Where do you start when deciding you need a central heating system or new boiler? Do you opt for gas, or oil fired equipment? Electric storage heaters? Underfloor heating? Warm air systems? Or Wet systems (ones with radiators). It is not such a minefield as you may think! Gas fired boilers with radiators is still the cheapest way of giving you heating and hot water.
The types of boilers available can be found on our boiler section but the radiators are many and various – the less expensive being the standard pressed steel type that you see in most homes today.
Choosing a new boiler that’s right for you is easier than you may think. You just need to ask yourself a few basic questions and, armed with a little not-too-technical information; you can quickly and easily narrow down the options. This guide is intended to help you by prompting the questions and providing those helpful hints.
If you have an old boiler that’s no longer up to the job
Perhaps your existing boiler breaks down too often, and usually just when you need it most ! Perhaps it’s becoming difficult or uneconomic to repair, or perhaps you suspect that your old boiler costs more to run than a modern one. The first question is “Should I replace it with a similar type of boiler, or with something completely different?”
Why replace “like for like?”
There are good reasons to replace your existing boiler with its modern equivalent. It’s likely to be the least expensive option, because it involves minimal alterations to existing pipework. This means savings on materials and time and, because time is money, savings on labour costs. It also means less mess, disruption and redecorating expense.
Why choose something different?
There are many reasons why you might want to replace your boiler with a different type. If you’ve grown from a couple to a family with children to bathe every night, if Granny’s joined you in a new extension with en-suite facilities, or if your children have grown and left home, your hot water needs will have changed, and maybe your space heating too. In cases such as these, a “like for like” replacement may be inappropriate. If that’s the case, you are in the same position as someone choosing a boiler for the very first time, so please continue to our boiler page.
Choosing a new boiler when you don’t already have one is a little more involved, but don’t be daunted.
The size and type of construction of your home are more important factors and you’ll need the help of a professional to help calculate the amount of heat the boilers must produce to keep you cosy in the worst of weathers. You also need to consider your family size, and your lifestyle.
With a little help from Absolute Energy Services you can form a view on which type of boiler is best suited to you.
Conventional or Combination Boiler?
The major distinction between the two is the way they deliver hot water, so you need to consider how you use hot water now and possibly in the future (perhaps as the family grows, or grows up and leaves home).
Conventional boiler, in conjunction with a hot water storage cylinder, can deliver lashings of hot water to several taps simultaneously. A family with lots of laundry and toddlers bathing, or teenagers showering every evening is almost certain to be better served by a traditional Conventional boiler.
A Conventional boiler can also come in the form of a Back boiler, which is sited in the chimney breast and comes complete with many different types of fire fronts.
Please remember that if you are considering a conventional boiler, an important requirement is a cold water storage tank (so loft space is usually required) and room to site a hot water cylinder (airing cupboard). If you live in a flat with no loft, and space is tight, then you may need to consider an unvented cylinder which fills direct from the water main.
A combination boiler eliminates the need for a hot water storage cylinder, and cold water storage tanks. Instead hot water is heated instantaneously when you turn on the tap (so you don’t have to wait for the hot water cylinder to heat up or keep it on standby, and you’ll never run out of hot water!) Plus you can have shower at mains pressure. However it takes slightly long to deliver a bath full of hot water, whilst simultaneous use of 2 or more taps can result in the flow of water being diminished somewhat to one of the outlets. A couple’s hot water needs are likely to be modest, using relatively small amounts – in which case a combination boiler is possibly the most suitable option. Alternatively you could install an unvented hot water cylinder.