March 27, 2020
Despite over 22 million UK homes having gas central heating, a great deal of homeowners are unsure about which type of boiler they have installed in their homes.
When you get a quote on a brand new boiler with iHeat, we ask you a few questions about your home. One of these questions is ‘What type of boiler do you currently have?’ This helps us to work out how big the job is likely to be and allows our engineers to be better prepared.
That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide to help you determine which type of boiler you currently have in your home. We’ll be taking a look at the different types of gas boilers: combi, system and regular, their advantages and disadvantages and some tips on how to identify your boiler type.
A combination or ‘combi’ boiler is a gas boiler that combines a water heating system and a central heating unit into a single body to produce hot water instantly, meaning there is no need for a separate hot water tank. As you’re combining two different boilers into one body, they take up much less room in your home than system or regular boilers, making them ideal for smaller homes where space and storage is an issue.
Another great benefit of a combi boiler is its efficiency. By heating water on demand as opposed to constantly heating stored water, you can save energy and cut costs on your fuel bills. A new combi boiler should be around 90% efficient, so replacing your old boiler could save you up to £380 on gas bills according to The Energy Saving Trust.
You can usually tell if you have a combi boiler by taking a quick look at it. Normally, there will be five copper pipes coming from the bottom and there will be no external pump or hot/cold water cylinders as the heating unit is combined into a single unit. You’ll most likely find a combi boiler in small/medium-sized homes with a lower demand for hot water.
System boilers heat your central heating system and produce hot water for a water storage cylinder, directly taking their water from the mains as opposed to using a feed and expansion tank like a regular boiler. These are usually found in homes that have a high demand for hot water.
System boilers offer a number of advantages such as the fact they can provide hot water to two bathrooms at once without affecting the heating of your home and they don’t require a cold water tank.
The drawbacks, of course, are that you’ll need enough room to store the large hot water tank, so these boilers are usually unsuitable for flats or smaller homes. Another disadvantage is that once the hot water from the tank has been used up, you’ll need to wait for it to refill and heat the water again before getting any more hot water.
You can usually tell if you have a system boiler by taking a quick look at it. Normally, there will be three copper pipes coming from the bottom of the boiler (as opposed to five with a combi). You should also be able to see a hot water cylinder but there won’t be any external pump for expansion storage.
You’ll most likely find a system boiler in larger homes that have a higher demand for hot water from multiple outlets at once.
Regular boilers are also known as conventional or heat only boilers because they don’t provide domestic hot water on demand the same way combi boilers do. They instead store hot water in a cylinder until it is required to be delivered to a tap or shower.
An advantage of this is that they can meet a high demand for hot water at once, making them ideal for properties with multiple bathrooms, though when the water does run out, you'll have to wait for it to fill up again in the same way you would a system boiler. Another disadvantage is that regular boilers require both a hot and cold water storage tank which can take up a lot of space in your home.
You can usually tell if you have a regular boiler by taking a quick look at it. Normally, there will be two copper pipes coming from the top of the boiler and just one coming from the bottom. Regular boilers also have hot water cylinders and a cold water storage tank which can usually be found in the loft. There should also be an external pump, unlike with combi or system boilers.
Similar to a system boiler, you’ll most likely find a regular boiler in larger homes that have a higher demand for hot water from multiple outlets at once.
For more information and advice, why not check out some of our other helpful blogs or take a look at some of our most Frequently Asked Questions! If you’re still struggling to identify your type of boiler, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our friendly team members at iHeat who will be happy to help.
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