What Are The Different Types Of Boiler?

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    Guide Author

    James Longley

    Managing Director

    min read
    Last Updated May 17, 2022

    What Are The Different Types Of Boiler?

    Combi or conventional? Condensing boilers or boiler systems? With multiple options to choose from, it’s difficult to know which type of boiler is best suited to your situation. Installing the wrong boiler can result in higher bills and slow heating, so it’s important that you get it right. After all, there’s nothing worse than having to wait around for the water to heat before you shower, right?

    What is a combi boiler?

    Combi boilers are one of the most popular heating solutions in the UK as they provide heating and hot water from one unit. They are directly connected to the mains cold water supply – essentially, combi boilers provide hot water on demand, rather than having to wait around for the water to heat up. Better yet, this way you only ever pay for the amount of hot water that you use, so they’re much more efficient when it comes to energy usage and finances.

    The downside? Combi boilers aren’t for everyone. They’re a great choice for smaller homes and buildings that require less heating and hot water. Thanks to their streamlined design, they don’t take up much space as they don’t have to be supported by a storage tank. But this does mean that you’ll struggle to get steady hot water from two outlets at the same time – so we wouldn’t recommend trying to take a shower while someone’s washing up! Some of the other pros and cons of combi boilers are:

    Advantages Disadvantages
    No need for loft space Not ideal for larger spaces
    Water provided straight from the mains May not be compatible with your existing setup
    Instant hot water Limited by mains water pressure
    Easier to maintain and service, due to less piping & engineer expertise Require a good level of pressure
    Less pipework also means a lower risk of freezing Leaks can lead to a loss of pressure

    Conventional boilers

    These are your ‘regular’ boilers – the most traditional form of heating in the UK. They are designed to provide heating and hot water using a cold-water tank and a hot-water cylinder. Cold water travels from the first tank into the storage cylinder where it is heated and fed into the home, resulting in warm radiators and hot showers. These types of boiler can provide hot water to multiple outlets at one time, which makes them ideal for busy buildings and homes. However, because hot water is stored in a cylinder, this means it can’t be supplied on demand.

    These types of boiler are typically more complicated and take up more room – because of the two tanks – so they’re best suited to larger buildings. They’re often suited to older buildings too, or at least those with older plumbing and radiators, as conventional boilers provide lower water pressures than combi or system boilers. But one of the key selling points for regular boilers is that they’re well-suited to solar energy systems, resulting in an overall reduction of carbon emissions and energy bills.

    A conventional boiler may also be the best choice for your property if your current setup contains a boiler and hot water cylinder, but not a tank in the loft. This makes installation much easier with a like-for-like swap. Some of the other benefits and disadvantages of conventional boilers include:

    Advantages Disadvantages
    Hot water can be supplied to multiple sources at one time Hot water isn’t available on demand
    Ideal for low water pressure areas Takes up more space
    Compatible with solar energy systems Installation can be difficult and costly if the necessary infrastructure isn’t already in place

    System boilers

    System boilers operate in a similar way to combis, by taking water directly from the mains. But, like conventional boilers, they store their hot water in a cylinder. All of the key components are built into the boiler which makes them an ideal choice for smaller properties as the installation process is much simpler. And, unlike combis, they can provide hot water to multiple sources at one time which often makes them the preferred choice for multi-bathroom homes. Some of the pros and cons of system boilers include:

    Advantages Disadvantages
    Economically friendly Hot water isn’t available on demand
    Compact design takes up less space Space required for the additional hot-water cylinder
    Consistent hot water supply Insulation is needed to prevent heat loss
    Compatible with solar energy systems A smaller tank will limit the amount of water that can be used

     

    What is a condensing boiler?

    Condensing boilers make your fuel go further, making them the greener option as they help to reduce carbon emissions and the figure on your heating bill. They collect and recycle the gas generated by burning fossil fules and use it to heat the water. With non-condensing boilers. These gases would be released into the atmosphere, and the potential to utilise these for heat would be lost. Newer condensing models are typically around 25% more efficient than non-condensing boilers.

    Advantages Disadvantages
    More efficient When installed incorrectly, they run at a much lower level of efficiency
    Less safety risks as they take in air from outside

    What are biomass boilers?

    Biomass provides renewable energy and a sustainable source of heat by burning organic materials derived from plants and animals. They work in a similar way to conventional boilers, as the water is heated and passed through the pipeworks to provide heating to a building. This makes it easy to fit them right into an existing infrastructure, or install them as part of a new boiler system – when building a new energy-efficient home, for example. Learn more about how biomass works in our guide.

    It’s time to make a choice…

    Are you ready to invest in a new heating system? Whether your old model is timing out or you’re after a more sustainable option, choosing the boiler system that’s the most efficient for your property is the goal – the cost savings are just a bonus, right?

    At Utility Bidder, we’re all about helping our customers make savings by finding the best gas and electricity tariffs. Get in touch with our expert utility brokers today to find out what other changes you can make to run a more efficient home.

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