Gas boilers are the main source of heating and hot water in millions of UK homes – and they continue to be fitted in new build and refurbishment projects nationwide. Sean Keleher, National Technical Manager at Navien, explains how the latest models have advanced.
Demand for gas boilers, in particular, is showing no signs of slowing down; indeed, the industry has seen an 18.7% increase in volume year-on-year, according to the Energy & Utilities Alliance (EUA). * As the fourth-largest manufacturer of boilers in the world, Navien certainly knows what installers should be looking for when selecting a new unit.
One of the first considerations should be the display, as this can make or break how user-friendly the boiler is. All models in Navien’s NCB range utilise a modern, touch screen display, making it easy to view information on flow and return temperatures, as well as a digital system water pressure reading. This touch screen display also allows installers to test some components such as the fan, pump and combi diverter valve, while an extra test for the gas venturi is available.
Every Navien boiler also boasts a stainless steel heat exchanger for superb long-term durability, with models benefiting from a turndown ratio of 10:1. These quiet running units use 60/100mm plastic flues in industry-leading lengths up to 21m and are supplied with a free LPG conversion kit in every boiler box. In addition to low NOx emissions (Class 6), all NCB combi boilers are water resistant to an IPX5 rating for total flexibility, allowing them to be installed internally or externally. The range is also “OpenTherm” ready, enabling instant access with the latest heating control technology.
Controllability remains key
As installers are probably now well aware, technological advances and the evolution of the Internet of Things (IoT) has led to modern boilers being supplied with the latest smart controls straight out of the box. Alternatively, they can easily be upgraded with a manufacturer’s smart controller, such as the innovative ‘Smart Plus’ from Navien. Utilising a system with these controls can deliver overall levels of efficiency up to 98%, so they are definitely worth considering as part of any project!
Another ‘smart’ development is geofencing functionality, which sees the heating turn on or off automatically, depending on the end user’s proximity to their home, as relayed via their smartphone. There is also the option to add multiple users, ensuring every member of a household can benefit from optimum levels of comfort.
Controls are also a requirement under Boiler Plus. In addition to new installations requiring a minimum efficiency of 92%, the legislation stipulates one of four additional measures must be present in order for a boiler to be fitted; one of these options is a smart controller – as long as it features automation and optimisation functions, such as geofencing.
Another possibility is weather compensation, which some may argue is the most effective means of maximising a heating system’s energy efficiency, as it allows a property to warm up slowly in advance of impending weather conditions. So, in the event of snow or sub-zero temperatures, there are no peaks and troughs during the boiler’s heating cycle, while operating efficiency remains unaffected.
Gas boilers aren’t just responsible for central heating, they also help ensure energy efficient and user-friendly delivery of hot water. Utilising units with a built-in pre-heat function (such as those in Navien’s NCB range) ensures taps and shower outlets do not have to wait too long for hot water, while avoiding wastage.
Service and support
Having quick access to service and support is essential for any installer’s business. For this reason, Navien has strengthened its technical support offering over the last six months, adding more engineers to its in-house service team to provide dedicated assistance to its customers throughout the UK and Ireland. As a result, homeowners, heating engineers and merchants can all benefit from Navien’s renowned expertise, thanks to the company deploying technical engineers in Scotland and the Midlands, as well as the north, south east and south west of England. This is in addition to a fleet of service agents who are able to attend to customers in need within 48 hours.
A knowledgeable, smart support mechanism offers installers, in particular, a wealth of benefits – including the capacity to provide assistance as and when required. Navien is proud to offer comprehensive levels of customer support; from technical back-up through to arranging a service, the team is always able to give advice online or over the phone. Technical engineers are then available to attend onsite should further assistance be required.
Furthermore, installers have many different technologies to deal with these days, from the components that make up the boiler, through to the associated accessories, such as flues and control systems. With the latter advancing quicker than ever, it is imperative engineers and end users can liaise with experts quickly in the event of any queries or technical issues.
Undertaking a manufacturer’s training course will certainly help installers to learning all there is to know about a gas boiler. A standard session will provide essential information, such as understanding fault codes, explaining common parts and parameters, as well as expert advice on how to conduct servicing to the required standard.
Quality and reliability remain at the heart of everything Navien does. Each boiler is made at the company’s state-of-the-art facility in Seotan, South Korea, which is responsible for producing 2 million units per year – making it the largest in the world. Before leaving the factory, every boiler undergoes a thorough, two-stage testing procedure, including a specialised robotised process that carries out 55 quality checks per second. In addition, each unit receives a full working test by an operative, who completes a further 250 quality checks, ensuring every boiler is of the highest standard.
So, with gas boilers set to remain at the heart of the heating agenda, installers should look to manufacturers such as Navien for the complete package, providing the latest, high-quality products, as well as dedicated technical support. Doing so will enable them to provide their customers with high levels of performance, longevity and efficiency – as well as substantial savings on energy bills.