Webber came up with a direct exchange ground source pump towards the end of the 1940s.

     

    Central heating started to be installed within new homes from the mid-20th century. Today very few homes don’t have any form of central heating. Our modern systems combine radiators, a boiler and central heating pumps. Radiators are designed as a feature of the room now rather than a bulky appliance, and there are designer, slim and vertical styles to choose from.

     

    21st-Century Heating

    We now benefit from far more advanced heating systems than those early Roman models. The technology that we use within central heating pumps and other components allows the system to run as efficiently and effectively as possible. This enables us to have lovely warm homes while at the same time helping to keep our energy usage in check.

     

    Engineers are constantly looking at ways of improving our central heating systems to make them more efficient and cheaper. We are now seeing the use of more renewable sources of energy, such as solar and wind. They are considered a more viable option than they were a few years ago, and this is an area that will see significant changes in the coming years.

  • 5 ways to cut the cost of heating in your home

    The average family living in a three-bedroom house spends around £1,044 per year on gas and electricity, according to the energy regulator Ofgem. With energy prices having risen by more than 50% in the past five years, finding ways to cut your fuel bills is essential for any family that wants to make the most of their money. From reducing waste to updating your central heating pump, check out the following tips to see if you're saving as much as possible.

    central heating pump

     

    1. Switch Energy Suppliers

    According to a study carried out by the University of East Anglia, 47 per cent of households have never switched their energy supplier. Despite this, switching suppliers is one of the most effective ways to cut your heating bills, with typical savings of up to £100 per year. Thanks to a variety of comparison sites, switching is quick and easy and does not cause any disruption to your energy supply. The best tariffs are usually reserved for those customers choosing to pay by direct debit, so be sure you are using this option.

     

    2. Minimise Wastage

    If you're replacing domestic appliances, try to buy the most energy-efficient models you can. It's also important to use your appliances in the most efficient manner: always choose the lowest-temperature wash possible, and if the washing machine or dishwasher is not full, be sure to use the half-load or economy setting. Avoid leading televisions, computers and other items on standby, and when light bulbs blow, replace them with energy-saving models. Check doors and windows for draughts, and use sealant foam - widely available at your local DIY store - to save another £20 per year.

     

    3. Upgrade Your Central Heating Pump

    If your boiler is more than a decade old, the chances are high that it's nowhere near as energy-efficient as a more modern unit. However, with the cost of a boiler replacement running to many thousands of pounds, the potential savings, even over a lifetime, simply don't make financial sense. However, having your boiler serviced on an annual basis will ensure it is always working as efficiently as possible, and upgrading key parts, such as your central heating pump, could lead to even greater savings. Here at Pump Sales Direct you'll find a variety of models to suit a wide range of central heating systems.

     

    4. Think About Thermostats

    Modern thermostats are more accurate at measuring the temperature of a room and will therefore only keep your heating on for as long as necessary. Programmable models will automatically adjust the temperature according to the time of day and day of the week so that your heating only comes on when the house is occupied. According to the Energy Saving Trust, a new thermostat could cut your annual heating bill by as much as £150. Make sure your thermostat is placed in the room you use most regularly and that it is positioned away from radiators, televisions or other heat sources that could reduce its accuracy. Reducing the setting of your thermostat by a single degree can shave as much as £55 per year from your heating bills. Turning off radiators or setting a lower temperature in rooms that are not being used on a regular basis is another way to save.

     

    5. Shower Smarter

    If you get out of the shower one minute earlier than usual, you'll save £10 per year per person. If you have a water meter fitted, you'll save a further £15 in water costs. For a family of four, the savings equal £100 per year. If your shower and bath are fed directly from the hot water tank, you can also cut down your bills with just a small reduction in the water temperature setting.

  • How to install a central heating pump

    Changing a central heating pump may sound like a major task. However, it’s not as difficult as you think and is a task that can easily be undertaken by a competent DIYer. We’ve created a step-by-step guide to show how to install a central heating pump.

    Central Heating Pump

     1. What You’ll Need

    Before you start, you’ll need to have the following: an electrician’s screwdriver; a pipe wrench or adjustable spanner; a bowl and towels or paper towels to catch any drips; and of course a new pump.

     

    2. What to Check

    Today’s central heating pumps are a standard size, so the new pump should fit into the gap left by the old one. However, older pumps may differ, so when you go to buy a new pump make sure you have the measurements of the old one along with the type and diameter of the connections. If it’s different, you can get adaptors to fill the gaps. Also make a note of the type of pump and the setting of its output regulator.

     

    3. Turn Off the Power

    Turn off the power, or at least the power to the central heating circuit, at the consumer unit. Disconnect the electrical connections to the pump, and make a note of which wires go to which terminals.

     

    4. Isolate the Pump

    There should be isolating valves at the side of the pump. They will have a spindle or a wheel handle that can be turned with a spanner. Turn these off, and the pump can be removed without needing to drain the whole system.

     

    5. Disconnect the Pump

    Now place your bowl under the pump to catch any water that’s released when it’s disconnected. Hold on to the pump, and using your wrench unscrew the union nuts either side of the pump. Once the old pump is loose, you can lift it out.

     

    6. Fit the New Pump

    Put the new pump into place. Use fresh sealing washers to prevent leaks, and tighten the union nuts to fix the new pump in place. Open the isolation valves to allow water into the pump, and check that the connections are watertight.

     

    7. Reconnect the Electrics

    Reconnect the electrical cables - using your note of how they fit from earlier - and turn the power back on. You can now turn on the heating and check that it’s working properly.

     

    8. Checks

    In a system with an expansion tank, check that water isn’t being discharged through the safety vent into the tank when the pump starts. Consult a plumber if it does. Finally, check your radiators for airlocks and bleed as required.

    Shop the full range of Central Heating Pumps today here at Pump Sales Direct!

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