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By Home master

Summer’s Combi Boiler Buying Guide

Most people love the summer: holidays, barbeques and outdoor activities – all things you can’t do at other times in the year.

However 1 thing you are unlikely to think about as the warm weather touches your face is that it is actually the perfect time to upgrade your central heating system, and in particular your boiler.

1 top tip I can give is that there is no better time to make significant changes to your heating system than when the sun is out – no disruption is needed to your central heating system as it is unlikely that you will be using it in the first place!

With such a narrow window of opportunity, there is never a better period in the year to make significant changes to your central heating system.

 

But what is a combi boiler?

A combi boiler model provides heating and hot water from the 1 appliance, heating the water as it flows through the heat exchanger within the boiler.

No additional appliances (such as hot water tanks and expansion vessels) are needed, making it an excellent way to save on space within the home. This has resulted in the combi boiler becoming an increasingly popular choice across homes in the UK, accounting for well over half of new boiler installations in Britain today.

The combination of a water heater and a central heating system makes a combi boiler highly efficient, with most holding an A-rating. This means that they operate at efficiency levels over 90%.

This tied with the time and money saved on installation of a tank in the roof space makes it a particularly appealing option for those looking to be financially prudent.

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Combi Boiler
Image license: Wikimedia

 

 

What should I do when looking to upgrade?

The first thing you should do is find out the model of your current boiler – this will allow you to work out how it fares in terms of performance against the modern alternatives.

This information should all be easily accessible using the paperwork included when you bought the boiler or alternatively can probably be found on the manufacturer’s website. If your boiler has been providing a satisfactory performance up to this point then its best to look for something new with a similar level of capabilities to ensure you don’t lose any performance.

If you think that your current boiler is too weak or too powerful for the needs of your property then it’s worth talking to a heating engineer to make sure you get the combi boiler that’s right for you.

Combi boilers differ mainly on their flowrate and central heating output. Those with a higher flowrates and greater central heating output will generally be more expensive but are much better for larger properties with more demand for hot water and heating.

Conversely combi boilers with central heating outputs less than 24kW and flowrates less than 10 litres/minute are better suited for smaller properties such as 1-2 bedrooms flats and apartments.

 

Price and accesories

Once you have established the boiler models that are right for you and your home you then need to establish if you need to purchase any of the heating accessories that allow you get the most out of your shiny new boiler.

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A heating engineer will be able to advise you exactly what you need. However, you will almost certainly need to invest in a flue (this gets rid of waste gases from the property that are created by the boiler).

Heating controls such as room thermostats, programmers and programmable room thermostats (that offer both functions rolled into one) are also a fantastic way to maximise efficiency by allowing you to control factors such as when your heating is on and what temperature it operates at.

Once you know what you need you can then start to look at price. Independent heating companies tend to offer great deals on boiler installations, especially if they are official installers who work directly alongside the manufacturers.

As with everything it is always best to shop around, but one thing you should never skimp on is the quality of your heating installer. Only get your boiler installed by a Gas Safe registered engineer who knows what they are doing – the health and financial risks are not worth taking.

With so many combi boilers out there you are certain to find a model that ticks all the right boxes, it is just a matter of establishing what you need to cope with the demand of your home and then finding a boiler that meets with your budget. If you heed my advice you will also find that there is no better time than the summer to make these changes – so act quick before you need to start relying on your central heating again!