Understanding central heating in the modern era

Do you really know how heating central heating works?

Everyone has a heating system in their home, but not everyone knows what system they have or how their heating system works.

Heating has changed dramatically over the past few thousand years. We got the hang of fire a long time ago, but do you know how heating works? Do you know how to program it to suit your needs, or do you turn the thermostat up to 30 so the boiler kicks in when it’s a little chilly? 

Now in our glorious modern technological era, there are many ways to heat homes and buildings. Think electric heating, heat pump heating, infra-red heating, biomass heating, gas heating, hydrogen heating, geothermal heating… the list goes on.

Regardless of which route you take with heating, or which system you’ve inherited, one thing that is so important to get to grips with, is how to control your heating. 

In recent years, controls and programmers have improved the way we set our comfort levels, minimise energy wastage and choose which areas of the property we want to be warm in.

If you want to save the pennies and the planet, understanding the following basic components of a heating system will set you on the right path to becoming a heating hero.

Like a good football squad, it’s a team effort and everyone needs to do their job well to get the result the fans want. Heating is no different, except it’s a small squad of 

4 players… It’s more like the officials of the match instead? Metaphor aside, the components and their roles are as follows;

Thermostats—the first component part off the line. A thermostat is a sensor that does 2 important things; first, they detect the temperature of the room and second, they tell the heater relay whether to fire up the heat or turn it off. 

Those numbers between 5 and 35 on the thermostat are Degrees Celsius and the target for the heating system to reach. Most thermostats in new systems are digital, making it easier for customers to see what the temperature is now, and figure out what’s comfortable. For most people, comfortable is between 18-21 degrees. Remember, the higher the set temperature, the harder the heating system has to work. 

Once the target temperature is set, the thermostat comes up with a game plan. 

  • Step one, what’s my target temperature? 20 degrees. 
  • Step two, what is the temperature now? 16.5 degrees. 
  • Step three, tell the heater relay to fire up the heater.

Now comes the middleman, the Heater Relay. The Heater Relay has one job, tell the heater to come on or off. Simply does what it’s told. Heater relays come in many shapes and sizes and can be located inside the heater or outside. Most people will recognise these as the square boxes near the boiler which click off and on to fire the boiler up or turn it off. But in electric heaters, these are internal components.

Then the heater itself, the star player. The heater pushes heat energy out into the rooms to achieve the target temperature working as efficiently as possible. The thermostat then lets the relay know that the temperature has been reached, the relay tells the heater good job, time to stop heating. 

Governing from the sidelines is the Programmer. The programmer tells every component what to do and when to do it. The programmer allows you to set up a daily/weekly schedule for heating, making it comfortable when you get in from work, and not unnecessarily heating the home whilst you’re out.

Now you know the components and how they interact together, you’re better placed to make decisions about how to heat efficiently in the property. 

More sophisticated than lighting a match!


Call Enviroheat on 0161 439 8265 or email info@enviroheathet.com to discuss your upcoming projects. You can also view our website for more information at www.enviroheatHET.com

May 10, 2021


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