Are you one of those people who knows where their boiler is, but aren’t quite sure how it works?
You might know that it is responsible for heating your home, and you can change the temperature by twisting a dial, but would you know what to do if it started to make strange noises or if the pilot light went out?
If the answer is no, then maybe it is time you got to know your boiler a little bit better. Rix Petroleum helped answer some of my questions.
Why do I need to understand my boiler?
The simple answer is that without it, your life would be a lot more uncomfortable. Your boiler is the brain of your central heating system, and without it you wouldn’t have access to
warm water or snug temperatures. Therefore, it is important for your well-being that you are able to use your boiler correctly and can identify when there is something wrong.
As fuel costs rise, it is also vital that you know how to efficiently control your system — being in the know can keep your heating bills down and your carbon footprint low.
What exactly does my boiler do?
According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, more than 90% of homes in the UK are equipped with a central heating system, which means that almost every home in the country has a boiler. It is one of the most important parts of the system, and is responsible for heating up the water that runs through the pipes and radiators in your home, as well as supplying hot water to your taps and shower.
To be able to heat the water, your boiler has to burn a fuel such as gas, oil, LPG, coal or wood. The majority of central heating systems run on mains gas, but other fuels can be used for those homes that are not connected to the system.
What type of boiler do I have?
If you have had a new boiler installed or live in a home built after 2005, there is a very good chance you have a condensing boiler, which are a lot more efficient than older non-condensing boilers. Even if you live in an older home, there is a chance that the previous occupants may have updated the heating system in the past. By law, all new boilers installed in the UK must now be a condenser model, unless there is a good reason why one can’t be installed.
You can check the government’s Planning Portal page on boilers and heating for more information.
If you are not sure if you have a condensing boiler, you can check the manual and other documentation which should indicate what type it is. If you don’t have the manual at hand, have a look at the boiler for a manufacturer and model number and try an internet search to find the product information.
Conventional or combi boiler?
To make matters more confusing, boilers can also be divided into several subcategories, however, the two most common types of boiler are conventional and combi boilers. Conventional boilers use a storage tank, where the water is heated. Once the water is used, there can be a delay while the tank fills up again and reheats. As they require a water tank, conventional boilers tend to take up a lot more space, with the tank often being located in the loft of the house. This can make maintenance more complex and take up space that could be utilised for storage.
On the other hand, combi boilers supply and heat water directly from the mains, negating the need for an extra tank. This also means that hot water is unlimited, so you won’t find yourself being tortured with freezing temperatures halfway through a shower.
Which of the two are better? Well, a combi boiler has many more advantages than a conventional boiler, and you don’t often hear about people switching from a combi to a conventional system. If you are thinking about updating your boiler, then switching to a new combi system may be well worth your consideration.
You can find out more about the intricacies of switching to a combi boiler in this in-depth guide from The Greenage.
Getting to know your boiler options makes sense. How well do you know your boiler?