SMART GAS ADVICE & FAQs
There are certain questions that come up time and time again. Here are a few helpful guides designed to answer some of the most common problems we face here at Smart Gas.
Where is the best place for radiators?
While you no longer need to fit your radiator under the window, there is some logic in doing so. In times when double glazing was almost unheard of, placing the radiator here helped to eliminate the cold draught that would often come through the window.
However, with double glazing standard in almost every home, we now have the freedom to position our radiators almost anywhere we choose. To ensure you get the best from your radiator and allow for optimum heat output, there are a number of important points to consider.
Keep it away from furniture.
Avoid full-length curtains.
Don’t let the pipe work dictate the position.
If you have no choice but to place it behind furniture, ensure to choose a convector radiator.
Reasons why your boiler may not need replacing?
If your boiler is always losing pressure, it could be a simple fix like re- pressurizing the expansion vessel or replacing the pressure relief valve (PRV)
The circulator pump plays a major role in delivering hot water to the radiators and baseboard heaters located throughout your home. Once it stops working, your boiler won’t be able to push the hot water it needs in order to function properly. While circulator pumps usually share the same life expectancy as the rest of the boiler, it’s not uncommon for them to fail prematurely due to defect or neglect.
Carrying out an effective flush of your system can improve efficiency and reduce the “kettling” noise caused by a build up of limescale and mineral deposits, and in turn can prolong the life of your boiler.
This buildup can severely restrict water flow unless it’s treated in a timely manner. Heavy lime scale build-up can also lead to “kittling,” a condition where the water inside the boiler boils and turns to steam, creating the same noises you’d hear from a tea kettle, but with serious consequences for your boiler.
Often a perceived fault with a boiler can actually be down to a problem on a component that is part of the wider heating system. This is particularly more likely if you have a hot water cylinder as oppose to a combiboiler.
The benefits of renewing radiators.
In the last 18 years, radiator technology has improved significantly resulting in homes that were much more energy efficient than they were previously. Modern rads are now smaller than their elderly predecessors, yet are able to emit just as much heat, if not more, with less energy expended. Today’s rads are much more efficiently designed, with better internal water channeling, which results in the hot water coming into contact with more of the radiator metal, but with much less water required.
Todays radiators are far more stylish with more choice of colour, size and finish to suit all tastes. Vertical radiators have grown in popularity and can offer an option to those who have limited horizontal wall space.
In the bathroom, the chrome heated towel rail has remained a firm favourite, yet it is being quickly caught up by rails with a black or anthracite finish. The reason for this is mainly aesthetic, with many liking their rails to have a darker look to them, however it’s also been realised that towel warmers with a painted finish actually give off more heat than the chrome plated ones.
The benefits of pipe lagging
Insulating and lagging pipework makes sense as benefits include the prevention of freezing of pipes. When water freezes it expands and this can cause a pipe to split and cause a leak. Pipe insulation prevents heat (or cold) loss over longer distances by introducing thermal resistance and reducing heat flow from the pipe to the outside air.
Related to energy saving, a third reason for insulation is economy. A well-insulated pipework system will help cut running costs and save on maintenance.
Finally, temperature control is not the only reason to fit pipe insulation. It can also help limit unwanted noise. Pipework can operate as a conduit for sounds to travel from one part of a building to another. Acoustic insulation can prevent this by ‘dampening’ the pipe wall wherever the pipe passes through a fixed wall or floor and wherever the pipe is mechanically fixed.
Use of thermostatic radiator valves.
Thermostatic radiator valves, or TRVs, are the name of the valves on the side of your radiator that are numbered 1 to 5. These valves allow you to set the temperature that you would like the individual room to be, but the way they work is often misunderstood. So, we thought we’d take a bit of time to explain how they work and how best to use them to ensure you stay warm this winter.
TRVs work by sensing the air temperature adjacent to the radiator and turning the flow of hot water to the radiator on or off depending on if the air temperature is above or below the setpoint. Interestingly, they do not work like a tap, they either turn the radiator on or off, there is not much proportional control. What the 1 to 5 settings relate to is the air temperature at which the radiator will be turned off.
So at setting 5 the radiator will turn off when the air temperature at the TRV is roughly 25°C, and at setting 1 it will turn the radiator off at roughly 15°C. The TRV essentially does not control how hot the radiator gets, just how long it stays at the maximum temperature set by the boiler. If you want the room to heat up faster, it is best to increase the central heating water temperature at your boiler. If you want the room to get warmer in general, it is best to turn up your TRV in that room. (The problem with increasing the central heating water temperature at your boiler is that you will need to adjust the rest of the house accordingly.)
The importance of a clean heating system
When water is circulated around components made of metal, a naturally occurring chemical reaction takes place which can cause corrosion. This corrosion can cause bits of metal to break off into the system, creating radiator ‘sludge.’ It is this sludge that can cause common problems like radiators not heating up properly or having hot and cold patches. Another issue can be the build up of limescale, which is a hard calcium carbonate deposit that is especially common in Hull due to hard water. The limescale is very fond of clinging onto the inside of pipes, narrowing the area in which water can flow and reducing the pipe’s thermal efficiency, which basically means your radiators won’t get as hot as they should do.
In addition to corrosion and limescale, over time, general household dirt can make it’s way into the heating system, which also reduces the performance of your boiler and radiators, so the importance of regularly cleaning your central heating system cannot be overstated. Some of the most common complaints customers have when they call out a heating engineer is that their radiators are taking a long time to heat up, a radiator is warm at the bottom and cold at the top or a radiator is very noisy. All of these are symptoms of a system that needs cleaning.
If the heating engineer decides that the heating system is generally working well, then only a moderate clean may be necessary. In this instance, an engineer would normally isolate the radiators and circulate a cleaner through the rads for around 60 – 90 minutes. A common way of getting the cleaner into the system is to use an aerosol product, which can quickly add the cleaner via a filling loop adapter or straight into the radiator.
Heavily sludged systems will require a magnetic filtration system cleanse. Keeping the system clean is incredibly important because it helps all the components to have a longer lifespan, meaning less money spent on repairs, it keeps the system running efficiently, leading to lower heating bills, and most importantly, your system will keep you warm when you most need it to!
Smart Gas are based in Hessle, East Yorkshire and are available for projects and call-outs in Hull, North Lincolnshire and the wider East Yorkshire area.
Tel: 01482 644722
Mob: 07812 666362
40 Southgate, Hessle,
East Yorkshire, HU13 0DP
Monday to Friday
8:30am to 5:30pm