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Thread: Central heating

  1. #1
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    Jul 2015
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    Default Central heating

    Central heating only became mainstream in the late 1960s. The choice was between a hot air system or a wet system with radiators. Hot air systems were installed mainly in new build houses whereas wet systems were installed in both new build and existing houses. Conventional gas boilers were floor mounted and almost the size of a washing machine so could be difficult to install. An alternative was a back boiler fitted into a hole in the wall behind a gas fire.

    Baxi launched the Bermuda back boiler in 1966 which revolutionised central heating, and millions were installed between the late 1960s and the late 1980s. They were very popular for the following reasons:

    1. They were small and unobtrusive as they were hidden in a hole in the wall behind a gas fire.

    2. There were a large number of houses with redundant coal fires that already provided an ideal hole to contain a back boiler.

    3. They were found to be very reliable.

    The success of the Baxi Bermuda resulted in other manufacturers also producing back boilers but Baxi held an estimated 80% of the market.

    Sales of back boilers fell into decline in the late 1980s because conventional boilers had shrunk in size and the market for them had decreased due to an increase in the number of houses with redundant coal fires having central heating. Conventional boilers were almost always chosen for new builds after 1980.

    Back boilers always require a hot water cylinder so demand for them fell even further when combi boilers became mainstream around 1990. Another problem with back boilers is very poor energy efficiency due to their design. Conventional boilers of 1990 were significantly more efficient than those from 1970 but the energy efficiency of back boilers had barely improved over the same 20 year period. In 2005 the Building Regulations changed and all new and replacement boiler installations had to use high efficiency condensing boilers. This ultimately resulted in the end of back boilers although thousands are still in use today as a testimony to their reliability and the cost and expense of replacing them with modern boilers.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Central heating

    A Baxi Bermuda 551 back boiler removed from a house in the West Midlands earlier this year.

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails BaxiBermuda1.jpg   BaxiBermuda2.jpg   BaxiBermuda3.jpg   BaxiBermuda4.jpg  

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
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    UK
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    Default Re: Central heating

    We had under-floor heating in the 70s - not very efficient!
    Time flies like the wind, fruit flies like bananas - go figure!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Central heating

    We didn't have any form of central heating until early 1992. It was a wet system consisting of a combi boiler and 7 radiators. I can't remember exactly, but is there a make called Vallance or similar? We had that boiler until 2008 when we took advantage of a government scheme where old boilers were replaced gratis, so that is the one we have now, but same radiators as we had in 1992.

  5. #5
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    Oct 2017
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    Nottingham, UK
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    Default Re: Central heating

    I have to admit that central heating feels a lot safer to me than a gas fire - the radiators are safe enough to dry clothes on, but I would not recommend doing that in front of a gas fire. At my old place we had one in every room except the living room where we had the gas fire.

    In my flat I have a radiator in every room, and a big boiler in the cupboard so I get a nice hot running bath when I need one, and almost warm radiators - I say almost because when I have it off all summer due to the hot weather, I have to contact Maintenance at the local Housing Association when it gets colder in October or November each year to get someone to put the heating back on because it seems to stop working at some point during the summer. Last year we had that cold spell and the man couldn't get to my flat - I was so cold and worried about getting hypothermia that I went out to Argos and got myself a portable heather, and they are obviously not very friendly on your electricity bill for obvious reasons!

    At my old place we had our annual gas safety check (spring clean the gas fire elements etc), and the man had found evidence of a gas leak, so someone else had to come out a couple of days later, although there was nothing really to worry about.
    I am now in my 40s (just in case anyone asks).

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Central heating

    The room with the gas fire and back boiler did not have a radiator. This was quite common in houses with back boilers as it was assumed that the gas fire would heat the room. A radiator has now been installed in the room as a decision was made not to have a gas fire after the boiler was replaced as it's something else that needs servicing or can go wrong.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Central heating

    By the way, I am not too fond of those bare floorboards in Arran's first picture - they certainly need a bit of varnish on them, or even better, a bit of laminate flooring!
    I am now in my 40s (just in case anyone asks).

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Central heating

    Quote Originally Posted by George 1978 View Post
    I was so cold and worried about getting hypothermia that I went out to Argos and got myself a portable heather
    Or indeed, a portable heater even. I should have hoped it was a lucky heather for all my troubles.
    I am now in my 40s (just in case anyone asks).

  9. #9
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    Apr 2009
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    Stockport
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    5,116

    Default Re: Central heating

    My Aunt & Uncle had a hot air system until they found the annual servicing costs were too much & had it replaced by central heating. Also my cousin's allergies were made worse by it blowing so much dust into the air.
    The Trickster On The Roof

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Central heating

    Quote Originally Posted by George 1978 View Post
    By the way, I am not too fond of those bare floorboards in Arran's first picture - they certainly need a bit of varnish on them, or even better, a bit of laminate flooring!
    The room had a carpet but it was too disgusting and dirty to photograph.

    The pump was installed in the most inconvenient and inaccessible location possible underneath the floorboards. It was located using a stethoscope and part of the brickwork had to be demolished in order to access it.



    That pump looks original 1970s and it still works. It would have been very difficult and time consuming to replace if it had failed.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Pump1.jpg   Pump2.jpg   Pump3.jpg  

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