Different Types of Boilers Explained

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When it comes to choosing a new boiler for your home, there are several factors to consider. These factors include: the size and type of your property; the area’s water pressure; the number of bathrooms and showers in your home. You also need to the think about the central heating system and type of fuel you want to power your home. In this article, we explain the different types of boilers with the 3 most common types of boilers in UK households.

Types of Boilers Explained

There are three most common types of boilers and central heating options in UK households. These are system boilers, regular boilers and combi boilers. Below we explain the three most common different types of boilers for UK households, highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of each one.

Regular Boilers

A regular boiler is made up of several parts and components including a boiler, heating controls, a hot water cylinder, a cold-water storage cistern plus a feed and expansion cistern. With this type of boiler, there are two tanks located in the loft which feed into the boiler. One of these is a cold-water storage tank which draws cold water from the mains supply. The other is the feed and expansion tank this feeds the boiler system and manages any water that expands in the system after it is heated.

Regular boilers are normally found in older and larger properties. Over the years, there have been fewer regular boilers installed in UK households.

Advantages of Regular Boilers: 

  • Multiple Usage – As the water comes from a water cylinder, you can use multiples taps, showers and baths etc at the same time as each other without experiencing any effect on water pressure or temperatures.
  • Back-up Immersion Heater – An electrical immersion heater can be installed into the hot water cylinder so, if your boiler breaks down you can still have hot water.

Disadvantages of Regular Boilers: 

  • Needs a Substantial Amount of Space – With a regular boiler space is required in both the loft and air cupboard so, is often not suitable for smaller homes with limited space available.
  • Suffer Hot Water Heat Loss – Hot water the boiler creates will be kept in a storage cylinder until it is need. Whilst the water is being stored it will lose heat so, it’s important to try and prevent as much heat loss as possible by insulating it.
  • Doesn’t have Instant Hot Water – The boiler needs to heat the water before you can use it so, you do not have an unlimited supply of hot water. When the hot water in the storage cylinder has been used, you will need to wait for the boiler to heat the hot water before you can use it.
  • Complicated to Install – This type of boiler is more complication to install due to its separate parts, components and pipework so, it is more time consuming and costly to install.

System Boilers

A system boiler is a heat only boiler and operates in a similar way to a regular boiler. However, a system boiler requires additional units within the boiler itself such as an expansion vessel and a pressure release valve. The boiler requires a hot water storage cylinder as it needs somewhere to store the water it has heated. There is no requirement for a cold-water tank so, a system boiler is easier to maintain and there is no worry about frost damage or leaks. System boilers are suitable for large homes with multiple bathrooms and if there is no space for a tank then a system boiler is a great choice.

Advantages of System Boilers: 

  • Relatively Easy to Install – Many of the components needed for a heating system are built into this type of boiler making it simpler to install compared to other boiler types.
  • Constant Supply of Hot Water – The hot water storage cylinder enables you to get hot water from multiple sources like taps and showers at the same time without experiences a drop-in temperature or loss in water pressure.
  • Doesn’t Require a Cold-Water Feed Tank – A cold water feed tank isn’t required with a system boiler this makes the boiler ideal for smaller homes without space for a cold-water feed tank.

Disadvantages of System Boilers:

  • Not Compact – A system boiler requires a hot water storage tank making it less compact compared to a combi boiler.
  • Suffer Hot Water Heat Loss – Hot water the boiler creates will be kept in a hot water storage tank until it is need. Whilst the water is being stored it will lose heat so, it’s important to try and prevent as much heat loss as possible by insulating it.
  • Limited by the Size of your Hot Water Tank – You can only use as much hot water as your storage tank can hold so, with a system boiler you are limited to the amount of hot water you can use. If you need more hot water, then you need to wait for the boiler to heat the water.

Combi Boilers

A combi (combination) boiler is a compact unit which provides both heating and hot water on demand without the need for a separate hot water tank. Its ingenious space saving idea and high efficiency makes them ideal for smaller homes. Because of its space saving features, the combi boiler is one of the most popular types of boilers in the UK. In fact, it accounts for over half of domestic boiler installations each year.

Combi boilers are connected to the mains water supply and work by heating the water directly from the mains so, there is no need for a separate water tank. They are ideal for smaller homes without airing cupboard or roof space. They are highly efficient and affordable to run as they only heat the water you use. Although combi boilers have great advantages, there are also some considerations you need to think about before going ahead with the installation.

Advantage of Combi Boilers: 

  • Compact Unit – Combi boilers are ideal for smaller homes as they are compact require less pipework and don’t need a water storage tank.
  • Energy and Cost Efficient – Since you only heat the water you need, when you need it so, very little is wasted. Therefore, a combi boiler is more efficient and cost effective as it wastes very little energy.
  • Quick, Easy and Usually Cheap to Install – Combi boilers have less components compared to other types of heating systems so, the installation is a lot quicker, easier and tends to be cheaper.
  • Hot Water on Demand – A combi boiler doesn’t have a separate water tank to heat up so, you can benefit from an unlimited supply of hot water on demand.

Disadvantages of Combi Boilers: 

  • Relies on Mains Pressure – As a combi boiler replies on mains pressure to ensure it is working correctly then you need to make sure you have a good water pressure in your area.
  • No Back-up Water Supply – If certain components of your combi boiler breakdown, then you can be left with no heating or hot water.
  • Limited Usage – With a combi boiler you are limited with usage. You can’t run more than one hot tap at the same time. Therefore, they are less ideal for large households with multiple bathrooms.

New Boiler Installation from fixx?

Do you need a new boiler? Request a free boiler quote from fixx today. We can install your new boiler within 24 hours of your enquiry. All our engineers are on the Gas Safe Register so, you can have peace of mind that all work carried out by us is completed safely and efficiently to the highest standard. Our engineers are experienced in installing a range of boilers from leading brands including Ideal, Viessmann, Vaillant and Worcester Bosch. If you need a new boiler quote, call us on 0330 3530 365 or contact us online.