District Heating & Cooling FAQs

District Heating & Cooling FAQs


What is district heating and cooling? 

We explain what district heating and cooling is, how it works and where it came from in this short article.


Does an energy scheme need an alarm system?

Leaks and damp can, over time, seriously damage an energy scheme. Our integrated alarm system will monitor the pipe network 24 hours a day and is able to detect the tinniest ingress of moisture in the foam insulation with pinpoint accuracy before damage and corrosion occurs.

An alarm system brings peace of mind and the knowledge that the pipe network is in excellent condition and performing efficiently and effectively. This type of system is only supplied with our steel and copper pre-insulated pipes and is not available with our plastic pipes, although it is possible to use a combination of both steel and plastic.  

Our alarm system is the most accurate on the market and can identify leaks within 1m-3m on a 10,000m network.


Should the pipe work be installed above or below ground?

Some pre-insulated products are not suitable for above ground installation, a problem we have overcome through our High-density polyethylene (HDPE) outer casings, which can also be used above ground because of  its excellent UV protection. This gives our clients greater flexibility when considering the design of a scheme.


Does the temperature of a system affect the pipe work?

Yes - we need to know the operating temperature of a system as this will dictate the choice of service pipe. For instance, in high temperatures plastic is unsuitable and a metallic system should be specified.


How about the pressure of the system?

Again, this is crucial. Under higher operating pressures, careful consideration needs to be given to the type of pre-insulated product that is specific, especially components such as valves. Our standard steel pre-insulated valves are suitable for operating pressures up to 25 bar.


How long does a system remain effective?

Many contracts now require a design life in excess of 30 years which we guarantee by only using the highest quality pre-insulated products and joints, such as our fusion welded Band Muff joint, which increases the design life of a system to between 30-50 years. 


What is a diffusion barrier?  

When choosing a pre-insulated product, consider the benefits of foam which never ages. The aluminium foil between the outer casing and foam of our flexible pipe range ensures a 100% leak-proof diffusion barrier. This prevents gas escaping from the insulation through the plastic casing and being replaced by air, which has inferior insulating properties and means pipes preserve their insulating property throughout their entire service life.


Are there ways to reduce the life cycle costs of a scheme?

This is another area that we address at the start of a project because the full-life costs of a project should also include operating costs and heat loss. One solution we advise is to ensure that the right insulation is specified, as this can dramatically reduce the financial impact of life cycle costs.

We offer three levels of insulation and can demonstrate the cost of heat lost against the capital expenditure, allowing our clients to make an informed decision about how they invest their money.

For instance, while using a higher thickness of insulation on the flow pipe compared to the return pipe increases the initial capital cost of a scheme, but over its whole life this simple but effective measure greatly reduces overall costs. This is a decision which can save hundreds of thousands of pounds over the course of a project’s life cycle.


What are the benefits of a twin pipe system?

This is an area which we often advise clients to consider because our research shows that a twin pipe system can lead to improved heat loss figures, less fittings and faster installation times. However, we also stress that if a steel service pipe is required then a twin pipe steel system may not be suitable if the location of the project is hilly, or has a large number of existing services, as the product is not flexible.


How is the pipe work supplied?

Our standard pre-insulated pipes can be ordered in a variety of lengths including 6m, 12m, 16m, depending on the pipe dimensions. Our flexible ranges are supplied in 50m and 100m coils, while our pre-insulated systems have been developed to minimise the number of joints thus increasing the design life of a scheme.