Choosing a new boiler is a big decision to make and with so much choice available it can be quite confusing for the average consumer. So how do you know which boiler is best for your home?
To know this, it is important to consider your current heating and water needs and any potential changes in demand. Other factors include the size of your property, hot water usage, existing heating system and the fuel source availability at your current property.
Types of Boilers
There are a variety of boilers available for purchase, so it is important you are aware of the ones that are available for you to choose from.
Combination boilers or combi-boilers are by far the most common type of boiler used in the UK. They are unique in that they can provide on-demand hot water directly from the mains and do not need to be hooked up to a storage tank.
Combi boilers contain everything required within a single unit, meaning there is no need for additional space to store a tank, making them a perfect solution for homes with limited space.
These boilers heat the water and then store it within a separate storage tank, allowing it to be used when required. Once the hot water has been used, you will have to wait for more heated water to fill the tank.
Conventional boilers are usually reserved for larger properties with multiple water outlets such as showers and toilets. The major downside of these boilers is that they require a substantial amount of space to house them.
This type of boiler works by supplying hot water directly to the radiators and a storage tank. Just like a combi boiler, the main components are within a single unit, allowing them to be easily installed and serviced.
System boilers are typically utilised in homes with multiple bathrooms and those with greater hot water demands than what a combi boiler can provide.
What Type of Boiler Do You Need?
As previously discussed, there are three main types of boiler – combi boilers, regular boilers, and system boilers. The type you need will largely depend on the following factors:
If you live in a property with very limited space for your boiler, you will likely be best suited to opt for a combi boiler. This is a boiler that provides both hot water and heating and comes as a single unit, as opposed to a regular boiler, which requires both a cold-water tank and a hot water tank.
Current Boiler Installation
It is important to think about whether you want to keep your current system or convert it to something else. Typically, it is more cost-effective and practical to install the same system you already have.
However, there are certain circumstances when converting to another boiler type may make sense. For instance, in old properties, you may have a very outdated and inefficient system, while new builds are probably fitted with the ideal type already.
How you use the water is also important to consider, if you plan on using your hot water at multiple ports at the same time, then a regular or system boiler will be more appropriate. However, if you still do not have adequate space, a combi boiler is going to be more appropriate.
What size Boiler Do You Need?
Once you determine the type of boiler you need, it is time to figure out what size boiler you require to meet your daily hot water demands. For example, a small mid-terraced property will require a smaller boiler than a 5-bedroom converted barn.
Your Hot Water Demand
How much water do you currently use? And how much do you predict you will use in the future? For instance, if you are currently living with a partner but plan on having children, then your hot water demands will likely increase over the years.
The average UK household has a bath and a shower, in which case a 24-30 kW boiler is typically advised. For those homes with additional outlets e.g. an extra bathroom, it may be prudent to go for a bigger 30-35 kW boiler.
However, if you are likely to be using multiple hot water outlets simultaneously e.g. two baths, it is often recommended to go for a system boiler instead. A system boiler heats water and then stores it within a tank, allowing a greater supply of water at once.
The Size of Your Property
Your boiler will not only need to provide your home with hot water but also generate enough heat to keep it warm. That means you need to opt for a boiler that will provide an adequate amount of heated water to the entire property and all its rooms. Boiler sizing is categorized in terms of heat output, which starts from 5 and goes as high as 35 kW for domestic boilers.
For non-combi boilers, you ought to steer clear of a boiler manufacturers that will be too large for your property. For instance, a boiler that can supply more than 10 radiators may seem appealing, but if your home only has 6, then it will only result in you using an unnecessary amount of energy and increasing your bills.
In terms of combi-boilers, the boiler size is typically categorised in terms of hot water demand i.e. how many outlets are likely to be used at once.
The Loss of Heat
Heat loss is a major issue, for instance, 1 third of a home’s heat is lost through the roof. Your property must be adequately insulated, as otherwise, you are fighting an uphill battle.
If your home feels particularly cold or you feel that you struggle to get it to stay warm, you may have a poorly insulated home and should not be overcompensating by purchasing an oversized boiler.
For this reason, ideally, you should ensure that you take care of your home’s insulation before shopping for a new boiler. That includes draught-proofing windows and doors and insulating the walls and roof.