Heating and hot water are two essentials of modern-day living, and both depend on a reliable central heating system.
Take a look at the different types of boiler which can provide this.
The types of boiler you choose to use should also be suited to your home. It’s important to understand the differences in complexity and function of each type of boiler. This is because boiler breakdowns are costly and may leave you without any heating or hot water whatsoever. This quick guide will give you a breakdown of the different types of boiler and the benefits of each.
Combination or ‘combi’ boilers are the most popular types of boiler in the UK. This may be down to the small size of the average home in relation to many other countries. This type of boiler does not use a hot water cylinder or a cold water tank for storage – it heats the water when you require it. This means that a combi central heating system can be a very economical option. It’ll only heat the water you use.
As hot water is not stored, there will usually be a slight delay in the water to heating up. Using more than one hot tap at a time will also affect the water’s pressure and flow. Furthermore, as both your radiators and taps are supplied by this one central unit, a breakdown may leave you without either.
Despite these concerns, the straightforward and compact design of a combi boiler makes them good for most homes. It also means installation should be quicker than with other types of central heating system. Because water is fed directly from the mains, it will provide a good level of pressure without the need for a separate pump.
This type of boiler may also be known as an ‘open-vent’, ‘regular’ or ‘heat-only’ boiler. Due to the need for both a hot water cylinder and a feed & expansion tank, this type of central heating system is more appropriate for a larger home. With a large store of warm water available, multiple taps can be supplied without any noticeable effect to residents. However, this does mean that your hot water supply is limited, ask your mechanical contractor for more details. If this runs out, you’ll have to wait for more to be heated.
In these types of boiler, water is heated and sent to your radiators as well as stored in the hot water cylinder. This is fed by the feed & expansion tank, which is found above the highest radiator in the house. This tank is supplied by the mains and allows the movement of water both down into the heating system and back up out of it. This is necessary as the heating of water causes it to expand and will push water back into the tank. Supply in this system requires a pump to provide enough pressure to reach all areas of your home. Overall, this is the most costly and complicated type of system to install and maintain and could benefit from boiler insurance.
System boilers work in a similar way to regular heating systems. The difference is that many of the major components (like the expansion vessel and pump) are actually built into the boiler. This is a more modern system than a regular boiler and is contributing to the decrease in homes using that type.
Like a conventional boiler, these types of boiler still allows water to be heated and stored, but no longer requires a feed & expansion tank. This makes it better for both space and servicing. Installation is also more straightforward. However, due to the complexity of this type of central heating system, repairs and maintenance can be expensive. For this reason, boiler breakdown cover would be useful to avoid potentially high repair costs if you were to experience a breakdown.
This last type of boiler can be used as a primary heating system, but you’ll more often find it used as a backup. This is due to the cost of heating large amounts of water with this system. It is expensive because it uses an electric resistance coil within a container to heat the surrounding water. Similar to a kettle.
As they work on electric, immersion heaters are easily switched on and off. They provide a quick supply of small amounts of hot water which is what makes them good backups to the main boiler system. They are especially useful when it comes to combi boilers. A combi boiler breakdown could leave you with neither heating nor hot water, so an immersion heater is a good fall-back from this. However, heating water using gas rather than electricity is far cheaper and more efficient.
Why You Need Boiler Breakdown Cover
The different types of boiler available and the benefits of each will make them suited to your home. However, with all systems there are disadvantages. For example, the greater number of parts necessary for certain boilers may mean that there’s more to break down. Furthermore, the failure of a one-unit system of a combi boiler may leave you in a worse state. For this reason, a good boiler breakdown cover policy would provide peace of mind around the home. It also may help you avoid significant costs over the winter period!
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