New guidelines have come into place as of 1 January 2013 that affects how flues are fitted within properties that use room-sealed fan assisted boilers.
This change is more likely to affect those of you that live in a flat or apartment as you are a lot more likely to have a flue that lives in difficult to access parts of the property, such as behind walls and within ceilings.
Why the change?
The change in flue installation guidelines has been introduced to try and reduce the likelihood of carbon monoxide positioning.
Flues perform the role of removing harmful waste gases (produced by the boiler when generating heat) and releasing them to the outside of the property. If this gas (commonly carbon monoxide) were to build up then it can cause illness and in the worst cases death to those that breathe it in.
Typical Flue Installation Behind Walls and Celings
The regulators therefore want to make it easier for Gas Safe installers to check the integrity of the entire flue in properties where it is currently partially or completely hidden. This will mean any faults are dealt with swiftly.
Most homes won’t be affected by this at all, as it is easy to see the entire length of the flue as it runs from the boiler to the roof or outside wall, however if you think you live in a property whereby your flue is installed behind a wall or ceiling, then it is recommended you gets someone out to look at it sooner rather than later.
What changes would need to be made?
In most cases a Gas Safe Engineer will look to add 300 x 300 mm inspection hatches that will allow Heating Engineers to inspect the flue without any restriction.
If you have just move in it is worth contacting your building company as changes to the flue may be covered. If your home is less than 10 years old it may also be worth contacting your home warranty provider for the same reason.
If you live in rented accommodation that the first port of call should be your landlord, whose legal responsibility it is to ensure the property conforms to all Gas Safe regulations. They must also ensure a carbon monoxide (NO2) alarm is fitted in all rooms within the property that have the flue running through it.
Full details are provided by Gas Safe.
Electric boilers are the most popular choice of boiler in the UK after natural gas boilers.
Some popular electric boilers available on the market at the moment are the Trianco Aztec electric boiler and the Heatrae Amptec electric boiler, but there are many other types of electric boiler available.
How do Electric boilers work?
Whereas gas boilers rely on burning gas to generate heat, electric boilers rely on the electricity from the mains supply of the property to heat elements within the boiler. Water gets hotter as it passes over these elements and once sufficiently heated the water is then pumped to where it is required.
Electric boilers remain popular because they are considered to be around 99% efficient to the end user. This is because electric boilers do not rely on the burning of fossil fuels such as gas or oil to produce heat and there is therefore no chance of losing valuable heat when releasing waste gases into the atmosphere.
Advantages of an electric boiler:
- Increased efficiency
A traditional gas boiler system normally disposes of waste gases by taking it out of the property via a flue or chimney. As the flue is not required in an electric boiler system setup, this means that useful heat does not escape, helping the electric boiler to run at around 99% efficiency.
- No need for a mains gas supply
Over 2 million homes in the UK don’t have access to a mains gas supply, making electric boilers an essential (and cheap) means of providing central heating and hot water.
- Reduced installation costs
If you do not currently have a gas pipe supply into your property it can cost a lot of money to get this setup. An electric boiler is a cheaper solution. It is also beneficial as you do not need to purchase a separate Flue or chimney as there is no requirement to take waste emissions from the boiler to outside of the property, as with a gas boiler. This will obviously save you money in the initial installation stage.
- Space efficient
The fact that a flue is not required benefits smaller properties where space is an issue. There is also a lot more flexibility in where the electric boiler can be installed, as it doesn’t necessarily need to be close to an outside wall. Unlike other types of boiler, there is also no requirement for an additional fuel storage tank.
Electric boilers are not reliant on elements within the boiler moving to generate heat. This means that electric boilers are renowned as being very quiet systems when in use.
Electric boilers generally don’t need to be serviced as regularly as gas and oil boilers as they are considered to be like any other electrical appliance. Generally they only need maintaining if there is a problem with the boiler itself.
- Good for environment*
Electric boilers rely on electricity rather than the burning of fossil fuels to generate heat. The electric boilers themselves are therefore considered more environmentally friendly than other types of boiler as there isn’t a requirement to take the waste gas emissions produced by the boiler out into the atmosphere. *However, the full environmental picture does cast doubt over the claim that electric boilers are fully environmentally friendly (see disadvantages list below).
Disadvantages of an electric boiler:
- Not always suitable for larger properties
Electric boilers can only heat a certain amount of water at any one time, therefore a more conventional boiler system may be more suitable to heat larger properties where hot water usage levels may be higher.
- Environmental benefits myth
Although the electric boiler units themselves are considered fairly environmentally friendly heating systems, there are concerns that the actual process of creating electricity itself in power stations generates the same amount of pollution as gas and oil boiler systems, therefore negating this benefit.
- Cost of electricity
Due to the higher cost of electricity over gas, electric boilers are considered a slightly more expensive way to provide heat to a property.
- Potential power cuts
By choosing an electric boiler you will be relying on an electricity source to provide hot water to your home. This means that in the event of a power cut you could be without central heating or hot water for hours or (depending on where you live) even days.
A wide range of electric boilers are available to purchase online at some really competitive prices from Direct Heating Supplies.