Types of Boilers

The Different Types of Boilers and their Cost

A boiler is an integral part of your home. Without a boiler, there will be no hot showers and baths. There will be no central heating. One can just imagine the trek back to those cold winter months of long ago when the only way to get heated water for your bath was to boil water then pour it in a tub. One can just imagine chopping firewood to feed the fireplace in order to heat up your home. Those were the days.

Boilers used to be as big as the house itself. The system was first used in powering steam engines that boilers were huge to accommodate the need of steam engines. Today's boilers are compact and energy efficient. If your boiler is more than 15 years old it's high time to consider replacing your old boiler with a new one. Think of the 30% savings you'll get on your fuel bills. The price of gas, oil or LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) is not getting lower.

There are three basic types of boilers. They are the regular or conventional broiler, the combination broiler and the condensing boiler.

Conventional Boiler

This system uses two water tanks usually placed in the loft or attic. A large tank is for the cold water storage and the smaller one serves as the feed and expansion tank. The larger tank gets water from the cold water mains for refill. The larger cold water storage tank feeds cold water to the cylinder tank (usually in the airing cupboard). The central boiler will then heat the cylinder and converts the cold water to hot. Once the water is heated, the cylinder will then be able to supply hot water to all the taps in the house. The feed and expansion tank maintains the correct level of water in the domestic water heating system. It also the backup tank for the water expansion in the radiators and pipe work when they get really hot.

The advantages of a conventional boiler are first, the system can supply hot water to all the taps in the house simultaneously and second, if hot water runs out, the conventional boiler has a recovery time of 25 to 30 minutes.

A cylinder is an integral part of a conventional boiler as this is the storage tank for the hot water. Cylinders have the capacity range of 74 to 210 litres. New models have the capacity to be set at temperatures between 55 to 60 degrees centigrade no matter what the outside temperature is. Cylinders are now designed to heat and reheat faster.

Combination Boiler

A combi boiler is the most popular type of boiler in UK homes today. About 50% of UK homes use this type of boiler for central gas heating. A combi boiler heats up water instantaneously and without the need for a hot water storage tank. There is no cold water storage tank or a feed and expansion tank up in the loft too. A combination boiler will fit quite well into an average cupboard. It is economical to run and can certainly produce a 24/7 supply of hot water. The downside is that the system cannot feed all taps simultaneously. Before considering getting a combination boiler, consider if there is a demand for hot water simultaneously.

Condensing Boiler

In line with the government's thrust to reduce UK's energy consumption and harmful emissions in 2005, the Building Regulations require that all new domestic boiler installations that use gas will only be allowed to use condensing boilers.

A condensing boiler is highly efficient and cost and energy effective. This type of boiler has a very effective heat exchanger that allows more heat to be removed from the flue by-products. This way, very little heat is wasted. Though slightly more expensive than the other two types, the added cost is compensated by the savings on the fuel. You could save as much as 90% on fuel cost with this type of boiler.

There are two types of condensing boiler: conventional and combination. The subtypes work basically the same as the regular conventional and combination boilers. The downside of a condensing boiler is that you have to position the boiler in such a way as to eliminate complaints from your neighbours as the boiler's flue emits a lot of steam or water vapour.

How Much for a New Boiler?

There is no way to upgrade an old boiler and not cost an arm and leg. There are regulations that have to be met and complying with each one costs money. Here are the basic requirements for a new boiler.

A boiler would probably cost you around £800 if you don't follow all required regulations. However, if you go by the book the same installation would cost you £3000 or more. Compliance is a must. Doing the installation the "cheap" way would someday, somehow bounce back at you. Better be safe than sorry.