Eco Friendly Heating Systems – The Pros & Cons

Traditional heating systems are among the many sources of pollution, however, this became clear only in recent times. During the last decades, people have become more and more aware of the huge impact that these domestic appliances have on the environment. Moreover, traditional boilers can suffer from dangerous leakages of carbon monoxide, which is a common cause of poisoning.

Underfloor Heating in the home
Air pollution provoked by the gas emissions of our home boilers depends on the fuel used to produce heating. Heating systems have traditionally been powered by fossil fuels. This is one of the most widely used sources of energy and one of the major causes of air pollution. A wide range of heating appliances still use fossil fuels but people are increasingly opting for green heating solutions in place of traditional boilers. Eco-friendly heating appliances can be a great help in reducing pollution, but still have their pros and cons. Here is an overview of some of the most popular.

Biomass boilers

This type of eco-friendly boiler works similarly to common boilers with the only exception of the kind of fuel it uses. Biomass boilers, as the name suggests, were designed to replace fossil fuels with organic matter, which can be used to produce the same amount of heat generated by highly polluting fuels. The great advantage of using this kind of fuels is that they have little impact on the environment. Moreover, biomass boilers efficiency rate (90-95%) is equal to boilers using fossil fuels.

However, the use of biomass fuels is associated with indoor air pollution. According to recent studies, biomass emissions are associated with similar diseases to those commonly associated with toxic domestic cleaners, such as carpet cleaners, which are not considered safe. Many respiratory diseases, for example, have been related to the indoor inhalation of biomass smoke. However, there is not sufficient information about biomass smoke to confirm the relation between this supposedly eco-friendly source of energy and health diseases.

Heating pumps

Heating pumps are a very popular choice. This heating system uses 100% renewable energy. Heating pumps are divided into ground pumps and air source pumps according to the source of energy they use to produce heat. Unlike traditional boilers, heating pumps draw the energy from the environment and pump it into the heating system.

Ground source and air pumps work differently. The first extracts heat from the ground through a collector, heat is then pumped into a storage unit where it is collected and transferred to the heat exchanger to produce energy. What makes ground source pumps an effective heating system is that they exploit the heat accumulated under the surface, where the temperature is fairly constant all year long. The amount of energy heat pumps can produce exclusively depends on how much heat the pump can absorb from the ground. The larger the heating system, the more heat can be used.

Air source pumps too extract heat from the environment but unlike ground source pumps, these absorb heat from the air. This isn’t to say that the amount of energy produced depends on the outside temperature, as air source pumps are specifically designed to absorb a huge quantity of heat from air even in the cold weather. However, this kind of eco-friendly heating appliance will stop working if the temperature gets lower than about -15° C. Moreover, air source pumps have a lower efficiency rate than ground source pumps.

Heat pumps do need a small amount of fossil fuels to work, but, as it is less than that used by traditional or condensing boilers, means they drastically reduce polluting gas emissions.

Solar PV Panels

This eco-friendly heating solution is designed to produce heat from solar energy. Heat is absorbed by the panels, where it is converted into electricity by photovoltaic cells. The electricity produced is than used to run your boiler. The installation of solar panels is quite expensive but you can take several advantages from using solar energy to provide heating to your home. Using solar panels is a very effective way to provide an eco-friendly heating as it allows you to dispose of gas emissions and considerably cut down on energy bills.

Underfloor heating is compatible with each of the systems mentioned above, even working more efficiently than conventional heating systems when combined with heat sources that provide lower temperatures (such as ground source heat pumps).

This post was written and submitted by Speedy Gas, providing gas and heating services in London.

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