Boilers. They can be buggers. Luckily we know them inside out, upside down and back to front. As far as boilers go we’ve seen them all, the good and the bad and the very ugly indeed. Just in case you find yourself wondering about the different boiler choices you can make, and end up horribly confused, we thought we’d create a brief, common sense boiler guide for you. Happy reading.
What is a boiler?
A boiler is basically a central heating system. It heats water rather than air, which is what furnaces use. The system is fully enclosed and heats the water it holds to the desired temperature before sending it around your radiator system to warm your home. There are three main types of boiler – combi boilers, system boilers and conventional boilers.
About combi boilers – London’s most popular choice
Combination boilers – AKA combi boilers – are what most homes use. They provide heat and hot water without a cylinder or water tank, in a single unit, and they run on either gas or electricity. They are cost effective and energy efficient because they heat the water instantly at source instead of heating it then stashing it in a cylinder. Mains pressure hot water delivery means you don’t always need a separate pump for your power shower.
- Ideal for small homes or houses with no loft space
- Unlimited hot water whenever you need it
- Because you don’t need a water cylinder, you get more living space
- Because there isn’t a cold water tank in the loft, it’s easier to convert your loft if you want to
- No loft pipework means no frozen pipes, and less pipes means a cheaper install
On the down side running more than one tap at a time can mean your water pressure drops. And installation can be a challenge for the uninitiated.
About system boilers – A cylinder, but no tank
System boilers are also called sealed systems and while you need a water cylinder – usually in the airing cupboard – you don’t need a water tank.
- No water tank makes loft conversions easier
- You can run several hot water taps at the same time
- The hot water isn’t instant and can run out, which means you need to wait for it to get hot again
- You need space for the cylinder
About conventional boilers – AKA open vent or regular boilers
Conventional boilers have a cylinder and water tank, so you need room for both in your home. You can get hot water from more than one tap at a time, but like the system boiler the hot water can run out.
System boilers store hot water in a cylinder, but the heating and water parts of the system are built into the boiler itself, and that means it’s faster, easier and cleaner to install… usually! It’s also good to know that conventional boilers are compatible with solar water heating systems, which’ll lower your fuel bills.
- Perfect for multi-bathroom homes
- A constant supply of hot water to multiple taps at the same time
- No leaks or frost damage in the loft
- Economical to run
- Built-in components makes installation quicker and neater
Other types of boiler
Condensing boilers aren’t really a type of boiler, they’re more of a type of combi or conventional boiler, both of which can be condensing. They’re highly energy efficient, made to catch and re-use some of the heat which would otherwise escape via the flue.
Regular boilers, sometimes called heat only boilers, are best if you’ve already got a traditional lower pressure heating and hot water system linked to a separate hot water cylinder. You also need a cold water storage tank in the loft, and a tank to maintain the water level in your central heating system.
- Great if you need a constant supply of hot water
- A good solution when you have multiple bathrooms
- Ideal for systems with low water pressure
- Compatible with solar water heating systems
Finally, it’s good to know that since 2010, all new boilers must be A-rated for energy efficiency, or at least 88% efficient. And, since 2005, all new gas boilers manufactured are condensing boilers.
Need a new boiler or a boiler service?
If you need a plumber in Peckam call us in. We’ll be there in no time and we’ll do an excellent job for you.