Many heating technologies are available. The exact choice of which will depend on the heat loss of the building, the energy sources available and the likely patterns of occupancy. Heating control needs must be considered alongside hot water, intended ventilation strategy and (particularly in modern buildings) with an understanding of potential overheating issues.
Boilers are the most common source of heat. They work by burning either gas (mains or LPG), oil or solid fuel (coal or wood) to heat water. Boilers are good at heating buildings that need high flow temperatures (typically associated with high heat loss). Boilers are generally used in houses or buildings with radiators or underfloor heating.
Heat pumps are the most efficient way to convert electrical energy into heat. They typically run at an efficiency of two or three times that of direct electrical heating. They use the refrigeration cycle (the same principle as a fridge or freezer), but taking heat from the outside and bringing it into the building. There are three main types of heat pumps:
- Air to water: commonly referred to as an ‘air source’ heat pump. This heat pump extracts heat from the air which is used to heat water which is then distributed around a building.
- Water to air: these are typically ‘ground source’ heat pumps which extract the heat from the ground which is then used to heat a building.
- Air to air: similar to an air conditioning system and tend less common in domestic and small commercial properties. In the UK, this is because no grant funding is available for the technology.
Heat pumps are not suitable for all types of buildings, particularly those with high heat losses. If in any doubt please talk to us. In addition there are micro heat pumps that can work very efficiently in the right location. These typically take heat from exhaust air and use it to heat incoming air or domestic hot water. Hausmate heating control can integrate all types of heat pumps.
Direct electrical heating is efficient and reliable. It benefits from having low installation costs, but it is currently the most expensive heating to run and has the greatest carbon dioxide footprint. However, because it delivers heat instantaneously it does have benefits when used in intermittently occupied buildings with a Hausmate heating control system. For some buildings this can be an efficient way to provide heating.
Alternative heating options
There are other sources of heat such as solar thermal panels, solar photo-voltaic and log burning boiler stoves. Typically these panels are used to compliment the main heat source. In some very low energy buildings such as Passivhaus they can form the primary heat source.
To extract the maximum efficiency from these alternative heating systems building owners need to ensure they are properly specified and controlled. Hausmate can control any of these to ensure the best use of the energy.
Hausmate can control all types of heating system, providing comfort at minimum energy expenditure