Combination boilers, which are usually referred to as Combi boilers, are the popular boiler on the market. There are five types of Combi boiler, altogether accounting for over fifty per cent of sales of new boilers in the United Kingdom. They are not suited to every home, so some care and research needs to be carried out before committing to buying one.
The success of the Combi boiler has led manufacturers to produce boilers which are more suitable for larger homes, as previously Combi boilers were more suitable for smaller dwellings, such as bungalows and smaller spaces such as lofts.
Combi boilers are excellent if you wish to have water on demand. They have the advantage that they do not require feeder and expansion tanks or cylinders in the airing cupboard. Many people are able to free up large amounts of space in their homes by removing these extra tanks and replacing the whole system with a Combi boiler. However, this can also be a disadvantage as water is not stored, so water will need time to come up to the correct temperature if there are many people using it.
This is not so much of a problem if you are waiting for water to wash the dishes, but it can take some time if you are trying to run a bath. In the main, however, the Combi boiler can supply water whenever you need it. As the Combi boiler has fewer components it is easier to install and maintain, although it is recommended that you employ a suitably registered and qualified engineer to carry out any work on your system, you can find Gas Safe registered engineers at Boiler Guide.
Energy efficiency is one of the major advantages of a Combi boiler and many of the new condensing boilers are achieving the SEDBUK ‘A’ rating which is the highest possible rating for energy efficiency. It is important that you buy the correct model for your needs, as some of the power outputs may not be suitable for the demands of your home use. It is also worth finding out what the water pressure is in your home, as a Combi boiler is not as effective in areas of low water pressure.
A typical combi for a 3 bedroom semi-detached house will cost in the region of £600 – £1000 depending on brand, Worcester Bosch are a premium offering favoured by many installers for their ease of installation and support but it’ll cost you. Alpha, Ferroli or Ravenheat are at the cheaper end but tend to offer shorter warranties. A typical installation for a combi should take around 1 day costing between £500 – £1000 depending upon parts required and whether a powerflush is also included.
It is worth taking the trouble to explore installation and running costs. The energy efficiency of a Combi boiler is likely to offset some of the installation costs, which can be expensive. There are grants available, both nationally and locally and you should explore these avenues before making a decision. The most common form of Combi boiler is the instantaneous boiler which heats water directly from your mains supply. This then supplies shower and taps as required.
You can also purchase a Combi storage boiler which stores a small amount of water, giving a better initial supply when you turn on your tap. The size of the storage will determine the level of water supplied. The condenser version of this type of Combi boiler will again provide more efficient heating. If you need more initial water storage, this can be supplied by installing a Combined Primary Storage unit, which quickly heats water up to supply radiators and taps and allows for a higher water flow.