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Types of Central Heating Systems

Choosing the right type of central heating for your home can be confusing. The right system for your home needs to be energy efficient - this means to reduce energy consumption & gas bills, whilst providing the best performance.

So, to help you out we’ve created a friendly guide to explain the main central heating systems and what types of homes they're best suited for. 

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What is a Combi Boiler?

Combi Boiler Explained - powered by gas, oil or electric

A combi boiler (or combination boiler) is the most common type of boiler in the UK. It heats water directly from your mains, providing instant hot water from the tap.

Both energy-efficient and cost-effective to run, a combi boiler is incredibly compact and doesn’t require cold water storage or a hot water cylinder.

It can be located in your kitchen, garage, bedroom or cupboard.

It’s perfect for small to medium homes with one bathroom.

There are a range of boiler brands available, all complete with manufacturer warranties up to 10 years. When combined with a service plan, these can help provide complete peace of mind when it comes to your central heating.

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What is a System Boiler?

System Boiler Explained - no cold-water tank in the loft

A system boiler is very similar to a combi but it requires an additional hot water storage cylinder. The system boiler will initially heat the mains water, whilst the hot water cylinder will store and maintain it - so you'll always have instant hot water on hand. This is a space-saving option to a regular boiler but will take up cupboard space with the added hot water cylinder.

It's ideal for homes with more than one bathroom as it can deliver hot water to multiple taps and they’re also very economical to run.

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What is a Regular Boiler?

Regular Boiler Explained - also known as a heat-only boiler

A regular boiler is similar to a system boiler, but it requires a cold water storage tank (often found in the loft) as well as a hot water cylinder. A regular boiler uses the cold water stored in the loft to heat up, it will then transport the hot water to the cylinder which keeps your water at a lovely hot temperature. Regular boilers used to be the most common type of central heating system.

A regular boiler is ideal for larger homes with more than one bathroom and low water pressure.

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What is a Back Boiler?

Back Boiler Explained - located behind a fireplace

Often referred to as a BBU, the Back Boiler Unit system provides both central heating and hot water. This will be located behind a fireplace which could be powered by gas, electric or fuel.

This is likely to be an older system, so if you choose to convert to a new boiler then you’re likely to benefit from energy efficiencies.

Figures from the Energy Saving Trust show that old standard back boilers are less than 70% efficient, which means that for every £1 burned, as much as 30p’s worth of heat is lost up the chimney.

Replacing it with a new energy-efficient combi boiler at over 90% efficiency could see your fuel bills reduce by over £300!

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How much is a new central heating system?

There are various factors that influence the cost of a brand new central heating system. The size of your home, the type of central heating system you need or the boiler brand you’d prefer. All have costs associated with them, but if you’re getting a brand-new central heating system installed from scratch, you’ll likely pay anything from £2,000 to £3,200.

However, when it comes to your boiler, you may be able to take up a payment plan to help make the cost more affordable. Making affordable monthly payments instead of one upfront sum could help take the sting out of replacing your boiler, especially if it’s unexpected.

Ways to Pay for a New Boiler

Our payment options make replacing your faulty or inefficient boiler easy and affordable.

Choose from:

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Can you get free central heating? 

For those who qualify, we are currently working in partnership with the charity National Energy Action (NEA) to install a completely free central heating system for those in fuel poverty. We also have an ECO grant which can heavily subsidise the price of a new central heating install, and for those who qualify can get it completely free.

Can you install a central heating system yourself? 

No, to be able to install a new central heating system you will need to be Gas Safe Registered and qualified to be able to work legally with any gas appliances. Installing a heating system yourself is extremely dangerous to do, unless you've been trained and are qualified to do so.

All of our engineers are Gas Safe Registered and have years of experience installing a tonne of central heating installs during their varied careers.

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How to drain a central heating system?

You may need to drain your central heating if the pressure is too high in your system, this is a simple task that won’t take you too long – so, don’t worry! You don’t have to be a professional to do this. We have a guide explain exactly what you can do to either decrease or increase pressure within your system.

What should you do if you spot issues in your central heating?

If there are any issues with your central heating system, you should always try to get the problem diagnosed as quickly as possible before future damage occurs - if you don't you could end up paying for a completely new central heating install. Here at Boiler Plan, we offer a boiler repair service you can book in with one of our heating experts.

With our first time fix rate of 90%, we’ll more than likely fix your problem the first time we come out to see you.