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Central heating in a house: distribution

The technique of the network distributing the heat to the radiators knew during the last decade of the last century important evolutions, with the development of pipes in synthetic material which considerably simplify the realization, henceforth more within reach of a handyman. On the other hand, the technique of low temperature heating floors and ceilings has, after a few mistakes at the start, a success in new construction that explains the quality of comfort that it brings for very competitive investment and use costs..

The network of pipelines

The heating power supplied by the boiler is distributed to the heat emitting devices (radiators or heated floors, mainly) through a network of pipes. Steel was used for a long time for pipes carrying hot water and returning cooled water, but it gave way to copper and, more recently, to synthetic materials, such as PER.

Copper pipes
Copper heating pipes can be made with hardened copper when exposed and with annealed copper when embedded. The tubes can be assembled:

  • by soldering on interlocking, using cuprophosphorus solder and a torch (820° C);
  • by mechanical connectionspreferably threaded bicones lined with Teflon tape.

Semi-flexible pipes in PER
PER semi-flexible pipes (cross-linked polyethylene) are assembled by means of specific mechanical connections.
Semi-flexible pipes in multilayer
These pipes are the latest and come in a strong breakthrough in the heating market.

Compared to a classic architecture, the installation of a wall-mounted suction-cup boiler with an

Installation in PER under floor

The architecture of a metal network
The architecture of a metal network can take several forms:

  • the monotube distribution in series, where the water leaving a radiator feeds the next, is no longer acceptable because it imposes an over-dimensioning radiators farthest from the boiler and proscribes the installation of thermostatic valves, since it does not allow an individual adjustment of radiators; the dimensioning of the radiators increases with the distance of the boiler;
  • single-pipe distribution in bypass allows the installation of thermostatic valves (in a very specific configuration); it imposes a very rigorous calibration of the radiators;
  • la twin-tube distribution remains the only one that makes it possible to exploit energy-saving techniques (low-temperature high-performance boilers, thermostatic control and programming); it is currently the most practiced...

The distribution by hydrocable network (in "octopus")
This system has taken a very fast extension, because of the significant savings it makes possible on the installation costs. Its simplicity of implementation makes it a technique well suited to the abilities of a good handyman.
Semi-flexible PE pipes (crosslinked polyethylene) are now guaranteed 50 years, allowing them to be drowned in a floor or to pass them behind a wall of doubling.

Functional accessories
The functional accessories ensure the connections between the boiler and the distribution network, as well as the safety reserves and maintenance possibilities of the installation.
If their number and importance differ according to the type of boiler and the distribution network architecture, always follow some basic rules:

  • the ideal network comprises onlyone low point and one high point and, if one can not help but have 2 or 3 high points, one must avoid at all costs having several low points;
  • equip each high point of a degasser and the low point of a drain cock, with drain connected to the sewer.

Heat emitters

Apart from their thermal efficiency, the modern user requires the devices that ensure the diffusion of heat in each room not to destroy the aesthetic harmony.

They are made with three metals that all have quite different characteristics:

  • the cast, in the classic style, is relatively expensive, but ensures a great thermal inertia, favorable to the effectiveness of a very summary regulation (by thermostatic valves);
  • aluminum offers modern shapes, with a modulation advantage, and its very low thermal inertia is well suited for very precise control systems;
  • l'steel, the cheapest, allows the most aesthetic forms, and its average thermal inertia accepts a good regulation by thermostat and programming.

Different types of radiators

The aesthetic research of the manufacturers allows the radiators to harmonize with the most diverse decorations, with colorful shapes (1), in headband (2)mirror (3) or in cloister (4) between kitchen and dining area.

Heating networks in low temperature floors
Heating networks low temperature floor are obviously those that pose no aesthetic problem. To benefit from all the thermal advantages of this technique, care must be taken to observe certain precautions:

  • split the floor into 2 elements when its surface exceeds 15 m²;
  • connect the circuit of each part or element to the return manifold (attached to the boiler) on a thermostatic valve, which can be motorized to be controlled by a very efficient control system.

Connecting accessories between boiler and heat distribution network

Components of a central heating system

Components of a central heating system

1. Circulator: accelerates the circulation of water in the circuit, to improve the distribution of heat.
2. Nitrogen expansion vessel: compensates for the pressure variations induced by the expansion of the heated water.
3. Manometric safety valve: ensures decompression of the circuit in case of overheating or overpressure.
4. Shutoff valve: allows intervention on the boiler without having to drain the circuit.
5. Antithermosiphon flap: stops the circulation of water in the circuit when the heating is not running and the boiler is only used for hot water.
6. Mixing valve: regulates the temperature of the water and prevents condensation in the furnace of the boiler, cause of corrosion.
Must not be installed with a condensing boiler.
7. Flexfast: ensures the connection between the expansion tank and the circuit and allows to deposit the vase without having to empty the installation.

(photos / visuals: © DYI-Prod, except special mention)

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