How Does a Heat Interface Unit Work?


Perhaps you’re the owner of a new apartment building or block of flats? Or maybe you’re the manager of a large social housing scheme? Either way, you should be aware of Heat Interface Units(HIUs). HIUs  – also known as “heat boxes” – are a technical solution for large residential buildings. They are an alternative to a combi boiler, supplying each individual residence with reliable central heating and domestic hot water, and they come with a range of advantages for both yourself and your tenants. Here we take a look at how they actually work and consider why you, as the owner or manager, should invest in a new heat interface unit for your building or multi-development site.

The Technical Bit

Rather than each residence being fitted with an individual boiler, today, most multi-residence developments have a central boiler (which provides enough heat and hot water for all). However, in order for the heat and hot water to reach each residence, the central boiler needs a little helping hand – and this is where the HIU comes into play. Essentially, the heat interface unit acts as a bridge between the central boiler system and the individual system of each residence. It is the “middle man”, effectively using a plate heat exchanger (or two) to transfer energy from one place to another – that is, from the central boiler system to the individual system of each dwelling. This process is called indirect heating and, as multi-development heating schemes go, it is highly effective.

There are currently two types of HIU available to buy, including thermostatic and proportional hydraulic, and these types differ only in terms of how they are controlled. A thermostatically-controlled HIU is probably the most popular, as it typically costs less to install; however, it does have its drawbacks, most notably, a fluctuation in water-temperature. By contrast, a proportionally-controlled heat interface unit incurs higher initial costs – but it also eliminates the need for thermostatic control, and results in a much more consistent hot water temperature.

The Advantages

It’s important to note that, all heat interface units– whether it be thermostatically-controlled or proportional hydraulic controlled – have a number of advantages over traditional heat systems, such as a combi boiler. These advantages include:

  1. Instant heat and hot water for an entire building or group of buildings. Residents are able to turn on the central heating or pour hot water, on-demand, and with no effect on the environment.
  2. A reliable meter-reading function, thus allowing an individual bill to be created for each residence. This is particularly useful when there is a frequent change of occupancy.
  3. Greater room for manoeuvre when drawing up plans for a new development, as there is no need to put an individual heating or water system in each individual residence.
  4. A simple installation process and easy on-going maintenance.

Contact Heatlink Today

If you would like further information on heat interface unitsand how they could be of benefit to you and your multi-residence development, why not contact a technical expert– such as Heatlink UK. Thanks to their strong knowledge and wealth of experience in the group heating industry, they can offer tailored advice and guidance on HIUs and they are always on hand and happy to answer your questions. Check out their website today or give them a call on 0114 231 3700.


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