As UK urban areas connue to grow upwards in the form of highrise structures, as well as outwards in the guise of ogrid developments, there is increasing demand for electric boilers. To help meet these needs. Alan Clarke, technical support manager at Heatrae Sadia, outlines the benefits of electric boilers, and provides engineers with his best pracce installaon advice for electrical heang appliances

t is estimated that around four million households are not connected to the gas grid, as they are either in rural developments or high-rise buildings, and therefore require an alternative heating source. Electric boilers offer a valuable means of heating and hot water generation for those who can’t access mains gas. As a result, the dual capabilities of some electric boiler models make them uniquely suited for those living in rural developments.


With this demand for electric boilers on the rise, it is more important than ever that engineers are familiar with the process of specifying and fitting an electric boiler, especially as in London alone, more than 500 buildings of over 20 storeys are either planned or already under construction.

The right fit

An advantage of choosing electric heating over gas is that there are fewer restrictions, with no flueing, condensate, or plumbing issues to consider. In locations where space is tight, like high-rise buildings, the benefits of an electrical heating system become apparent.

However, it’s critical to assess the building’s surroundings before making any installation decisions. This includes considering water demands, as consumption habits have a big impact on the type of heating system required. Usually, electric boilers are heat-only, which means that a separate hot water tank is required to go alongside the product. Although there are some electric boilers that can provide both wet central heating and a hot water supply, such as Heatrae Sadia’s Electromax, it is important for heating engineers to match the system to the unique circumstances of the installation.


Above and beyond: the benefits of electric boilers

It is also crucial that the relevant building regulations are considered, in order to ensure that appliances are compliant. This involves research on where the heating system will be installed, but also checking for a third- party electrical assessment label on the boiler itself. This will help to provide assurances on construction, safety, quality, and performance of the product, and allow installers to provide the best possible solution to their customers.

Ensuring compliance

The wiring in older buildings can often be in poor condition, and it is therefore important to check that it is up to current standards. The risk of faulty wiring, particularly in high-rise buildings, which contain a high density of people, is devastating, and the onus is on heating engineers to contribute positively to electrical safety. The ratings of switches must also be considered and adjusted with electric boilers to ensure a safe installation. This is because they have a high-power usage and require their own dedicated circuit. Completing these checks is a critical part of an electrical boiler installation.

Another useful tip for engineers, which applies across all wet central heating systems, be they gas or electric, is to flush the system. This is because water that is already in the system could contaminate the replacement heating appliance, affecting performance and potentially causing damage. To future- proof a newly installed heating system, it is also recommended that engineers add an inhibitor, to guard against future corrosion.

Keep in touch

Regular maintenance can often be overlooked, especially in electric heating systems. Completing an installation does not signal the end of


a heating engineer’s job, and an annual service to the homeowner’s property should be arranged to ensure that everything is working correctly. While not mandatory, servicing electrical boilers is just as important as gas systems, to make sure that appliances continue to be safe and efficient.

Servicing involves checking the safety valves, the ancillary components, and the wiring, with special attention paid to any kind of discolouration. That’s because this can be a sign of a faulty connection or an incorrectly-sized cable – both of which can have severe consequences for the safety of everyone in the building.

What’s on the horizon?

With the demand for electrical heating systems increasing, the industry should view this as an opportunity to expand their customer base. It is a chance to upskill, but it is vital that the necessary safety measures are observed to prevent inefficient systems or danger to life.

One of the best ways for engineers to equip themselves for the likely increase in electrical boiler demand is to engage with manufacturer training courses, many of which are specifically geared towards electric heating systems. For example, the ‘system wiring and controls’ course, offered at Baxi training centres, is designed to give a greater understanding of central heating control systems, specifically the installation practice and fault diagnosis for S and Y plan systems.

By engaging with manufacturers on courses such as these, installers can ensure they are prepared for any electrical boiler work that may be required of them.

For more information on electrical boilers, visit: heating-and-ventilation/ electric-flow-boilers

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One of the best

ways for engineers to equip

themselves for the likely increase in electrical boiler demand is to engage with manufacturer training courses

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