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Different types of boiler systems explained

Unless you’re a professional plumber, you probably assume your central heating system will always work and deliver you hot water and heat until it doesn’t, and a boiler repair, boiler service or a new boiler installation is needed. But if you needed a new central heating system, could you identify which would be most suitable for you or would you need a plumber? There are several different types of design, and they all work in slightly different ways, which we’ll get into below. First, we’ll look at the ‘wet’ central heating systems that heat water to create warmth in the radiators that keep you snug in the winter.

Combi Boilers

The term combi boiler comes from the fact that these boilers create the heat and the hot water in your home. They have one boiler contained in a sealed unit with two autonomous heat exchangers. One is linked to your radiators to provide heat, and the other joins to the hot water supply. Once you request almost instantaneous heat or water, a sensor inside the combi boiler triggers the boiler to burn the fuel. There are many benefits to a modern combi boiler installation, such as the space it saves – you can fit a combi boiler inside a kitchen cupboard, excellent energy efficiency with on-demand hot water and quick and easy boiler installations for the plumber. The only downsides are the occasional lack of water pressure if multiple outlets require hot water and the absence of a backup immersion heater, which means a boiler repair in the event of a breakdown. However, an annual boiler service for a combi will help prevent any potential failures.

System boilers

System boilers are typically found in more significant properties where a vaster amount of hot water is required at any one time. System boilers use a hot water cylinder to store hot water, which means hot water should always be available in theory. Besides the extra space for the hot water cylinder, system boilers have numerous benefits, including consistent flow rates and water pressure to many outlets and energy efficiency. It also doesn’t require a cold water tank. One of the negatives of a system boiler is it can run out of hot water, and you will have to reheat it if you use more than is stored. One way around this is to use a timer system to ensure you have enough hot water for your evening soak. A boiler repair and boiler service may also take longer because the system has more components overall than a combi boiler.

Regular boilers

Regular or conventional boilers need a hot water cylinder and a cold water tank to provide hot water and heat. The cold water tank, usually situated in the loft, feeds the water into the boiler, so when the boiler ignites, the heat exchanger warms the water. The noticeable detraction to a regular boiler system is the space needed for both tanks and the potential for an expensive boiler service and boiler repair.

Choosing a suitable central heating and boiler system for your building is essential to ensure energy efficiency and not overpay for wasted energy.