It’s time to talk TPI

Published:  13 February, 2015

As heating controls develop, installers must become better acquainted with technology such as time proportional integral control (TPI), according to Andy Mansfield, marketing manager at Honeywell.

Gone are the days when a room thermostat used a single on/off algorithm as the sole method of controlling a central heating system. Today, more advanced and sophisticated heating controls have TPI, which uses past information to alter the on/off pattern, varying the length of heating periods to maintain the temperature set point for longer.

This provides both additional comfort for the homeowner and, following recent research carried out by BEAMA, can save even more on their heating bills. So, it’s time the installer started discussing it more and using TPI to grow his or her business.

Put simply, where a homeowner is concerned, TPI makes sure their boiler fires for the shortest possible time to reach and maintain the desired temperature. Modern thermostats have in-built memories and basic calculation tools included in their software so they can learn about the room’s temperature and work out how long the boiler needs to fire for, whenever the temperature falls more than 1.5°C below the set point. This ‘smart’ firing of the boiler means it is fired for just long enough to reach the set temperature and no longer – meaning no wasted heat or energy, reduced demand on the boiler and no unnecessary fuel bills.

Compared to a non-TPI thermostat – which fires the boiler continuously until it gets past the set point and then again when it drops below – TPI gives more control to the homeowner over comfort and bills.

Shown in physical tests by BEAMA to save an additional 13% per year in running costs when combined with TRVs compared to a conventional room thermostat, overall savings of 53% can be achieved through using TPI. What’s not to like?

It’s time to educate the homeowner on what TPI means and how it enables them to control their heating to suit their lifestyles – and not the other way around. So, talking about a full set of heating controls is a must. Performing a survey is the most important time you spend on the premises as an installer; don’t make assumptions, check the existing installation thoroughly and ask the homeowner questions about their lifestyle. Most importantly, fit controls that work for your customer and add value by delivering real benefits and savings.

While only 21% of homes in the UK currently have a full set of heating controls, there is a whole market to capitalise on. So, heating engineers, what are you waiting for? It’s time to talk TPI.

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