Facts about central heating
A central heating system provides warmth to the whole interior of a building (or portion of a building) from one point to multiple rooms. When combined with other systems in order to control the building climate, the whole system may be an HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system.
Central heating differs from space heating in that the heat generation occurs in one place, such as a furnace room in a house or a mechanical room in a large building (though not necessarily at the "central" geometric point). The heat is distributed throughout the building, typically by forced-air through ductwork, by water circulating through pipes, or by steam fed through pipes.
The most common method of heat generation involves the combustion of fossil fuel in a furnace or boiler. Increasingly, buildings utilize solar-powered heat sources, in which case the distribution system normally uses water circulation.
In much of the temperate climate zone, most new housing has come with central heating installed since the Second World War, at least. Such areas normally use gas heaters, district heating, or a oil-fired system, often using forced-air systems. Steam-heating systems, fired by coal, oil or gas, are also used, primarily for larger buildings. Electrical heating systems occur less commonly and are practical only with low-cost electricity or when ground source heat pumps are used. Considering the combined system of central generating plant and electric resistance heating, the overall efficiency will be less than for direct use of fossil fuel for space heating.
To define and secure boilers safely, some professional specialized organizations such as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) develop standards and regulation codes. For instance, the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code is a standard providing a wide range of rules and directives to ensure compliance of the boilers and other pressure vessels with safety, security and design standards.5
Historically, boilers were a source of many serious injuries and property destruction due to poorly understood engineering principles. Thin and brittle metal shells can rupture, while poorly welded or riveted seams could open up, leading to a violent eruption of the pressurized steam. When water is converted to steam it expands to over 1,000 times its original volume and travels down steam pipes at over 100 kilometres per hour. Because of this, steam is a great way of moving energy and heat around a site from a central boiler house to where it is needed, but without the right boiler feed water treatment, a steam-raising plant will suffer from scale formation and corrosion. At best, this increases energy costs and can lead to poor quality steam, reduced efficiency, shorter plant life and unreliable operation. At worst, it can lead to catastrophic failure and loss of life. Collapsed or dislodged boiler tubes can also spray scalding-hot steam and smoke out of the air intake and firing chute, injuring the firemen who load the coal into the fire chamber. Extremely large boilers providing hundreds of horsepower to operate factories can potentially demolish entire buildings.
A boiler that has a loss of feed water and is permitted to boil dry can be extremely dangerous. If feed water is then sent into the empty boiler, the small cascade of incoming water instantly boils on contact with the superheated metal shell and leads to a violent explosion that cannot be controlled even by safety steam valves. Draining of the boiler can also happen if a leak occurs in the steam supply lines that is larger than the make-up water supply could replace. The Hartford Loop was invented in 1919 by the Hartford Steam Boiler and Insurance Company as a method to help prevent this condition from occurring, and thereby reduce their insurance claims
Each of us may be surprised by a sudden increase in bills for consumed water. Then we begin to look for its causes. Establishing such reasons may not be straight, even though access to some of them is made possible by the establishment of independent observations. This is an example where the cause of the suspiciously large bills for consumed water is getting through the washing machine too much water. Then, to improve our household budget can allow repair washing machines made by a plumber. During his visit he may also review the hydraulic in the bathroom, which may help to detect some additional problems. Such a problem can be a water leak.