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Heating and Plumbing tips

October 15, 2009 at 10:41 am | Category: Remodeling Contractor

In this brief guide from Homebuilding & Renovating Magazine, we steer you through the major issues and help make sense of the heating and plumbing systems out there and whether it will suit your needs.
Keeping warm and having lots of hot water are essentially what we are talking about here. These two aims are intertwined but subtly different.
Space Heating
Demand for space heating depends to a large extent on how well built the house is. The heat demand can vary from ‘enormous’ in the case of draughty old country houses, unimproved for decades, down to ‘almost zero’ in the case of state-of-the-art Passive Houses, with massively insulated walls and roofs, triple glazing and mechanical ventilation systems.

Indeed, the very purpose of building houses like this is to reduce the space-heating demand to near zero. However the house is built, a heat loss calculation is applied to the design and from this you can calculate how much heat is required to keep the house warm at any given external temperature.

Space-heating demand also depends on how you ‘drive’ the house. If you occupy the house all day every day, your heat demand is better met by a slow, steady trickle type of heat source. If you are out most days, then you’d be better suited to a quick response type system. In reality, you will probably have to compromise here.
Domestic Hot Water
Whilst space-heating demand has been shrinking over the years, as houses have become better insulated, demand for hot water has increased as we have grown used to power showers, more baths and appliances. In fact, in a typical new home, the energy demand for domestic hot water already exceeds that for space heating and, as insulation levels get more exacting, this trend is set to increase further still.

The demand for hot water tends to be fast and furious; quite the opposite to space heating. Therefore, boilers and other heating appliances tend to be sized by hot-water demand rather than space-heating demand

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