If you have the unfortunate problem of a boiler breakdown in winter and you have to replace your gas boiler or you are simply looking to upgrade your gas boiler then there are a few things you need to consider when choosing what type of boiler to install in your home. The size of your boiler, the type, construction, and energy efficiency will all have an impact on your home and your energy bills. You should take some time to consider your options and think carefully about which boiler to choose.
Below is some information on the regular or ‘conventional’ gas boilers, system gas boilers and combination or ‘combi’ gas boilers. (System boilers are very similar to conventional boilers.)
A combination or combi boiler is both a high-efficiency water heater and a central heating system boiler in a single compact unit. Combi boilers heat water directly from the mains when you turn on a tap, so you won’t need a hot water storage cylinder or a cold water storage tank in the attic.
They are also very cost-effective and energy-efficient as water is heated instantly rather than being heated and then stored in a cylinder. An added benefit is that hot water is delivered at mains pressure, which means that you could get a powerful shower without the need for a separate pump.
System boilers require a cylinder for storing hot water, however the major heating and hot water system components are built into the boiler itself, making it quicker and easier to install. In addition, there is no need for a tank in the attic, so it can be an option in a home with little or no attic space or where the space is earmarked for a conversion.
These boilers are also compatible with solar water heating systems, which deliver environmental benefits as well as lower energy bills.
Regular boilers (sometimes known as conventional or heat only boilers) are ideally suited to homes that already have a traditional central heating and hot water system which is linked to a separate hot water cylinder. These boilers also need a cold water storage tank in the attic to feed the hot water cylinder as well as a tank that maintains the water level of the central heating system.
A regular boiler may be the best option for replacing an existing boiler if the property has an older radiator system, as it might not be able to cope with the higher water pressure that is delivered by system or combi boilers.
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A combi boiler or ( combination boiler ) is an ingenious space-saving idea and an increasingly popular choice in homes. Combi boilers now account for well over half of all the new domestic boilers installed every year.
A combi boiler is both a high-efficiency water heater and a central heating boiler, combined within one compact unit. Therefore, no separate hot water cylinder is required, offering space saving within the property.
Combination boilers are capable of providing instant hot water and heating while saving space within a home.
The conventional arrangement in Ireland is to have a normal boiler which heats the radiators via a sealed water circuit. By “sealed” it is meant that the water is contained within the system, going around in a loop between the radiators and the boiler.
To heat the “domestic hot water” (i.e. the water that comes out of the hot taps) the storage cylinder in the hot press has a coil in it through which the “radiator water” flows.
The disadvantage of this arrangement is that if the cylinder does not have hot water in it you have to wait some time for the coil to heat it up.
A ‘combi’ boiler is a boiler which combines both a conventional boiler for radiators and an independent water heater, together in the one unit. This dispenses with the hot water cylinder in the hot press. But better still, it means that hot water is always available instantly and for as long as you need it.
Control valves inside combi boilers operate in different directions, either letting the water flow through the central heating system or diverting it to a hot water tap, as required, but never both at the same time.
Combi boilers require sufficient mains water pressure in order to deliver a good water flow rate; low mains water pressure means hot water will merely trickle. If your mains water pressure is low or you have more than one bathroom, a conventional system boiler might be a better option for you.
It is also important to ensure that the heat output of the boiler is correct for your needs. Combi boilers have two heat outputs: one for Domestic Hot Water and the other for Central Heating. More effort and hence more heat is required to produce hot water than to heat a home through the radiators, so it is usually the hot water output that determines your choice of combi boiler.
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