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Types of Boilers

Types of Boilers

What are the Types of Boilers?

Knowing the different types of boilers, the way they work, and the pros and cons of each type can be a daunting subject for the average joe, but understanding how boilers function and where each type is best suited could make all the difference when thinking about refurbishing your home. To that end, below you’ll find a comprehensive list detailing the three main categories of boilers and their respective advantages and disadvantages to help you make the most of your central heating.

Traditional (Regular) Boilers

A type of boiler that can still be prevalent in many older homes, traditional boilers circulate water around the house using a gravity fed system. They feature two tanks that are kept high in the house: a cold water storage tank and a feed tank for the central heating. Hot water must be stored in a cylindrical tank somewhere lower in the house. As hot water in the cylinder is used, gravity ensures the store is replenished from the cold water tank which then must be heated again by the boiler. Meanwhile, the central heating feed tank maintains the water levels in the central heating system throughout the house, keeping things running smoothly and, more importantly, warmly.

However, because the hot water will be gravity fed from the cylindrical tank, you may need to install a pump in order to generate enough pressure to have an adequate shower. Nevertheless, these boilers can provide a consistent flow of hot water to a number of taps simultaneously. Wherever hot water usage is high in a household, such as in a home with more than one bathroom, traditional boilers are an ideal fit with a homeowner’s needs.

A major drawback of the traditional boiler system, though, is that they are inefficient on energy consumption, as even water you don’t use will be heated as long as the boiler is on. Furthermore, heat can be lost from a plethora of areas around the system, from exposed pipes to a poorly insulated hot water tank.

Problems can also occur in cold weather, where the cold water storage tank in the loft can be subject to freezing. As such, the supply of water to the system is halted and warming your house and water impossible until the cold water storage tank has thawed. This is where a system boiler would perhaps be more suited.

System Boilers

Similar to traditional boilers, system boilers require a hot water cylinder to store heated water, but they don’t require a cold water storage tank to be installed for the system to work. The space you save with a system boiler, therefore, could free up your loft for a conversion, into a bedroom or home office, that could increase the value of your home exponentially. Likewise, the main hot water system and major heating components are built into the boiler itself, making it quick and easy to install and yet again being more conservative on space than a traditional boiler.

System boilers, also like traditional ones, are excellent at supplying hot water to multiple rooms or outlets at the same time. But, akin to traditional boilers, they are also prone to huge amounts of heat loss from the hot water tank and can needlessly heat water, putting your energy costs through the roof.

However, system boilers do have an ace up their sleeve. For those homeowners with a south-facing roof, there exists the opportunity to utilise renewable solar power to heat their water. Those willing to make the initial investment will find that the savings they make on their gas bills more than pays for the cost of the solar panels, making system boilers one of the more economical types of boiler.

Combination or ‘Combi’ Boilers

Combi boilers offer a cost-effective, energy-efficient alternative to heating your home and water supply. By heating water instantly as and when it is required, combi boilers ensure only the hot water you need is generated and that energy expenditure on heating unnecessary water is kept to a minimum.

The heating elements for both the central heating and the hot water come in the single compact unit that comprises the combi boiler, so combi boilers also have the added advantage of taking up as little space as possible, enabling you to utilise the areas, that would otherwise be occupied by water tanks, for more adventurous uses.

As combi boilers are connected to the mains water system, they supply hot water at mains pressure, allowing you to save on money for a pump in your shower to provide pressure. The problem here, though, is that combi boilers struggle to supply hot water to multiple outlets simultaneously, making them unsuitable for those homeowners who find themselves using vast amounts of hot water.

Nevertheless, combi boilers are the most efficient system for the majority of homeowners and are the most common system now found in UK households. They are compact, efficient boilers and often make for the safest bet when considering a new boiler for your home.

Ebberns provide bespoke bathrooms, kitchens and bedrooms to the Hemel Hempstead and Watford area and beyond. We also offer an expert plumbing service tailored to your needs; our 35 years of experience means we can always recommend the best boiler for your home. To find out more, contact our friendly team today.


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