Try this for size

Try this for size

Stuart Hamilton seeks out a happy medium.

There’s nothing like an old adage to demonstrate life’s little contradictions. Small is beautiful but so is big. The more the merrier but less is more. And all the while there’s a middle ground to be found whereby everything is better in moderation. Is it any wonder that English is so easy to learn yet so difficult to master?

Applied in a real life context, what appear merely to be linguistic foibles can have curious consequences. Take mobile phones, for instance. From their brick-like beginnings they shrank to ridiculously tiny proportions, eventually making a two-finger KitKat look somewhat voluptuous. And then everybody decided things had got out of hand as technology dictated that you actually needed to be able to see what you were doing. So now you can buy phones that verge on being a two-person lift with screens larger than your face – all in the name of progress.

A not dissimilar scenario can be found in the boiler market. With the advent of condensing units as the norm rather than the exception, the market began to concertina until original differentiators such as seasonal efficiency were separated by little more than a hair’s breadth. Manufacturers, of course, found new ways to make their products stand out from the crowd – one of which was widening modulation ratios. The figures crept up to 7:1 and even 10:1. It was a move that seemed to make perfect sense in a world where we were told repeatedly that the lower the output, the better the outcome for the end user.

This view is starting to change. New boilers are coming to market with ratios back at 5:1 levels. The rationale, in part, is that the difference between a 28kW unit modulating down to 5.6kW (at 5:1) compared with 4kW (at 7:1) is essentially negligible.

Ultimately, of course, it’s a matter of personal preference. There will always be those who like to live life large, those who take things little by little and the vast majority who opt for the happy medium.

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