Over recent years, condensing boilers have become the boiler of choice when fitting a new heating system to a home. Over fifty per cent of newly fitted boilers are Combi boilers. When condensing boilers were initially introduced, there were concerns about their reliability, but these have largely been overcome as technology has evolved and design improved.
Condensing boilers offer reduced running costs and greater efficiency, largely due to their more efficient heat exchanger. This means that rather than heat being lost outside via the flue, it is reused, thereby taking the efficiency nearer ninety per cent, rather than fifty to sixty per cent for older conventional boilers. Boilers achieving the SEDBUK ‘A’ rating have efficiency levels of nearer ninety five per cent and there are many condensing boilers on the market which achieve this standard.
Initially, the cost of buying and installing a condensing boiler can be higher, but, in time the reduced running costs more than make up for this outlay. There are three main types of condensing boiler. If you require your boiler to be suitable for limited areas; for example for a loft conversion or bungalow, or you wish to have hot water on demand then a Combi boiler is ideal. In fact, some of the latest models produced are designed for larger homes with full central heating and multiple bathrooms/showers.
Condensing Combi Boilers
Combi boilers do not require extra tanks and cylinders, therefore they are easier to install. In addition, if you are replacing an old system with a Combi boiler, you may well find yourself with extra storage space. They also have less components, making them easier to maintain, although if you require an engineer to look at your system it is advisable to employ someone who is registered to deal with your type of boiler as some engineers may not fully understand each and every brand.
Condensing System Boilers
System boilers are often referred to as ‘heat only’ boilers and they sit between Combi boilers and regular boilers. They have the advantage that many of the components of the boiler are actually in the boiler itself, therefore they are more easily installed as they are more compact. System boilers generally only require a cylinder in the airing cupboard and take water from the mains, thereby eliminating the need to have feeder and expansion tanks in the loft. System boilers are recommended if you have a home with two or more bathrooms, or if you have low water pressure. They are also a good choice if you are upgrading from an old system.
Condensing Regular Boilers
Many people refer to regular boilers as conventional or traditional boilers; however they are also condensing boilers. Older systems tend to be regular boilers and generally have a cylinder in an airing cupboard, plus a feeder and expansion tank in the loft. This type of system is useful for larger homes, or homes with low water pressure. Water is taken from the mains and stored in a feeder tank. When water is used, it is replaced by water from the expansion tank, ensuring a ready supply of water, when required, which is not always the case with something like a Combi boiler. Unfortunately, regular boilers do take up a fair bit of space and there are more components which need to be maintained regularly.