Selecting an ideal type of boiler to purchase and install in your home is a significant decision that can get quite confusing. A home heating system is a long-term investment, so homeowners should take proper care when they assess their current and future energy requirements. For the average owner, however, the right type of boiler is simply one that keeps the house warm and spouts hot water from the shower.
Once you get down to the brass tacks, you’ll discover that there’s more to choosing a boiler than fancy looks and statistics. Granted, the best way to get the right unit for your requirements is to consult a professional. However, before you seek advice, it’s useful to have a rough idea of what your options look like.
If you own a large property with 5 or more bedrooms and even more people that’d need to use hot water, you may need a conventional boiler with a big reservoir. For compact living spaces that rarely have extra-high hot water demand, you may want to consider getting a combi boiler.
What is a Combi Boiler?
A combi boiler (or combination boiler in full) instantaneously heats and provides water for your central heating or when you open a hot tap. This setup is unlike that of conventional boilers that heat water in a storage tank. Combi boilers are lightweight, highly efficient, and available within most people’s budgets. This type of boiler comes with low purchase and installation costs as well as lower overall energy bills.
When to Use a Combi Boiler
As mentioned earlier, large homes with extensive hot water demand may require an equally large conventional boiler. If you’re tight on space and fitting a chunky hot water tank inside your home isn’t an option, then getting a combi boiler may be your best solution.
Conventional water boilers produce and store hot water, regardless of whether it’ll be used or not. A combi boiler, on the other hand, only produces hot water when you need it, which translates to significant energy savings. Combi boilers also typically come with a lower price tag. So if you want to warm up your home and get hot water on a tight budget, consider getting a combi boiler.
With a conventional boiler, you get to enjoy having instant hot water as long as there’s some in the tank. If you quickly use up all the water, that’s it — you’d need to wait until the tank fills up once again and the boiler heats up the water to your programmed settings. If you’re looking to get a theoretically unlimited amount of hot water, you may want to look into getting a combi boiler.
When Not to Use a Combi Boiler
Combi boilers can only produce as much hot water as the mains water pressure and system heating capabilities allow. If you regularly have two or more people showering or opening hot water taps in your home, a combi boiler won’t be suitable.
The same issue also applies to your home’s central heating system. Combi boilers may struggle to simultaneously feed enough heat to your hot water taps and central heating system. Whenever a hot water tap is opened in your home, the house may start getting cold. As such, you may only want to install a combi boiler if you don’t regularly run hot water from the tap for more than a few minutes at a time.
Sure, you can create space for a few more cupboards and shave off several bucks from your energy bill by getting a combi boiler. However, if you currently have a conventional or system boiler that runs efficiently, it may be more practical and cost-effective to keep that unit.