The quality of central heating in apartment buildings does not always suit residents. KP tells how you can improve the heating of the apartment with your own hands
Central heating, the most common in apartment buildings, has a number of disadvantages. First of all, this concerns not always efficient operation and maintenance during the cold season.
Autonomous heating of an apartment has its advantages, however, even here homeowners face serious difficulties. If the owner of the apartment decided to completely abandon the central heating, he will have to obtain permission from the relevant regulatory authorities for this, which is quite difficult to do. Unauthorized shutdown of the components of the in-house heating system is an administrative offense and is punishable by law. To collect all the necessary documents, you should decide from the very beginning which heating system you want to use in your apartment.
There are three main types of residential heating: water, electric and gas. The most common are water and electricity, since centralized gas supply is not present in all homes. In high-rise buildings with more than 9 floors, gas supply is prohibited in order to increase safety.
Water heating of the apartment
The principle of operation of water heating is based on the use of a coolant, which is heated water or less often antifreeze. The coolant enters the apartments centrally through a separate line. Water heating has its advantages and disadvantages. The benefits include:
Placement of the heating boiler outside the heated room;
Such heating does not take up much space, as radiators, underfloor heating, etc. are used;
Closure of the heating system, so there is no need to top up the coolant during operation
Disadvantages of water heating:
Possible breaks and leaks of the coolant;
a long period of warming up the house from scratch;
the formation of plaque and precipitation on heating devices, which reduces heat transfer
However, in general, the advantages of water heating far outweigh its disadvantages.
Heating radiators (batteries)
Radiators (in everyday life — batteries) are devices for heating an apartment or house in which a heated liquid coolant (antifreeze or water) circulates. The use of sections of a certain design allows you to increase the surface of the radiator, which contributes to greater heat transfer and efficient heating of the room. These devices have proven their advantages, for example, over stove heating, so they are always in demand.
What are apartment heating radiators?
Exist cast iron, aluminum, bimetallic and steel radiators. Most often, cast iron and aluminum radiators are used in apartments.
Cast iron battery less susceptible to increased acidity of water, which increases its service life up to 50 years or more. The operation of such a radiator is highly stable, regardless of the type of coolant. Due to the large capacity of the cast-iron battery, it has a high heat dissipation.
Cast iron radiators
Cast iron is resistant to any coolant and is durable
aluminum radiator has a small weight due to the use of modern materials. For one section, 0.5 liters of coolant is enough, which ensures its savings. Such a radiator quickly heats up and cools down. It has a relatively low cost and organically fits into the modern design of the apartment.
High heat dissipation, light weight and attractive appearance
Bimetal radiator combines the advantages of aluminum and steel radiator. Steel pipes are used here to transport the coolant, and aluminum panels are used to increase heat transfer. Such batteries are lighter than cast iron, but heavier than aluminum.
Stylish appearance, reasonable cost and long service life
steel radiator has a modern design and is able to heat a room with an efficiency of up to 90%. However, it also has significant drawbacks. A steel radiator is undesirable for use in a central heating system due to its poor compatibility with high pressure. It is also not recommended to leave the battery without coolant, because corrosion quickly forms inside.
Steel is the most ductile and durable material compared to other metals.
When should batteries be changed?
The primary reason for replacing the battery in the apartment is leak. Even a few drops that appear on the radiator require drastic measures, as the drops will quickly turn into a stream that can flood the living space.
If the interior of the apartment is updated, the owners often carry out major repairs with the replacement of all radiators. A similar situation occurs when the entire heating system in the house is modernized. In this case, it is better to replace cast-iron batteries with more modern ones (aluminum or bimetallic).
When the apartment is cold with the onset of the heating season with the heating turned on, you should also install a new radiator with greater heat dissipation or with a large number of sections. During use, paint may peel off the battery, which will lead to rust and further leakage. In this case, it is desirable to replace the radiator.
If the heating system in the apartment does not leak, it is best to change it when the heating in the house is turned off, i.e. from May to September. In new buildings, apartment heating is used, in which case the replacement of radiators is possible throughout the year.
How to choose the type of radiator for an apartment?
In the apartment it is better to use bimetallic, cast iron and aluminum radiators. The use of steel radiators in an apartment building is undesirable, since their operating pressure is only 6–8 atmospheres, and in a central heating system, pressure can increase up to 10 atmospheres. This can lead to deformation of the collector.
How to calculate the number of sections for a room?
The number of radiators usually corresponds to the number of windows in the room. To calculate the number of battery sections, you need to know the heat transfer power of one section. It is indicated in the technical characteristics of the radiator. For a cast-iron battery, the heat transfer of one section is 140 W, for more modern ones — 170 W or more. You can calculate the number of radiator sections, knowing the area or volume of the room.
For heating 1 sq. m. area requires thermal energy of 100 watts. Suppose the heat transfer of one section is 170 watts. If the room area is 18 sq. m, we get: 18 x 100 / 170 = 10.6. So, you need 11 sections with a power of 170 watts.
For heating 1 cu. m of the room requires 41 watts. If the ceiling height in an apartment of 18 sq. m is 2.5 m, then its volume will be: 18 x 2.5 = 45 cu. m. Let’s calculate the number of sections: 45 x 41 / 170 = 10.8. That is, again, 11 sections are required.
There is also a system of coefficients that allows you to make calculations more accurate. These include: the coefficient of thermal insulation of walls, the ratio of the area of windows and the floor in the room, the coefficient that takes into account the glazing of window openings, etc.
How to replace regular heating radiators?
If the owner of the apartment has decided to change the heating radiator on his own, he should adhere to the following scheme.
1. Before you start changing the batteries, you need to make sure that the employees of the management company have shut off the coolant supply and drained the liquid from the riser. You will also need a container to drain the remaining water from the radiator.
2. Dismantling the old battery is as follows. Tighten the locknut until it stops, which fixes the radiator. Pipes are cut according to pre-made marks, it is necessary to leave at least one centimeter of thread. The cutting edges must be even and free of burrs. Remove the battery from the brackets and remove the old brackets.
3. Before installing a new radiator, the following requirements must be met: there must be a gap of at least 15 cm between the battery and the window sill; the distance between the floor and the radiator is not less than 10–15 cm; a gap of 3–4 cm is left between the body of the device and the wall, which is adjusted using brackets.
4. Radiator assembly involves the following operations:
the lower opening of the battery is closed with a plug, and a Mayevsky crane is mounted on the upper pipe;
special nuts with right and left threads are mounted on the radiator inlets using seals for sealing;
the battery is installed on the stand in such a way that it is possible to connect the adapter nuts to the ball valves;
markings are made for the brackets, holes are drilled in the wall and all 4 brackets are installed;
the radiator is connected to the supply pipes, carefully sealing all connections, and hung on the brackets.
Ivan Gladyrev, head of the “Construction” direction of the online store “Your House”
Water type heating has proven its effectiveness due to its high quality, low cost and safety. It complies with sanitary and hygienic standards, so it is most often used in residential buildings. In older apartment buildings, central heating is used. Modern high-rise buildings may be connected to a similar heating system or have their own boiler room. In this case, the CHP or boiler house is a source of heat and runs on fuel. Heat is sent through pipes to apartments and is given off by heating devices to radiators. The coolant is found in the form of water, steam, air. Now the market offers special radiators, combined, where both water and electric heating are used. This is very convenient when the centralized has not yet been served, you can safely turn on the electric heating.
Maxim Tretyachenko, fitter for repair and installation of heating networks
Water heating is a classic. This is what we work with the most. And I must say that installing a water heating system is the easiest — for this, every hardware store has all the necessary materials. Moreover, such heating can be different depending on the layout of the apartment and the budget.
Electric heating of the apartment
Electric heating of the apartment is based on the work of electric current. The current entering the heating device experiences the resistance of the conductor. As a result, part of the electricity is converted into thermal energy, and the room is heated. Electric heating of the apartment can be used independently or in unity with water heating. Electric heating has the following advantages:
Great speed and availability of setting the required temperature; it becomes possible to set the required heating mode for each room separately; electrical appliances have a large heating range, from the lowest to the highest temperatures; electric heaters provide a silent mode of operation, with the exception of fan heaters; electricity guarantees an environmentally friendly option for heating an apartment
What electric heaters are used in the apartment?
There are a large number of household electric heaters that allow you to provide a comfortable temperature in the apartment. These include:
thermal air curtain;
AT convector heaters properties of cold and warm air are used. The electric convector can be floor-mounted or wall-mounted. Cold air enters the unit through the bottom slot, and heated air exits through the top slot. The air temperature is controlled by a special thermostat.
Electric convectors operate silently and quickly warm up the room. Their efficiency reaches 99%, and the service life is 25–30 years. They are safe, easy to use and affordable. At the same time, convectors are energy-intensive and are able to heat small rooms. Over time, their power drops, and they dry the air in the apartment.
Oil heaters are a source of soft heat, since the heating temperature of their body does not exceed 60 degrees. This electrical appliance is used, as a rule, to heat one room, it does not dry the air and can work for several days in a row, maintaining the set temperature.
The oil heater is easy to operate and is a battery filled with mineral oil, which is heated by a special device located inside the case. The power of the heater ranges from 1 to 2.5 kW, so it should be selected depending on the area of the room. The design is equipped with a safety thermostat that protects the device from overheating.
Quartz heaters are made from quartz sand, so they have a high degree of environmental friendliness. They do not dry the air at all, since the chromium-nickel heating coil is located inside the quartz plate. The high heat capacity of the material allows you to heat the room for 40 minutes after turning off the device.
The consumption of electricity is quite low (only 0.4 kW per hour is required to heat a room of 18 sq. m). Affordable price is combined with a long service life (more than 25 years). The heater can also be used in wet rooms (bath, toilet, balcony, kitchen). The disadvantage is the weight of the device (about 12 kg).
The peculiarity of infrared heaters is that they do not heat the air itself, but the surrounding objects, which then transfer their heat to the air. Infrared radiation destroys harmful bacteria and has a beneficial effect on human health, provided that the power and location of the device are correctly selected. Significant energy savings are due to the fact that the heater acts locally, maintaining the desired temperature in a given area.
An infrared heater is most often placed on the ceiling, and this saves space. It practically does not break, as it lacks complex electrical parts. The device is compact in size, easy to use and install.
How to calculate the required power of heaters?
The power of electric heaters is calculated based on the standard conditions of the apartment: temperature 20 degrees Celsius, typical thermal insulation of the room, ceiling height no more than 2 m 70 cm. In this case, you can use the following table:
up to 10 sq. m
8–15 sq. m
10–18 sq. m
15–22 sq. m
18–25 sq. m
22–30 sq. m
How to find out the total maximum allowable load on the network?
The maximum load on the electrical network must be known in order to correctly select the wires for wiring, as well as to select the desired automatic fuse.
Calculation of the load on the network is carried out as follows. It is required to add the power of all electrical devices and divide them by the voltage in the network. As a result, we will get the current strength, on the basis of which we can find out whether the electrical cable is correctly selected and whether the network is overloaded.
Do you need additional wiring for heating?
With electric heating of an apartment, you should know the information about the cable that is laid from the meter to electrical appliances, switches and sockets. The location of the cable must comply with all modern standards. It is undesirable to use wiring from different metals, which can lead to oxidation of the contacts. If different metals are used, then connecting terminals must be used. The most reliable cable is copper.
In the event that the calculation of the total maximum allowable load on the network shows its congestion, then additional wiring for heating is needed. As a rule, a separate cable has to be pulled to each electrical appliance whose power exceeds 5 kW.
Ivan Gladyrev, head of the “Construction” direction of the online store “Your House”
You need to understand that electric heating in an apartment will cost much more than city centralized water heating. For a large area, devices of sufficiently high power are needed, if you put several, with a lower power, the load on the network increases. If you correctly calculate the intensity of electric heaters and their placement, set the economy mode, correctly distribute them among the rooms, use additional thermostats, you can significantly reduce electricity consumption, reduce the load on the network and enjoy your individual heating system! But, in my opinion, it will be more expensive than centralized water heating. Electric heating is resorted to at moments of early cooling, before the supply of the central one, or if there is simply no other way to heat the room.
Maxim Tretyachenko, fitter for repair and installation of heating networks
I would not advise choosing this type of heating (although there are still those who wish). Its installation is a very time-consuming process, and the equipment itself is expensive, consumes a lot of energy and can suffer from power outages. And in cities with unstable electricity supply or voltage fluctuations in the network, there is a risk of being left without heating, this is a very unreliable system — especially in the cold seasons of the year.
Gas heating of the apartment
In some cases, gas heating of the apartment is also possible, however, this is fraught with great difficulties. To disconnect an apartment from central heating, it is necessary to collect a whole package of documents and often defend your rights in court, which is associated with additional costs. Therefore, gas heating is mainly used in private homes.
Popular questions and answers
Is it possible to completely abandon water heating?
Ivan Gladyrev: “If the apartments already have central water heating, I don’t see the point in this. With a strong desire, of course, you can. The essence of such heating is that water circulates through pipes, and it will not be easy to remove radiators from the walls without disturbing the circulation of water to other floors, apartments, and there will definitely be a lot of questions from utilities. It is possible to completely abandon water heating, it is important to understand what budget is allocated for this issue and what it is for.”
Maxim Tretyachenko: “I think no. It’s a reliable system, secure, and works virtually flawlessly.”
Can heat guns be used in an apartment?
“Heat guns,” shares his opinion Ivan Gladyrev, — they are used in an apartment when installing stretch ceilings, in cases where it is necessary to dry the walls, for example, after a flood or in some other force majeure situations. They are not used for heating in city apartments due to the strong drying of the air, impact noise. It will simply be impossible to be in the room!
I agree with him and Maxim Tretyachenko: “I do not recommend this type of heating devices — heat guns are very hot, always under pressure, they can emit combustion products, for which special equipment will have to be installed to remove them. In addition, they should not be left unattended and stored in small enclosed spaces. For heating small residential buildings, and even more so apartments, this is far from the most convenient unit.
How can I close or paint radiators in an apartment?
Maxim Tretyachenko: “Batteries of any shape, size and color can be found in any hardware store. If desired, you can order an individual design at the factory and not suffer from repainting pipes. But if there are small cosmetic defects that you want to eliminate right here and now, a special heat-resistant powder paint is well suited. And in order to hide the entire battery, you can use special decorative screens with a HDF box.
“Today in the construction market,” advises Ivan Gladyrev, — a wide range of special radiator boxes, grilles. For painting use special radiator colors. They withstand high temperatures, unlike conventional interior paints, they do not turn yellow.”