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Heating Pumps

  • Things to Consider Before Buying a Hot Tub

    According to the British and Irish Spa and Hot Tub Association, there are 10,000 hot tubs sold in the UK annually. If you are considering adding to that number and taking the plunge yourself, there are a number of things you should know first.

    Deciding between the different types of hot tub

    Negotiating the minefield that is the world of hot tubs is far from a straightforward task. And if you want to make the right decision, you’re going to need to know about the different types of hot tubs. They vary by the external coating that defines their appearance, and the jets that determine the kind of experience they're going to give you. Above-ground hot tubs are considerably cheaper than their in-ground counterparts and have the benefit of being loosely ‘portable’ - they can be moved, but, on average, they still weigh 225 pounds.

    The cheapest and most portable hot tubs are inflatable or made from PVC, and the higher end ones are made from acrylic or wood. The complexities of hot tubs don’t end there though - hot tubs can be differentiated by the labels: whirlpool tub, jacuzzi or indoor spa. Despite the apparent differences, they are all relatively similar. All hot tubs are capable of producing the ‘whirlpool’ action of water, the term indoor spa is pretty much interchangeable with hot tub, and Jacuzzi is a brand name that  has over time become synonymous with the term 'hot tub.'

    Deterring health concerns

    In 2014, Huffington Post ran a horrifying article on hot tubs, bringing to light the plethora of diseases and infections that can get to you via the simmering water and steam of a hot tub. From ‘hot tub rash’ to a potentially fatal respiratory infection called Legionnaire’s Disease, the article certainly pulled no punches. While a single read-through would be enough to put many a potential hot-tub owner off, it did stress how achievable it is to vanquish microbes from the water, and we’re going to do the same here.

    There are a number of signifiers that are indicative of an unsafe hot tub- an odour, sticky or slippery tiles, an absence of the sound of a working filter, and a temperature in excess of 40°C. More subtle warnings are a pH that isn’t between 7.2 and 7.8 and an unbalanced composition of chlorine or bromine - these you can check with a test strip.

    How much will a hot tub set you back?

     

    Initial costs, installation costs and running costs for hot tubs all depend on the type of hot tub you elect to buy. Initial costs can vary from a few hundred pounds for inflatable versions to tens of thousands for an in-ground wooden or acrylic one. Running costs are similarly variable, but not quite to the same extent as initial cost of course. Inflatable hot tubs can be plugged straight into a mains socket but more elaborate hot tubs may require re-calibration when it comes to plumbing, electrical and even gas work.

    Given that hot tubs are essentially kept warm 24/7 whatever the weather, it is fair to say that they can surmount a considerable challenge to the health of your finances. The US Consortium for Energy Efficiency suggests that the running costs of a hot tub typically account for half of a single home’s entire energy use.

    How is your hot tub going to affect the environment?

    Grundfos Magna

    Accordingly, you can imagine that the effect on the environment is equally significant. If you are considering investing in a hot tub that is anything more substantial than an inflatable one, it is also worth  investing in an infrastructure to accommodate it properly - an infrastructure that will minimise your tubs running costs as well as its contribution to global warming. A Grundfos Magna circulator will do both of those.

     

  • 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.

  • How major sports teams are leading the energy-saving revolution

    Sports teams have some of the highest energy bills in the world. With upwards of 80,000 fans attending each game, vast amounts of energy have to be harvested in order to accommodate for it all. Thousands and thousands of air miles are clocked up every year by fans and players alike. Food, drinks, and toilets cater for fans, while groundskeepers, in conjunction with an array of machinery and fertilisers, work tirelessly to provide a supreme surface for play. Somewhere amongst all that energy consumption, there must be some room for streamlining, right? Thankfully, these teams are taking steps to remedy this.

    shutterstock_136818503 Allianz Arena

    Bayern Munich - Allianz Arena 

    Metal halide fixtures have traditionally dominated the lighting of major sports stadiums, but LED lighting is slowly but surely turning the tide. Without needing 30 minutes to warm up to full brightness and with far greater energy efficiency, LEDs are saving time and thousands of kilowatts of energy. Bayern Munich has teamed up with electronics giant Phillips to launch an expansive layer of lights that completely covers the outer shell of the Allianz Arena. Energy efficient LED lights result in a 60% energy saving, and 38000 of them combine to form the impressive outer membrane which is capable of reproducing an astonishing 16 million colours.

    San Francisco 49ers - Levi’s Stadium

    The first NFL stadium to achieve the LEED Gold status for new construction, the 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium has a tremendous capability for energy-saving. One such innovation is a geothermal hot water pump that absorbs the energy generated by the sun drenched ground that surrounds the stadium and uses it generate a supply of hot water. Testament to the success of the stadium is the fact that they are able to recycle a startlingly high 85% of their water.

    Melbourne Storm, Melbourne Rebels, Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City - Melbourne Rectangular Stadium

    The Melbourne Rectangular Stadium is certainly the most visually striking piece of architecture on the list. Home to four Melbourne teams across football and rugby, the unique geodesic design allows light to filter through to the pitch whilst covering the spectators. In a similar fashion to the Allianz Arena, the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium is also kitted out with thousands of LED lights on its exterior, giving it the ability to perform ‘light shows.’ Prominent artists have worked with stadium engineers to create specific sequences for different events.

    Forest Green Rovers - New Lawn

    While we appear to be slacking when it comes to energy saving compared to our neighbours across the pond, some teams are still taking a stand. Conference Premier side Forest Green Rovers became the first in the UK to play on an organic football pitch. They believe the higher cost of organic materials is off-set by the savings made from the long-term benefits to the soil. Not content with just that illustrious title, the club has also installed 170 photovoltaic panels and a solar-powered autonomous lawnmower.

    From harnessing solar energy to maximum effect to making use of more efficient lighting fixtures, it is obvious that many sports teams are keen to be more energy efficient. Often blamed for their excessive waste of energy, it is pleasing to see sports teams taking steps to rectify this issue.

  • How to replace a central heating pump

    central heating pumpIn any ‘wet’ central heating system, it’s the circulation pump that is one of the most likely components to fail. This is hardly surprising, as a central heating pump works pretty hard. When your pump needs replacing, you may be tempted to call a plumber, but in fact it’s a fairly easy job to do yourself. Here’s how to know if your pump needs changing.

    First of all, you need the right tools for the job. You’ll need a couple of adjustable spanners, an electrical screwdriver and a paint-roller tray and some cloths to catch any spillages and drips. Next, make sure you get the right type of replacement pump. You’ll find a wide range on Pump Sales Direct, and there will be a label on your old pump that will help you determine the type you need.

     

    Changing the central heating pump

    1. When you’ve got together all that you need, you’re ready to start changing the pump. Begin by disconnecting the pump’s electricity supply. There’ll usually be an isolator switch allowing you to turn off the supply to the system. With this safely off, you can remove the cover to the pump’s electrical connections; make a note - or take a photo - of where the wires go before you disconnect them.

    2. In most modern heating systems there will be isolator valves above and below the pump, allowing you to turn off the water supply. Close both of these by turning them clockwise; you can then unscrew the connections holding the pump in place - make sure you don’t disturb the connections that attach the isolator valves to the rest of the pipework. Use your paint tray to catch any water that’s released.

    3. With both connections undone, you can remove the old pump and any washers. The washers can be reused if you must, but it’s best to replace them with new ones to prevent future problems. Put the new pump and washers in position and do up the connections. Make them finger-tight to start with to ensure you haven’t damaged the threads, and then tighten them up with your adjustable spanners. Make sure not to over-tighten.

    4. You can now reopen the isolator valves, checking for any leaks as you do so. Check that the electrical connection box is completely dry and re-attach the connections - refer to the sketch or photo you made at the start.

     

    Restarting the system

    Now you can test the system. Switch the power back on and turn up the room thermostat to kick the heating into life. You should be able to hear the new pump turning when the system is on. Changing the pump is likely to have introduced some air into the system, and there will be a bleed screw on the pump itself to allow you to get rid of this.

    Open the bleed screw gently and you should hear hissing as the air escapes. Keep a tray or cloth handy to catch any dribbles. When the hissing sound stops and you see some water, you can close the valve. It’s also a good idea to bleed the radiators at this point to ensure no air has been introduced into the system.
    That’s all there is too it - your new pump should now be running and your heating operating properly again. Shop your replacement central heating pump

  • What is the minimum requirement for workplace temperature?

    A productive workforce is a happy team, and so it pays to make sure their working conditions are comfortable. As an employer, it's important to ensure that the workplace is not hot and stuffy in the summer, and nor will they want to be cold or in draughty rooms in winter; 

    Frozen Office

    The Health and Safety Executive, Great Britain's independent regulator for work-related health, says that there are not actually any minimum or maximum temperatures set in law. A maximum temperature would also be difficult to impose because some people work in high temperatures, such as those found in foundries or glass works.

    Other factors such as radiant temperature, humidity and air velocity come into play.

    However, the HSE does say that the temperature in a workroom should be at least 16º or 13º if much of the work is tough and physical.

    The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 says that the temperature of work areas inside buildings should be 'reasonable'. Obviously, this is going to vary depending on whether you work in an office, a warehouse, a factory, a bakery or a cold store.

    The simplest way to measure thermal comfort, according to an article on the HSE website, is to ask your employees or their safety representatives if they feel the temperature is right.

    There is a thermal comfort checklist, which you can download here that includes a range of questions such as whether the air feels warm or hot, whether the temperature changes during a normal working day and whether employees complain that the air is too dry or too humid.

    Problems can be rectified by humidifying or dehumidifying the air, increasing air movement by use of ventilation or air conditioning or restricting the amount of time that employees are working in conditions that are too hot or too cold.

    If a comfortable temperature cannot be maintained in each room because of the type of work conducted there, then local heating can be installed.

    There should also be enough space in each room for the employees and their work stations. Employers also need to make sure their heating systems do not give off dangerous or unpleasant fumes.

    Why a Grundfos Central Heating Pump Is the Right Choice

    Maintenance of the heating system is also very important, as a breakdown and lack of heating would be very unpleasant for employees while they are trying to work. Choosing a central heating pump from Pump Sales Direct means there is no downtime because we have such an extensive range.

    Obviously, in very bad weather in winter you may want to think about closing the workplace if the roads are icy or flooded or severe gales are forecast.

    Although there is no obligation to do so, you may not want to risk your employees' safety if they try to travel in extreme weather conditions.

    Some employees may be able to work from home, or you could ask them to take a holiday or make up the time later. You could also put in an extreme weather policy so workers are clear about when they are and are not expected to make the effort to get to work.

  • The history of Grundfos pumps

    Grundfos has come a long way since it was started in Denmark 1945, and it is now one of the biggest pump manufacturers in the world!

    Grundfos Pumps

    Today, the Danish pump manufacturer employs more than 17,500 people throughout the world and makes more than 11 million pumps and parts a year. It also makes electronic motors and other parts for pumps and other systems.

    It is a great achievement for the company, which was started by Poul Due Jensen in Bjerringbro in 1945 in a small factory.

    The company was initially called Bjerringbro Die-Casting and Machine Factory, and after several name changes, it settled on its current name, Grundfos Pumps. The Jensen family still have a stake in the company and own about 13% of the shares in Grundfos AG. The Poul Due Jensen Foundation was set up in 1975 and today holds about 85% of shares. The staff own about 3%. The aim of the foundation is to strengthen and improve Grundfos pumps, with the profits being reinvested into the company.

    Many companies are represented by the Grundfos Group, and its products are sold by distributors in more than 40 countries around the world, including the highly competitive market in China.

    Hilge, a producer for pumps in sterilised applications, was integrated into the Grundfos Group in 2006.

    The following year, Grundfos bought the United States manufacturer, the Peerless Pump Company, which is its biggest acquisition to date. The US firm has more than 375 employees and yearly sales of $110 million USD.

    Grundfos Pumps continue to be at the centre of innovation and design, as the company places great importance on research and development. In 1985 Grundfos set up its own electronics manufacturing unit, and in 1991 Grundfos Electronics was introduced to the public.

    Grundfos pumps are renowned throughout the world, with the circular pump being used in air conditioning, ventilation and heating in hotels, office buildings and homes. Grundfos also provides different types of pumps for industrial, municipal and private use.

    An extensive range of Grundfos pumps can be bought online here at
    Pump Sales Direct!

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