BestHeating.com gives a brief guide to how domestic central heating works.
Central heating explained
First of all there are several main components in a central heating system:
- Boiler (gas, oil, LPG)
- Diverter valve
- Hot water tank
- Hot water tank thermostat
Boiler & pump
The boiler, at the heart of the central heating system, is used to heat water within the hot water tank and heat a property. It does this by burning gas to generate heat onto copper water pipes. The heated water travels through a network of pipes that exists throughout your home. These pipes are connected to radiators which as the heated water passes through, emitting heat into a room. An electric pump situated inside the boiler is used distributed the heated water (temperatures can reach around 60°C) through the looped network of pipes before it returns in its cooled down state back to the boiler ready to be heated once more.
Usually found near the boiler, this device is used to manually determine what times of the day and / or night the boiler should be switched on.
When stripped back a radiator is simply a copper pipe bent upon itself repeatedly to create a large expanse for which hot water from the boiler can pass through.
Radiators with TRVs (Thermostatic Radiator Valves) can control the temperature of a room but need a thermostat to do so.
A thermostat monitors the temperature in a room and switches the boiler on or off depending on its settings.
This is used to determine which water should be heated, the water in the hot water tank or that to be used in the home e.g radiators. Depending on the position of the valve it can do both these things at once.
Hot water tank
Water in the hot water tank is used independently from that which goes around your radiators. Hot water which enters the water tank from the boiler flows through coiled copper pipes inside the tank to transfer heat the stored water within. This stored water can then be used for taps and showers.
A hot water tank thermostat works like a regular room thermostat in which it uses a set temperature to determine whether the boiler needs to be on or off.
Author: Laura Davis