A reliable heating system guarantees carefree living
Choosing a reliable heating system is one of the most important factors for the customer in terms of home satisfaction. In fact, ease of use and reliability are important factors to consider when choosing your own heating system, whether it be for new construction or the old heating system is being renovated. When the heating system is working properly and you don’t have to worry about the total invoice every month, you have time to do things that are actually relevant to your everyday life.
District heating is one of the most common and reliable heating systems in Finland. This is strongly due to it being locally produced and an easy-to-use form of heating. We asked Risto Haapalainen, customer service manager of Oulun Energia’s heating services, what makes Oulun Energia’s district heating so reliable. Haapalainen also explains some of the faults and disruptions seen in district heating and shares how they have been prepared for in Oulu.
Common district heating faults
Fault situations are rare with district heating, but they do sometimes occur. The faults are mainly due to disruptions in the production or pumping of district heating. Disruptions in the district heating network can include, for example, leaks in the network. When the leaks are being repaired, they cause heat distribution problems for a few hours. Junction work that is carried out while building new network can also cause disruptions in heat distribution. Changes in heating during this time will not have time to affect the temperature of a property, but may affect the availability of hot water.
District heating construction site in Karjasilta, Oulu.
Customer equipment failures can also cause faults in a property. For example, impurities may get into a filter in an individual customer’s district heating meter centre, which can cause heating problems in the property. Individual customers’ customer equipment failures can also cause faults in a property. These include, for example, control valve or circulating pump faults that may affect heating or the supply of hot water.
How is Oulun Energia prepared for district heating faults and how do they affect its customers?
Oulun Energia monitors the status and production of the district heating network 24/7 and responds to potential faults quickly. In the case of network and customer equipment faults, assistance is available 24/7, ensuring that in the event of an emergency, service is available immediately. Monitoring ensures that sufficient district heating is available in each area of the network.
The status of district heating is monitored 24/7 in the control room.
Faults in the district heating network are fixed on the basis of made observations. The old district heating line is also renovated annually to further improve the reliability and energy efficiency of the heating system. Preventive maintenance of the network is used to detect faults, which are fixed before they can affect customers’ heat distribution.
Heat distribution disruptions or customer equipment failures mainly manifest as disruptions to hot domestic water or heating. Potential heat exchanger leaks can present as green water in the domestic water; if that happens, contact heating services immediately.
For customers’ own heating substations, Oulun Energia’s heating services offers a health inspection, in which equipment faults are identified and a repair plan is made. For example, if the filter in a customer’s heating substation is dirty, the customer can request a free cleaning from Oulun Energia. Heating services also offers heating substation replacements and replacing an old heating system with district heating in areas where district heating is available.
Although faults rarely occur, district heating customers should still regularly visit their heating substation to monitor the condition of their equipment and to check for leaks, for example. If you notice leaks or anything else unusual, please do not hesitate to contact heating services.
District heating reading percentage nearly 100, what does this mean in practice?
All district heat meters within Oulun Energia’s district heating network are remotely read once every 24 hours. A 100% reading means that the reading has been taken from all meters for each reading instance. Typically, a few meters cannot be read due to equipment failures or data connection problems. We will react to the unread meters if, even after a few reading attempts, they cannot be reached.
The invoices, Energiatili, and Oulun Energia’s customer portal all display the same meter readings because they come from the same source system. When looking at the readings, please note that the reading interval must be the same in order to have comparable readings.
Rarely, readings taken by the property manager may deviate from the Oulun Energia database, for example. In such situations, it is usually a question of data transfer problems between different programs. In some cases, if readings cannot be taken due to equipment failure or lack of electricity, customer consumption is estimated based on previous consumption.