Central Heating layout

I'm replacing all my radiators and boiler due to terminal system failure. At the same time I'm adding 5 new rads. My house is a long thin terrace and the main CH pipework seems to be in twin straight lines down the centre, with long branches off to each room, like a centipede.
My question is:- all the literature shows the main circuits running in ... well ... a circuit around the house directly under each rad, with short tees upwards. Is this the only acceptable way to arrange a CH system? Or can I continue with my cunning plan to replace all the rads but leave the pipework alone?
Hope you can help.
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David Bryants site might be of some help:
http://www.corgi-gas-engineer.com/index.htm
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In an earlier contribution to this discussion,

There's nothing wrong in principle with your system of plumbing. What you need to ensure in practice is that the main arteries have sufficient capacity to feed all the radiators - including the additional ones. If in doubt, add up the heat output of all your radiators and come back here.
I would expect (without seeing the figures!) that you need 22mm pipe (or even possibly 28mm) for the arteries. If they are currently 15mm they will almost certainly need replacing with larger pipes.
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You can plumb it anyway you like, provided that each section uses big enough pipe for the flow at that point. For example, you can snake round from radiator to radiator. You can have a major trunk with long tails to each rad (like you have). You can have all the radiator tails having their own runs all the way back to manifolds near the boiler (or even a manifold per floor linked by a trunk pipe). Do whatever is convenient.
Whilst you are repiping, consider subzoning with an S-Plan-Plus system. Even just having two zones allows different timings and temperatures for upstairs bedrooms and downstairs receptions.

Provided that the disaster that befell your system didn't affect the pipes. (And also assuming the previous pipes were adequetely sized).
Christian.
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On Mon, 2 Feb 2004 08:14:35 -0000, "Andrew L."

You can stick with this arrangement, which is practical for the type of house - I did one myself this way once.
If you are adding radiators, you do need to make certain that the pipework is adequate at each point.
Begin by checking the output ratings of the existing radiators by comparing with the closest types in manufacturer data sheets and accounting for whether they are double or single and with or without fins on one or both panels.
If you are adding new radiators, is it because the existing system was inadequate or because some rooms didn't have them? It would be sensible to do a proper heat loss calculation for the property. Either you can use tables of U values from the British Standard, or there are programs from the radiator manufacturers that allow you to plug in the wall, window, floor and ceiling areas for each room and to determine the heat loss through the surfaces. You then add in amounts for air changes. This will give you the required amount of heat for each room.
Don't guesstimate because you might be wildly wrong. Older terraced properties generally have not unreasonable heat losses in the main part of the house, but huge ones in the rear extension because of the solid external walls.
Once you have done that, you can use
http://www.cda.org.uk/megab2/build/Pub150%20UKCB.pdf
to check and size the copper pipes.
In most properties, having 22mm for the main trunks is adequate unless it's a very large place in which case 28mm may be needed nearer the boiler. The thing to watch is that not too much radiator capacity is run from branched off 15mm sections. It is the capacity that counts, not the number of radiators. The pipe sizings and lengths affect the flow rate. The flow rate determines the amount of heat that is transferred.
.andy
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wrote:

Thanks for all the advice. I have indeed done heatloss calculations. The rear two downstairs rads total 3756w and the front two total 2730w. There are two branches going upstairs serving rad outputs of 2945w and 2736w respectively. The only pipework in 22mm is the main section between the boiler and the second upstairs branch.
Somewhere it says that 15mm pipework can support a max of 6000w including the pipe itself at 46w per metre uninsulated. Is this about right?
Now I am wrestling with radiator outputs. Wickes latest leaflet publishes outputs in btu calculated at (triangle)T50 rating (uh?). This differs from their previous publicity by about 8%. The rolltop rads look reasonable quality, though.
&rew
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In an earlier contribution to this discussion,

You often have to adjust manufacturers' figures to suit your installation.
The actual output of a radiator is a function of the difference between the mean radiator temperature (usually half way between flow and return temps.) and room temperature.
I've just looked at a Stelrad brochure, in which the outputs are quoted for a 60 degC difference. A typical system will have a difference nearer to 55 degC (Flow 80, Return 70, mean 75, room 20). The brochure has a conversion table which gives a factor by which the output has to be multipled for different temperature differences. For 55 degC it is 0.898
In other words, the radiator will, in practice, have an output about 10% lower than the standard published figure. You can, of course, adjust the figures for other scenarios - but it is something which you do need to do rather than just accepting the raw figures.
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On Tue, 3 Feb 2004 07:34:34 -0000, "Andrew L."

That's a starting rule of thumb. Be careful though, because if the pipe runs are long, (as they can be in this kind of scenario relative to a semi or detached house which is more square in shape) then it may need to be reduced. I would check using the CDA white paper calculation method. The thing most likely to catch you out is too much radiator output on a lengthy 15mm branch.

First of all, dump BTUs and work entirely in watts, metres, degrees C etc. It's a really bad idea to mix units together because the conversion factors are obscure and sooner or later you'll make a mistake.
If you take a given physical radiator, the heat output depends on the water temperature drop across it and the temperature difference to the room.
First of all you have the Mean Water Temperature which is basically half the difference between flow and return temperatures. With a conventional non-condensing boiler the flow design temperature is 82 degrees and return is 70, so the MWT is 76 degrees. Secondly, you have Mean Water To Air temperature (MWTA) which is the difference between MWT and the room temperature. So if the room is heated to 21 degrees then MWTA is 55 degrees. MWTA is the delta-T number that you mentioned (delta is a Greek letter symbolised with a kind of triangle and generally used to denote a difference between two things). Sometimes it's written as dT.
The standard method of radiator output measurement (a Euronorme method) uses higher temperatures than are the common 82/70 used in UK heating systems. The specified output numbers are for this higher figure. So manufacturer's data sheets provide a derating table and a factor that you use to multiply to give the output at actual operational temperature. Generally the figure is 0.89 for this common case - i.e. a radiator specified at 1000W will have an output of 890W.
If you go to one of the radiator manufacturer web sites - e.g. Stelrad or Myson, they have data sheets which show the tables.
If you were going for a new condensing boiler, these can run at 82/70 but will run more efficiently at 70/50. The impact of this is that larger radiators are needed because the derating factor then works out to 0.6 typically. I don't remember if you said you were going for a condensing model but if you are and are changing all the radiators as well, then it's worth sizing on this basis. You would get some energy saving from it, but mainly when it's really cold. During the spring and autumn, the boiler would modulate down because the heat isn't required anyway and radiators sized for 82/70 would still give enough output.

.andy
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