Heating systems for smaller homes

Heating systems for smaller homes

It is vital that heating systems are appropriately selected for smaller homes, whilst still meeting the needs of the people who live there. Bill Jones, Sales Director at Potterton, discusses the available options.

More people are living under one roof than ever before. According to the Intergenerational Foundation think tank, over 500,000 households have at least three generations living in the same house, and that number is expected to rise to 556,000 by 2019.

In light of this, properties with separate annexes are increasing in popularity, as they allow young people who are living with family to retain some independence. They are also an option for families who need to care for elderly relatives, hence the term ‘granny flat’.

As space tends to be at a premium in these properties, specifiers must ensure the heating systems they choose are small and compact, while also being suitable and efficient. For elderly residents in particular, they need to be sufficiently heated and provide a comfortable, homely environment. In addition to heating, annexes will usually have a bathroom or wet room and there are a few options for how to cater for the hot water demand.

It is possible to run an insulated pipe from the main home on a separate heating zone for independent time and temperature control. However, every time hot water is required in the annexe, the occupier will have to ‘run off’ a lot of cold water in the pipe, which could make for expensive water bills. Also, the main boiler may not be powerful enough to meet the demand of two properties – resulting in an oversized system if the annexe is vacated.

Potterton’s Promax Ultra Combi

Smaller solutions
Luckily, help is at hand, with smaller boilers available on the market today that still maintain the highest levels of efficiency and ease of installation, whilst adhering to new legislative changes. Potterton’s new Ultra Heat boiler, for example, is the lightest boiler available in the UK, weighing only 19.5kg. Its lightweight nature ensures that it can be lifted by one person unaided, allowing the installation process to be fast and efficient, reducing the need and cost for multiple installers in the process. An easy fit wall mounting bracket means a robust fix so you know it’s secure.

Due to its compact size, it can also be installed discreetly in the home, fitting effortlessly into a standard kitchen cupboard or wherever the design team deem appropriate. The boiler is also fully modulating and highly efficient, offering excellent performance under the SAP calculation framework; thereby allowing housebuilders to comply with Building Regulations cost-effectively.

Energy performance
If you do any building work to a home which creates (or combines) a separate dwelling that has heating, hot water or air conditioning, then you will need to provide an Energy Performance Certification (EPC) for the home.

With tighter regulations coming into force in April 2018 regarding EPCs, it’s more important than ever to select a modern, top-performing boiler that can boost the overall rating of the property.

Pole position
The Ultra Heat is available in outputs from 12 to 24kW. To give you some indication, an 18kW boiler should be more than sufficient for an annexe with two small bedrooms and a wet room. A two-year warranty is also included for peace of mind.    

Most importantly, it does not require a pump overrun or permanent live, so can be sited virtually anywhere in the home, with front and side access enabling quick and easy servicing and maintenance. This also ensures that the boiler can be positioned in the best location without compromising space.

“Specifiers must ensure the heating systems they choose are small and compact, while also being suitable and efficient.”

With multigenerational living on the rise, the traditional concept of the family home will continue to change and evolve. It is therefore imperative for developers to look at the most efficient and cost-effective solution for the property size, whilst making sure the system is futureproofed. By ensuring that the heating system chosen is suitable for the size of property and the type of household, an appropriate amount of hot water is delivered, space is maximised and the homeowner isn’t left disappointed.


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