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Monthly Archives: January 2013


Central Heating Radiator Types [type 11, type 21, type 22]

Radiators are available in three main types, detailed as follows:

Type 11 Single panel, single convector. The first digit indicates 1 panel, second digit 1 convector [ridged metal fins on back of radiator]

Type 11 Radiator

Type 11 Radiator

Type 21 Double panel, single convector. The first digit indicates 2 panels, second digit 1 convector [ridged metal fins in middle of radiator, between panels]

Type 21 Radiator

Type 21 Radiator

Type 22 Double panel, double convector. The first digit indicates 2 panels, second digit 2 convectors [ridged metal fins in middle of radiator, between panels]

Type 22 Radiator

Type 22 Radiator

Always check the manufacturers heat output data for each radiator you want to install.

It is also important to compare different radiator styles for heat output. A heated towel rail, as shown below, may look quite big – but often not too good for heating a bathroom.

Chrome Heated Towel Rail Radiator

Chrome Heated Towel Rail Radiator

Sadly heated towel rails are not sufficient to heat a bathroom. It is always worth going for a larger size towel rail, if you intend it to also heat the bathroom. Manufacturers data will confirm the design heat output. Add 25% capacity required if you are hanging towels on it. As radiators can not warm towels and heat rooms very efficiently at the same time.

Please leave a reply or email me at aim.home@gmx.com if you want any help with this post.

I have put a post together giving details of how to choose the right size of radiator for heating a room. The link https://aimhome.wordpress.com/2012/12/30/central-heating-radiator-sizing/

will take you there.

AIM – improving your world without costing the earth


Water Service Pipework Emergency Stop of Supply

During cold weather it is often the most inappropriate time for problems with pipework, taps and appliances. I visit many properties that have either damaged/defective stoptaps/stopcocks or the access to stop supply is obscured by debris in outside meter stopcocks or even fitted kitchen cupboards or heavy furniture for interior stopcocks.The picture below shows an exterior stopcock cover. This cover top may be set at surface level so only the access cover is visible. The position of the stopcock may not be too obvious. Look at the front or back of your property  for a metal or plastic cover about 6″ [150mm] square. You may have a shared supply with a neighbour or a row of properties, depending on the main supply pipework arrangements. It’s always good to check with neighbours, before you stop the supply. It will not be obvious you have a shared supply, until someone complains, after you’ve cut their water off!

Outside Stopcock cover

Outside Stopcock cover

You may have a modern water meter. If you see a round plastic cover looking like the one below

Water Meter Boundary Box

Water Meter Boundary Box

You will only see the circular plastic cover at surface level of the road or pavement.

You must take care to protect your working area, avoiding hazards to other road users and pedestrians.

The inside of the meter box or cover box may be full of water or other debris. Have plenty of rags and a large sponge handy to clear out the box, so you can see what you are doing.

The picture below shows what you may see once you’ve opened the cover.

Water Meter view from above.

Water Meter view from above.


Water Meter view from above

Water Meter view from above

Access may be difficult so investing in a stopcock key may well save time and make access much easier.

There are two types of domestic stopcock keys, as shown below.

Stopcock Key [short]

Stopcock Key [short]

Stopcock Key [long]

Stopcock Key [long]

The stopcock may be of either plastic MDPE [medium-density polyetheline] or brass construction. The pictures below show the most common types.

MPDE Stopcock

MDPE [medium-density polyetheline] Stopcock

Brass Stopcock

Brass Stopcock

It is always good idea to check your water stopcock in good weather, to avoid problems with operation in times of bad weather. If you have problems with the functioning of your water supply stopcock, contact the Company who you pay your water bill to.

This link shows a map of Water Company areas http://www.water.org.uk/home/our-members/find-water-company

This link gives contact details for UK Water Companies http://www.water.org.uk/home/our-members/list-of-companies

The Water Company will arrange a visit to rectify or replace your stopcock. During bad weather the maintenance staff are very busy attending to faults and failures. A domestic Customer may have to wait up to a week for someone from the Water Company to attend.

Don’t wait until an emergency to find out your water stopcock doesn’t work.

Please contact me at aim.home@gmx.com or telephone 07901380746 if you need any help or want to discuss issues raised in this post.

Regular maintenance and inspection is not too expensive, and may well save much more if you have problems in times of bad weather.

Water is a valuable resource that must be saved at every opportunity.

Help to save water by undertaking regular maintenance of your supply equipment.


AIM improving your world without costing the earth

Central Heating: Smart Controls to Save Money

A fully manual central heating can be very inefficient and costly to run. There are a number of measures you can take to improve efficiency and save money.

1 Time Control Clock

Many modern boilers are fitted with an integrated time control clock. Many boilers, especially those more than 5 years old do not have any built in time control.

An independent time control clock is fitted between the fused isolator switch and the electrical connection to the boiler. There are two types of control clock:

Mechanical timer clock.

The Danfoss 103 as shown below was once very popular, and still available if anyone wants one.

Danfoss 103 Mechanical Timer

Danfoss 103 Mechanical Timer

Digital RF* room thermostat.

Digital equipment is now becoming much more affordable. Prices have fallen by 50% in the last couple of years. It is now possible to buy wireless RF thermostats for under £50.00

Danfoss RF Room Thermostat

Danfoss RF Room Thermostat

* RF stands for Radio Frequency [typically 433MHz, with a working range up to 100 meters]

The items above can be combined into a fully digital timer/control/thermostat arrangement [RF programmable room thermostat] as shown below.

Danfoss Prgrammable RF Room Thermostat

Danfoss Programmable RF Room Thermostat

There are three options for the programmable functions. A RF thermostat will only be ONE of the following:

24 hour – one set of time settings will be available for all days of the week. This offers least flexibility of function/lowest cost reduction [if you like a lie in on some days, the heating will come on at the same time regardless]

5/2 day – this offers one set of times for Monday – Friday and the option of different times for Saturday – Sunday. Better than the 24 hour option, but no good if you want to alter different days.

7 day – the best option by far. The 7 day option offers the facility to set different times for each of the 7 days of the week. Fully flexible and gives the option to control heating times around your lifestyle.

The same RF technology is now available for hot water cylinders as shown below.

Danfoss RF Cylinder Thermostat

Danfoss RF Cylinder Thermostat

The standard mechanical thermostat is shown for completeness

Danfoss Mechanical Cylinder Thermostat

Danfoss Mechanical Cylinder Thermostat

The disadvantage of the mechanical setup is that it needs to be hard wired to the boiler controls. The saving in time and materials is much better if a. more expensive,  RF wireless cylinder thermostat is installed due to savings on labour charges.

The most radical and energy saving change to heating controls in recent years are the eTRV [Thermostatic Radiator Valve] and programmable TRV. These two devices offer full automation of each radiator. Before these valves were available it was a major task involving both plumbing and electrical works. at considerable cost, to create separate heating zones.

The eTRV is shown below

eTRV [Thermostatic Radiator Valve]

eTRV [Thermostatic Radiator Valve]

The eTRV is controlled by a remote device similar to a television remote control.

eTRV Remote Control Handset

eTRV Remote Control Handset

The eTRV actuator head can be fitted to many existing standard Thermostatic Radiator Valves. This makes retro-fitting a simple and cheap solution.

Check the link below for the eTRV compatibility guide


Programmable TRV.

The programmable TRV differs from the eTRV in that the time control function is fitted, individually, to each TRV actuator head. The picture below shows a programmable TRV.

Programmable TRV

Programmable TRV

These units again can be retro-fitted to many existing TRVs quickly and at little cost.

The great thing about eTRVs and programmable TRVs is that you can independently switch radiators on and off, regardless of the control settings of the boiler. An example of what can be done is as follows:

Boiler starts at 06:00 and is on until 23:00.

The upstairs TRVs are set to come on at 06:30 and go off at 08:30.

The downstairs radiators are set to come on at 07:00 and go off at 22:00

The upstairs radiators are set to come on at 21:30 and go off at 22:30

From the time settings above the boiler is in operation for 16 hours a day. However 50% of the radiators are only on for 3 hours. The heat demand from the boiler is therfore 100% for 3 hours and 50% for 13 hours.

Typical savings for a boiler consuming 60p worth of gas per hour are 3 x 60p = £1.80 and 13 x 30p = £3.90 total spend = £5.70

If standard radiator valves are installed, without intelligent controls, the same boiler demand would be 16 x 60p = £9.60 almost £4.00 more spent per day, over £27.00 per week, OVER £1400.00 PER YEAR.

With Programmable TRVs and eTRVs costing upto £15 to£40 per unit, they are not cheap. However the cost for a typical property with 3 bedrooms and with 12 radiators would be between £180.00 and £480.00. Still could be £900.00 better off in year one.

Please e-mail me or call me on 07901380746 if you need any further help or advice with heating controls.

Remember once money is spent on wasted energy, you can’t get a refund

Central Heating: S Plan and Y Plan wiring arrangements

There is often great confusion regarding the wiring of central heating systems.

The two most common are known as S Plan and Y Plan. The basic differences are the Y Plan has one three port valve supplying heating and/or hot water. The three port valve can look like a Y shape when looking at the schematic layout of pipework, as shown below.

Y-Plan-Water S-Plan-Water-300x208

The S Plan has two SEPARATE motorised valves, one for heating and one for hot water. These two valves can be independently controlled and switched. It is also possible to add further zones by adding additional thermostats and motorised valves to each circuit.

The wiring of both systems is reasonably uncomplicated if the following diagrams are followed. I have put these together with reference to most popular manufacturers instructions. Trying to mix and match different manufacturers equipment and instructions can be very confusing, and time consuming. The following diagrams are based on a standard 10 way wiring centre. I have included CPC details for all conductors for completeness.

The S Plan diagram is shown below.

S Plan Wiring Centre

The plan above includes provision for a second circulating pump. This may be the case in a larger property where pumped hot water is needed to avoid drawing off too much cold water on long pipe runs from the boiler.

The Y Plan system is less complicated as there is only one three port valve needed.

Y Plan Wiring Centre

The cost savings from installation of thermostatic and timer controls must not be under estimated. I have had Customers who have saved £20.00 PER WEEK in times of peak demand. It should cost between £125.00 and £350.00 to upgrade the heating and hot water control systems. Money well spent, and should be recovered within 12 months due to reduced gas consumption.

Please contact me if you need any further advice or have ideas to improve this article.

I have PDFs for the two wiring centre diagrams. E-mail me at aim.home@gmx.com if you would like copies.

I’ve also included a link to the Honeywell download page. The wiring guide PDF shows details of all available heating/hot water system configurations.



AIM – improving your world without costing the earth.

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