023 HPM 0517

HPM May 2017

testing body. More recently the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy decided to use the data from the European testing standards in its Standard Assessment Procedure for new build premises, recognising that they are the best method for measuring the efficiency of a gas condensing boiler. So what about when the boiler is part of a system? The lower the return temperature to the boiler the more likely it will be in condensing mode. If the return temperature is kept below approximately 55°C, the boiler will be in condensing mode and working at its most efficient. What else helps the boiler to condense? Many boilers now operate on a wider modulation ratio which can improve efficiencies and comfort while reducing wear and tear on components. The modulation ratio is a boiler’s ability to reduce its maximum output to its minimum output, in line with system demand. A wider boiler modulation ratio reduces constant on/off cycling which can improve efficiency and boiler longevity. Heating controls also play their part in ensuring that the return temperature is below 55ºC. Manufacturers have developed more advanced controls, such as load compensation that reduces the water temperature to the radiators as the property reaches the required temperature and less heat is required. Weather compensation Weather compensation is also available which monitors the outside weather using an outdoor sensor. The control adjusts the temperature of the hot water going to the radiators. If the temperature outside drops then the temperature going to the radiators will increase. Likewise, if the outside temperature increases then the feature will ‘tell’ the boiler to supply less heat, so enabling energy efficiency gains along with comfort levels. Heat requirements in different properties will vary, this results in different system designs which may also include thermostatic radiator valves. Manufacturers have established that a variable speed modulation pump is a good way of maintaining a steady pressure for these systems which helps to maintain the efficiency of the system and has the added benefits such as reducing noise and the electrical energy the pump uses. Most UK heating systems will also be designed to an external winter temperature of -1°C or -3°C whereas average winter temperatures are well above freezing level. This means that the boiler is rarely required to run at high temperatures, taking into account modulation and effective control it will certainly be the case that a condensing boiler will operate in condensing mode. We have seen much in the car industry about performance testing, but the heating industry does review its testing criteria at a European level and includes independent testing of the appliances. What we have to remember is that the installer plays a big part in specifying the right product for the application, ensuring the system is fully clean and balanced as well as controls that can save the consumer money by sending the right information to the boiler. Consumer education Consumer education is also something that we have to continually work at to explain that radiators don’t need to be excessively hot to maintain the required comfort level and that lower temperatures will save money. So in answer to the original question – do condensing boilers condense? Yes they do. Technology continues to progress and installers have embraced new technical developments and the fundamentals of a well maintained system. We need to ensure that we keep working to educate consumers so that they understand how to achieve the highest possible energy saving rewards which has made the condensing boiler such an outstanding success. 23 INDUSTRY WATCH Speedfit plumbing and heating blends push-fit with multi-seal technology for a reliable, leak-proof connection. • Grip & Seal gives a firm hold on plastic or copper pipe • Superseal Inserts create a secondary seal • Twist & Lock compression for a leak tight seal • No tools needed - install, demount and re-fit in seconds • Safe, flame-free installs insurers and homeowners will love speedfit-tech.co.uk enquiry number 313


HPM May 2017
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