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Heating systems that save electricity

21 October 2014 / 18:10:23  GRReporter
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On the threshold of winter and in view of the problems that have arisen in recent years due to the economic crisis, one of which is the increased cost of fuel, it would be appropriate to present the options of safe, healthy and economical heating.

50%-70% of total electricity consumption in buildings is due to heating, the most commonly used heating system being a natural gas or oil boiler.

70% of buildings in Greece were built before 1980 whereas the heating insulation requirements have been correctly applied only after 1990. As a result, there are increased energy losses from the walls, windows and doors, roof and floors of the buildings.

In the majority of cases, the boilers are old and of low efficiency, and there is not enough ventilation in the premises where they are installed. Consequently, in addition to the waste of energy, there is also an increased risk of carbon monoxide asphyxiation.

Among other things, the poor or insufficient maintenance of the heating systems, due to financial difficulties or to the lack of agreement between the inhabitants of the block of flats, is also a serious problem.

As a result, citizens use the heating systems rarely or in the wrong way, or choose totally inappropriate heating systems that sometimes endanger health and life, which unfortunately we have witnessed in recent years. At the same time, some wise guys have found a way to sell a variety of heating systems of unknown origin, capacities and quality, deceiving people with false information.

Tips for saving energy when heating premises

In order to save electricity, but also to achieve thermal comfort, heat losses must be limited to the frame and openings of the building. This can be achieved by installing insulation and double energy insulation frames.  

In addition, if you have the financial ability, you should check whether you could replace the old and inefficient systems with new, higher efficiency ones.

The most economical heating systems according to their importance are the following: energy efficient heat pumps, e.g. individual air conditioning systems with energy class Α or higher, biomass boilers (not stoves or fireplaces, especially the open ones) and natural gas boilers (especially condensing boilers).

The most expensive heating systems are open fireplaces, electric boilers and all types of heating appliances that are suitable for heating a single room and not the whole flat or building.

If you replace the old boilers with new, higher efficiency ones, (using oil, natural gas or biomass), you can achieve energy savings of up to 20%.

If you change the type of fuel (natural gas or biomass), you can save another 5% of energy and in some cases, over 50% of costs.

All this however requires investing resources and gaining the appropriate information. As to the information, citizens can turn to engineers and energy inspectors, and can check the funding options of the programme "Economising at home" that provides subsidies of up to 70% of the value of the activities.  

In addition to the above, we must consider the following points related to zero or low-value energy consumption:

  • If there is autonomous heating, the thermostat should be set at approximately 20° C. Each additional degree consumes 7% more energy.
  • Installing automated devices such as compensation systems, thermostatic valves, etc. can bring considerable savings of energy and consumption of up to 20% - 30%.
  • Heating devices should not be covered, nor should they be placed close to furniture, because this significantly reduces their effectiveness.
  • Rooms should not be ventilated too much - half an hour or an hour a day is enough.
  • Shutters must remain closed during the cold winter nights to retain heat in the room.
  • It is advisable to use sunlight to heat the building, allowing the sun to enter through the windows that are exposed to the south.
  • In all cases, in order for a heating system to function well it must be inspected, at least annually, by a certified specialist who will issue a certificate of maintenance, based on the existing legislation, by measuring the degree of efficiency, the carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide content, and other parameters.
  • The proper maintenance of heating systems achieves at least 5% energy savings, ensuring at the same time their smooth, safe and healthy functioning.
Tags: Heating systemsEnergy savingGas boilersBiomass
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