We live in a flat with a Johnson & Starley warm air system that has
been disconnected by 'cos the heat exchanger is leaking. Yes, I know
it could be repaired but it's 30+ years old and next year it will be
We have had a J&S approved guy call who recommends a new J&S heater -
Economaire - it's sealed and doesn't fall foul of the increasingly
tough ventilation/air entry standards. Looks OK.
However, it does seem a bit expensive. J&S won't tell me what their
boilers cost so I have no way of checking. He wants £2400 to replace
it, replace aged fortic and put in new controls.
Is this fair?
Are other warm air boilers available, are they any good?
On Tue, 25 Mar 2008 12:51:56 -0700, wendy_grunge wrote:
=================================You wouldn't shop at Tesco without seeing prices so it hardly makes sense
to buy spares for an out-moded central heating system from someone who
won't give you a breakdown of component costs.
J&S appear to have a virtual monopoly of war air heating in this country
which suggest that you might be better off spending your money on a more
conventional 'wet' system which you can customise to your own
You might be able to subsidise a replacement system by selling the old
warm air ducting;scrap metal prices are quite high at the moment.
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==================================What is so very unusual about her property that it has no space available
for radiators in one form or another? I doubt if I've ever seen a house /
property that had no free wall space.
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On Tue, 25 Mar 2008 22:28:30 +0000, Doctor Drivel wrote:
If wet CH with radiators is so inferior to warm air CH why is warm air
heating so rarely installed? Wet CH is flexible and easily maintained,
whereas warm air heating is difficult to modify, and has a tendency to
pump large amounts of dust into the air.
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Read what I wrote.
You haven't a clue about forced air, full of old wives tales from cheapo
council house estate versions. It is the norm in the USA, as they know how
to do it right. Have a look at this. This gives decent background:
Give me a two duct forced air, heat recovery & ventilation system any day to
any crap rad system. The forced air system is far superior in just about
The modern forced air units by J&S are a world away from the older units
too. They will transform a system.
The reason it is not installed is more due to ignorance and lack of skills.
The Unico system. Small flexible multi-layered tubes that act like a car
exhaust and silence high velocity air. A thermal store can be heated by a
boiler, provide DHW and pipe heat to a air-handling unit that distributes it
around house. Full heat recovery and ventilation is possible.
The tube is so small it can be retrofitted into existing homes, feeding it
under floors and over lofts.
The USA site:
On Tue, 25 Mar 2008 23:09:00 +0000, Doctor Drivel wrote:
=================================I did read what you wrote. You wrote:
"Why put rads in and have an inferior system when there is no need to."
That is a very clear statement that wet heating systems are inferior to
warm air systems. The sources you cite in support of your argument are not
very convincing. One of those sources states:
"I Cannot Get Ducts To Upstairs. How Do I Get Around This?
Some integrated circulators within the warm-air casing have large enough
outputs to incorporate a partial radiator system for the upstairs. Another
method is to install two small warm-air units operating independently,
supplying ground and first floors."
Unless I've mis-read that it suggests resorting to a conventional wet
system for part of the installation to overcome the inherent problems of
warm air heating. The same result can be achieved at much lower cost and
much less disruption by installing a fully wet system with one or more
fanned heaters replacing conventional radiators. Of course one could adopt
the other solution suggested in that quote ("two small warm-air units
operating independently") but that wouldn't be cost effective in money or
Another of your sources suggests installing a network of ducting
consisting of *80mm* ducting. The cost and inconvenience of installing
such a network compared with a single spine of 22mm pipework for a basic
wet system is really prohibitive for most people.
I repeat what I said, the small takeup of warm air heating compared with
wet systems is due to much more that ignorance and lack of skills. The
fact that it's the preferred system in America has no particular relevance
to this country where houses generally are smaller and built to different
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Firstly, there are no inherent problems with forced air heating. The
problem is putting it an old house - a retro fit. Now Unico is here that is
not such a problem as the flex pipes are small and can run in a small duct
up the stairwell or wherever.
All Myson heaters are noisy.
That gets rid of the problem of getting ducting from one floor to another.
One in the loft and one maybe under the stairs downstairs. But again Unico
have solved much of that problem with small tube ducting.
As you seem to be obsessed with water inside pipes, you could have a boiler
as the heat source. A air handler with copper heat battery in the loft for
upstairs and one downstairs. Just 22mm pipe running to each and no ducting
between floors. The air handling units are just big Myson heaters with
ducting coming off them.
In money terms it could be very cost effective - it depends on the job in
Again look at the Unico link. You have to understand what forced air gives
you. You clearly didn't read the links.
* Instant heat up
* even temperatures
* no cold spots so 100% of rooms used (even around the patio windows).
* 100% fresh air if you want.
* Heat recovery
* humidification if you want
* comfort cooling in summer
* The dry systems don't freeze in winter
....and if need be, forced cooling in that as well - with de-humidification.
A properly designed and installed forced air system is far, far superior to
rads slapped around the walls. Those who slag forced air in this country
tend to be plumbers, who know sweet FA about. They fear it as it would
rightly take the heating side away from them. Plumbers are good at drains
not heating - they claimed heating is their field as water ran in pipes. It
isn't their field. There are different qualifications for each.
It is not. It is because of ignorance - which you have displayed (your view
is quite common). And lack of skills. The average "plumber" just hasn't a
clue - not his field, they just walk away to the next bathroom change.
Most newer selfbuild houses are now being built to higher insulation specs -
they tend to go over building reags, which are quite high now. Most of the
older selfbuilt houses had heat recovery and vent systems (MHRV) and UFH
heating. The higher insulation means the UFH can be done away with. The
ducting then used for full heat, vent and heat recovery. A heat, vent, heat
recovery system adds value to a house and is rightly seen as a healthy eco
addition - heating, ventilation and cooling all in one.
A house is a house wherever it is, and the discerning Americans prefer
forced air. Instead of trying to play the know-it-all and making yourself
out to be foolish, best learn more about forced air, heat recovery and vent.
Using a boiler and air handlers with copper heater batteries means that by
installing bronze pumps all ferrous is taken out of the system. No sludge
that plagues rad system then. Rads are sludge collectors and the efficiency
drops in time an dten the corrosion, etc.
On Wed, 26 Mar 2008 11:08:45 +0000, Doctor Drivel wrote:
< snipped a great deal of hot air>
=================================Basically you're saying that you know better than about 99% of the British
heating / ventilating industry.
Warm air heating has virtually no penetration of the domestic market in
this country for the obvious reason that people have decided that it
doesn't compare very favourably in overall terms with the tried and tested
wet system which is basically simple to install and maintain, cost
effective and well-suited to our climate.
Remember that the OP asked for alternatives to warm air heating and
pointed out that the J&S representative wouldn't tell her the price of the
boiler he wanted to install. Anybody that says, "Trust me, I'm a
salesman", is certainly not a person to be trusted to tell the truth about
their product. Restricted product information equals fishy deal to me.
A few pictures of your own warm air installation might be informative, but
not fully convincing.
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Any "heating engineer" will agree with me. Plumbers do not. The proof in
the eating. The comfort conditions in forced air, heat recovery and vent
are far superior. They are also cheaper to run.
You are like a stuck record
That is total balls. "doesn't compare very favourably" - BS words. Forced
air and vent is much superior in comfort conditions - you have been told
that, but it doesn't sink in. Forced air is simple maintain, as in most
cases it is incorporated all in one box...and no corroding rads every 8 to
Then go to another dealer an dget another price. Or go Unico who can put a
air hander in there heated via a combi. Best she just gets the latest J&S
unit - excellent unit indeed.
Yes pictures convince the hard of thinking. As I said to you. Get to
understand how it works and what it offers. Then the differing systems
available. Then you will be much better informed and not make a fool of
Architects deplore discharge and overflow pipes penetrating the side of
building. These pipes also extract heat from the building too, screwing up
heat losses. They also stain the side of buildings. Since 2001 toilets can
be overflowed into bowls, so no problem there with pipes penetrating the
outside. Unvented cylinders can be discharged into the drain using a tundish
and HepVo trap now. Again no outside wall penetration. But that still
leaves the boilers which have flues and discharge pipes - although the Atmos
can be discharged into a tundish and HepVo trap.
To avoid all this crap on the outside of walls, with modern insulation
levels being so high and flats insulating themselves in a block they install
electric heating. Three to fours times as expensive to run, but as it will
be rarely on it becomes cost effective to run.
Many are looking at common boiler rooms and local hydraulic interface units
(heat distribution boxes so to speak, as used in district heating schemes).
In each flat is takes heat from a pipe loop from the common boiler room.
These consist of a few plate heat exchangers and controls. One doing DHW for
the flat giving instant DHW from the mains and the other feeding a small
heat recovery and vent unit with a copper coil inside. Ducting up to the
roof provides air intake and exhaust. No rads on walls and cheap to run
heating and ventilation too. The heat is charged via an energy meter. So no
gas in the flats, only in the boiler room.
Forced air/heating and vent/heat recovery is being installed and is
increasing in uptake too.
On Wed, 26 Mar 2008 12:28:43 +0000, Doctor Drivel wrote:
< More snipped>
=================================Yes, pictures do sometimes convince. I assume that you don't have any
because you personally are using a conventional wet system despite the
fact that you're so adamant that it's inferior.
If "any heating engineer" will agree with you (your unsupported claim)
then they're making a very poor job of convincing the vast majority of the
population of the superiority of warm air heating. If any product is
proved to be so superior to competing products it soon takes a leading
market position. People generally live in a real world; they buy products
that suit their purpose and life-style rather than something prescribed by
self-styled experts. It seems logical that professional installers would
long since have embraced such a superior product that produced higher
earnings for themselves; there's no strong evidence that that has happened.
Warm air heating has been around for many years and it has never become
large scale mainstream for domestic use simply because people don't like
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Oh my God!! unsupported claim. You are either a plumber or just plain thick
Know it alls like you will never be convinced. I am responding to you as
others will be reading it and may actually believe the likes of you. You
didn't even know electrostatic air filters for Gods sake. You haven't
It has in the massive USA and closing in, in some Continental countries too.
Broag make some fine forced air stuff.
That they do. Have you tried coming in.
In domestic heating they buy what a dumb plumber tells them!!! Plumbers
still fit cold water tank in lofts, cylinders and noisy expensive power
shower pumps, when the house has a fantastic mains supply. Heat banks? Duh!
What is Dat guv?
There is around 1.5 million homes using it. Now read what I wrote. Read the
links and do some reading about it, and stop making a full prat out of
yourself. No doubt you will come back with more drivel and prattish
writing. If you want to know, drop the attitude and I will help you.
On Wed, 26 Mar 2008 13:48:42 +0000, Doctor Drivel wrote:
================================I have done so and I note that you still haven't produced pictures of
your personal installation. How many (approximate figures will do -
you're obviously very busy installing them in large numbers) warm air
systems have you personally installed recently and where can they be
If the system is as superior as you suggest then you would be setting an
example to all those poor ignorant people who've chosen an inferior system.
It hasn't yet occurred to you that people vote with their feet and they
clearly haven't yet voted in large numbers for warm air heating, and
there's nothing to suggest that there is any large scale movement in that
I repeat - people seek advice and choose what they want, not something
dictated to them by someone prepared to condemn a whole industry as
I also repeat the question posed by the OP - "Warm air alternatives". Your
suggestion of 'warm air' as an alternative to 'warm air' doesn't make much
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On Wed, 26 Mar 2008 14:27:02 +0000, Doctor Drivel wrote:
<And yet more ducking and diving removed>
=================================You've failed to show any personal knowledge of the system you advocate.
I've asked you to show pictures of your own installed system and of
installations carried out by you. Clearly you can't and it seems very
obvious to me that you've never picked up any kind of tool or worked
'hands-on' in your life.
This is a DIY group which people use to ask for information and advice.
The OP asked about alternatives to warm air central heating and your only
response to that is 'more warm air'. I suggested a possible alternative
(an alternative because the OP asked for alternatives)in the form of a
more conventional wet system, as favoured by the majority of specifiers,
installers and customers. Your response to that is that the specifiers are
ignorant, installers are fraudsters and customers are stupid. And of
course, you know better than any specifier, you're more honest than any
installer, but you have no customers and never have had any. Your
credentials are not very convincing.
Let me remind you yet again. If warm air systems are so much superior to
other systems they would have superseded those other systems long ago.
They haven't done so for a variety of reasons and that situation is
unlikely to be changed by a closet theorist like you with no practical
experience of anything.
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Which is the best advice. Better a pro give it rather than a know-it-all
Your advice was poor.
<snip more drivel>
Some mothers........he can't even take well meaning advice to get to know
about the systems. I explained much to him and gave him link to start him
and the loonpot keep coming back with drivel.
On Wed, 26 Mar 2008 18:40:26 +0000, Doctor Drivel wrote:
< Yet more irrelevance snipped>
=================================Still no pictures of your workmanship, I notice. You're obviously not very
proud of your workmanship or perhaps you only work on top secret projects.
You choose to criticise DIYers in a DIY group without
giving any indication of the *professional* qualifications or expertise
which might justify your criticism. DIYers get their hands dirty - you
obviously don't and never have.
You rubbished all professionals in the field, and insulted their
customers, now you recommend that I call in a professional (your good
self) for advice. You want everybody to believe that you are uniquely
qualified to tell everybody else how things should be done.
You are a total plantpot. You should be recycled into a small part of
something useful, but that's probably too much to expect from somebody who
can't grasp the simple fact that people can make choices without being
browbeaten by a counter-top pundit.
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