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15 Jul 2019

What does a central heating system look like?

By Oliver
  • Read time: 2 minutes
As energy prices continue to rise across the UK, homeowners want to ensure their homes are running as efficiently as possible to keep heating bill costs low.

Central heating systems are relied on everyday – not just for heating radiators, but also for heating water enabling us to take a shower or wash the pots. But – how much do you really understand about your central heating? What does it look like, do you have the best solution for your home and is it working at its full potential?

There are four main types of central heating:

Wet systems
The most popular kind of central heating throughout the UK. Gas-powered boilers burn fuel to heat water, which is pumped through pipes to taps and radiators or under-floor heating

Electric storage heaters
An outdated method of heating, storage heaters use radiators filled with specialist bricks to store large amounts of heat. Using electricity during off-peak times, they charge over-night to release the stored heat during the day, when required

Warm air systems
Still used throughout older properties. Cold air is pulled in from the outside, to then be heated by the boiler and sent throughout the home through ducts and released into rooms via vents

District heating
Using natural gas, household waste or biomass, district heating was popular after World War II and is still used throughout more than 220,000 UK homes. If your home has no boiler, and receives hit water via a centralised heating source from insulated pipes – your home is fitted with district heating

wet central heating system guide

Central heating and radiators

Central heating is the process in which hot water is pushed throughout your home via a series of pipes, from your boiler to the tap, radiators and under floor heaters. Boilers and heat pumps are often controlled via a thermostat or radiator valves, which help you control the desired temperature and heating schedule for your home. The size of a central heating system needed for a house is generally related to the number radiators and hot water usage of the home.

The Office of National Statistics have found approx. 95% of homes across the UK have some form of central heating installed – around 85% of these homes are fitted with gas-powered heating systems.

Central heating installation

You can change your central heating system at any time, and even the fuel used to power it. Although a new central heating installation cost may be quite hefty upfront, you would need to weigh out the life-time savings value.

For expert installers – such as our team of engineers at 50five – central heating installations are relatively straightforward jobs, for example, fitting a system into an empty house, or a straight boiler swap. Processes can become longer if there is minimal accessibility to lay copper pipework, or if a household is upgrading from one central heating system to another (typically an outdated system such as electric storage heaters, to a newer system such as an air source heat pump).

The cost of installing a central heating system depends on the type of system required. If you would like to discuss your options – for the most efficient and energy saving option, as well as the most affordable – speak with our team of experts, finance is available.

Focus on energy efficiency

Central heating systems are vital to households and require upkeep to remain energy efficient. The more energy efficient a system is, the more economical it is and the longer it will last.

At 50five, our experts recommend having central heating services carried out on an annual basis, to ensure the system is in full working order and not presenting any issues such as wasting energy increasing fuel bills, or leaking carbon monoxide if running a gas boiler.

There are other energy efficiency measures which can be carried out, such as installing a smart thermostat or smart radiator valves throughout your property, to ensure temperatures remain controlled and heat isn’t wasted.


Written by Oliver

Oliver is a Content Specialist for 50five UK