Types of Heating - Space

There are two main heating systems commonly found in Aberdeenshire Council properties. These are often referred to as Wet Systems or Dry Systems and the different types of systems are detailed below:

For Wet Systems (normally involving a boiler):

  • Gas central heating
  • Oil fired central heating
  • LPG central heating system
  • Solid fuel central heating
  • Electric Wet Central Heating

For Dry Systems:

  • Electric storage heaters
  • Electric under floor heating
  • Electric ceiling heating
  • Gas warm air heating system
  • Electric warm air heating system

The difference mainly found between wet and dry systems is that Wet Systems use heated water to transfer heat to all parts of the building (invariably via radiators or under floor heating), whereas Dry Systems use heated air, which is convected into the room demanding heat.

The choice of heating system chosen will affect space heating efficiency levels, the amount of moisture produced and the running costs involved. It is worth remembering at this point that if you planning to replace your boiler then an A-rated condensing appliance as this will significantly reduce heating bills in any type of property, when installed with the correct controls; since May 2007, building regulations have specified that all new boiler installations should be condensing boilers, unless in exceptional circumstances. Please also see the pages on grants to check if there are any schemes to assist you in the installation of a new heating system.

With regards to choice, it is worthwhile considering that there are many areas within Scotland where the choice of heating system is very restricted due to the lack of availability of natural gas. This is particularly the case in many rural areas of Aberdeenshire where there is a large amount of electric heating and also Oil and LPG fired central heating, which is more expensive than natural gas, this means that making your property as energy efficient as possible is of great importance.

Wet Heating Systems Control


This controls when the central heating system comes on and goes off, thereby heating the building and hot water. A programmer should be installed with a new heating system; this allows the user to control the times the heating comes on and off. Allowances should be made with these on/off times for what is known as the ‘heating up’ and ‘cooling down’ times of the property concerned. As a rule of thumb the heating should be programmed for half an hour before you need the heating on (e.g. 30 minutes before you get up/get home from work) and should be programmed to go off half an hour before it is no longer required.

Room Thermostat

The room thermostat controls the temperature of the building.

The room thermostat is frequently located in a cool part of the building. It is sited on the wall, at eye level, away from a heat source (such as a radiator or in direct sunlight) and out of draughts.

It should be set at between 18oC-21oC.

When the room has reached the desired temperature, the remainder of the building is deemed to be at the same, if not a higher, temperature. The room thermostat sends a signal to the programmer to shut down the space heating part of the system.

The room thermostat should not be used as an on/off switch for the heating.  It is there as a method of control and to enhance the energy efficiency of a heating system. It is not a substitute for switching the heating off if heat levels are acceptable.

Boiler Thermostat

The boiler thermostat controls the temperature of the water heated by the boiler, thereby preventing the boiler from overheating. It is found on or very near to the boiler. The boiler thermostat can be turned down slightly during the summer months when there is less demand for space heating.

Thermostatic Radiator Valve (TRV)

A TRV controls the temperature of the room in which it is located.

A TRV is fitted to the in-flow pipe of the radiator and it can be set for different temperatures. TRVs fitted to radiators will improve energy efficiency of the heating system. When the room reaches the desired temperature the TRV closes a valve on the in-flow pipe and hot water from the boiler bypasses that radiator.

TRVs are designed with a simple numerical scale (normally 1-5) and not temperature levels: generally the number 3 equates to 21oC. All TRV’s have a frost setting (sometimes indicated by a snowflake) that should be set if you go away in the wintertime. The lower these levels can be set, where thermal comfort levels are still acceptable, the more energy will be saved. A TRV should not be fitted on the radiator in the same room as the room thermostat.

Hot Water Cylinder Thermostat

The hot water cylinder thermostat controls the temperature of the water in the cylinder.

It is located towards the bottom of the cylinder, usually strapped to the outside. It should not be covered by any of the tank insulation. On the thermostat is a small dial than can be set at different temperatures. The recommended setting is 60oC.

If the cylinder has a fitted insulation cover, the thermostat may be found on the hot water pipe outlet coming out of the top of the cylinder. Many buildings have their hot water cylinder thermostat set too high, and resulting in unnecessary energy use. If you have a combination boiler then there will be no hot water cylinder, however, the temperature control will be on the boiler.

Dry Heating Systems Control

Electric Storage Heater Controls

Output Control

This is always the control on the left of the two switches/buttons.

The output control does not govern how much heat the heater gives off after it has been charged up; once the heater is hot it will begin to radiate heat to the room. Instead, the output control governs the rate at which heat is convected into the room.

The higher the setting, the more quickly the heat will be convected into the room.

Input Control

This is always the control on the right of the two switches/buttons.

The input control is responsible for governing how much energy/electricity is used to charge the storage heater during the low-tariff period, usually between approximately 11.00pm and 7.00am.

The higher the setting the more charge the heater will take in the low rate period.

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