What are you doing now to prepare for the 2050 net-zero carbon target? 

This week it would be nice to find out how installers foresee how we can prepare new installations for meeting the net-zero carbon targets set by the government.  
The first step will be moving towards the Part L requirement for 55°C water temperature for heating systems. The Part L requirement means we now need to be considering how we size our emitters as many would not work on future renewables.   
  

Systems need to change to match the heat loss. 

One challenge our industry faces is education. For years people have designed systems one way, but now we will be required to reduce the core temperatures but get the same output. Do people know what they are doing with these changes? As the government also wants to minimise system oversizing, making thresholds of error smaller. The number of end-users who tell me that their “Heat Pump does not work” is incredible. I then generally find out that they swapped out a standard boiler for a heat pump but didn’t change anything else. It’s essential to change the whole system, even the emitters, to match the heat loss. 
  

Get familiar with BEAMA.

It is also worth remembering that UFH systems with a thermal mass (screed installed) are already working on temperatures lower than 45°C and can even reduce lower than this. Why not put your trust (and design responsibility) into your supplier or manufacturer of the emitters to ensure they meet the properties heat losses. Use this link below to meet some of the premier UFH system suppliers, which can help you design your future-proof system. It is worth remembering BEAMA is the only UFH body out there bettering the industry.  
https://www.beama.org.uk/about-beama/member-directory.html?q=&productCategories=990EDB41-B662-472D-A70C63C5D8555C32&productSubCategories=2D748F71-2351-42A4-843A8E2F1D47C8FF  
 

Get ahead – start to make the change now. 

We need to ensure that we are sizing the emitters for this future change from today! Why wouldn’t we? Even now, it’s possible to use these low temperatures as modern modulating boilers can be reduced in temperature to increase efficiencies. So why not look at moving that temperature away from 80°C? 
Don’t forget the highest operational CO² emissions are found from inside the home (heating etc.). Our industry will face the most demanding challenges and hardest targets to meet the net carbon goal, so we may as well start now!   

Multipipe Manifold Plumbing

Unlike most other technologies, plumbing systems’ layout hasn’t made any significant leaps forward for decades. With this in mind, is it time you looked at a different way of getting water from point A to B?

What is Manifold Plumbing

Manifold plumbing is a different way of laying out your system with some significant advantages. Manifold plumbing is not new and is often used in heating systems in new builds where you have small bore pipes for radiators. But manifold plumbing is not just limited to radiators. Sanitary manifolds can also bring benefits to your taps.  
Plumbing manifolds are used to distribute hot and cold water to appliances around the building. Pipes run in continuous loops to and from the manifold to each piece of sanitary wear (sinks, baths, washing machines etc.) The only fittings in the system are at the appliance and the manifold.  

Individual Flow Control 

A key benefit of a manifold system is the ability for individual flow control. In the event of an issue, the individual appliances can be isolated whilst leaving the rest of the system fully operational.
 
At its most basic, manifold plumbing means that every appliance in the building can be connected from the manifold to the appliance with no fittings. The possibility of leaks is completely removed as there are no fittings between pipes, under floors or over ceilings.  

The Key Advantages of Manifold Plumbing 

 We have set out the key advantages of the two methods of using manifold plumbing below.  

Radiator Manifold Plumbing   

  • Centralised header pipe means sizing is far easier.   
  • The components used on a job are far less with even fewer variants. If you have a 10 rad system, you could be looking at over 60 fittings. In contrast, it would be around 50% with a manifold system but amazingly only 2 types! Manifold connection, end connections and the manifold.  
  • The pipe can be hidden; with a single run from point A to Point B, you can hide away all your pipes.  
  • It opens the option to control each room individually on a fully hard wired system. Also, opening up the perfect heating system for ground floor UFH and first-floor radiators, all off one control system.  
  • With a lockshield manifold variant, you can even balance your radiator at the manifold! No more unbalanced issues because changes been made out of your control.  

Domestic Manifold Plumbing  

  • With a dedicated run to each appliance, you can easily isolate at the manifold, making servicing easier and quicker (no more crawling under the sink to isolate).  
  • It fits in with water regulations of ensuring domestic pipes can be withdrawn by using pipe in conduit. (see: https://www.multipipe.co.uk/do-you-install-your-hot-and-cold-pipes-in-floors/ 
  • Domestic systems have random water demands; by having a larger header pipe, the pressure drops are much less, meaning a smaller reduction in flowrate when more than one appliance runs.  
  • Like the radiator, a lot fewer fittings are used. And typically, you are only using 2-3 pipe sizes.  
  • If you keep your manifold local to the rooms, hot water heat up times will be faster.  

In conclusion, a manifold connection takes the panic out of plumbing; there is no chance of water flooding into a building in an uncontrolled way. As each appliance has its own circuit of pipework, if the appliance leaks or is faulty, that circuit can be turned off. Your customer will not have to turn off the stopcock, make an emergency call and then wait stranded until their plumber can arrive. For installers, it can mean fewer emergency callouts, particularly over busy periods.