What is a Combi Boiler?

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Boiler replacements are in very high demand throughout the UK. A lot of homeowners are making the most of the cost and energy savings that can be achieved with modern, efficient boilers over old gas guzzlers.

However, with so many different boilers on the market today, it can be difficult to know what make and model is right for your home. That’s why we have put this guide together; to help you understand your options and purchase the perfect new boiler.

What is a Combi Boiler & How Does it Work?

There are two main types of boilers available today: combi (combination) and traditional (standard) boilers.

Combi boilers are, by far, the most modern and popular option today. Conventional boilers, i.e. boilers that are linked to a separate hot water cylinder, tend to require a lot of space. However, a combi boiler makes the most of water heating and central heating, meaning you won’t need a large cylinder.

Space-saving, energy-saving, and cost-saving… there is a lot to like about combi boilers.

What is a combi boiler?

Also known as a combination boiler, a combi boiler essentially houses a central heating boiler and a high-efficiency water heater in one unit.

Combi boilers will heat the water directly from the mains when you turn the tap, meaning you do not need a cold water storage tank in the roof space or a hot water storage cylinder.

How does a combi boiler work?

A combi boiler will only heat the water when you turn the shower on or turn a hot tap. This makes sure that the boiler operates at maximum efficiency.

Hot water will be delivered to the taps with pressure, enabling you to enjoy a revigorating shower whenever needed.

Advantages of Combi Boilers

There are many advantages associated with modern combi boilers, so let’s take a look at the main ones:

Instant hot water

One of the main benefits associated with combi boilers is that they provide instant hot water.

As the water tank does not need to heat up, combi boilers can supply an unlimited amount of hot water on demand.

You don’t have to experience the frustration of waiting for the shower to heat up before you can get ready!

Heats water very efficiently

We all know that we need to do our bit for the planet in the current day and age, and a combi boiler can help you to do just that.

When compared with older boiler models, combi boilers are much more efficient. In fact, if you replace your current boiler with a newer combi boiler, you could end up saving as much as £300 per year on your heating bills.

Not only do you save money in terms of your monthly energy bills, but maintenance costs are typically lower as well. This is because there are fewer pipes required when compared with a conventional system boiler.

Better for the environment

As combi boilers are efficient, this means that they are much better for the environment as well.

As time goes on, the efficiency of your boiler can reduce from 70 per cent to 50 per cent. However, if you opt for a new, A-rated combi boiler, you can enjoy as much as 90 per cent efficiency. In fact, many come with a 98 per cent rating!

Combi boiler installation is simple

Due to the small size of combi boilers, they are a lot easier to install. This is because they can be housed in many parts of the home, and access issues are rarely a problem either.

Compact – no need for a hot water storage tank

Finally, the space-saving element is a significant one! If you were to go for a regular boiler, you would need a hot water cylinder and a cold water storage tank. Naturally, this takes up a lot of space, which can be particularly troublesome in small homes.

On the flip side, the small, compact nature of a combi boiler means it is perfect for all properties, no matter how big or small.

Drawbacks of Combi Boilers

Choosing a new boiler is always a process of weighing up the pros and cons associated with various models so you can figure out what makes the most sense for your home.

While there are many benefits associated with combi boilers, there are also some drawbacks, including the following:

Not ideal for homes with multiple bathrooms

If you have more than one bathroom, a combi boiler may not be sufficient enough for your high water demands.

As combi boilers draw all of their water supply directly from the mains, this type of boiler will find it difficult to meet the high demand for water.

For example, if three people were to turn taps on at the same time in different rooms, the water pressure would reduce considerably. This is because a combi boiler does not have the benefit of a backup water tank to meet this demand.

As a consequence, if you have a big property with multiple inhabitants, it may make sense to go for a conventional boiler that also has a water tank.

Can be more difficult and expensive to repair than other boilers

Combi boilers require electronic devices and complex chips to function. If something goes wrong, combi boilers can be more complex and consequently more expensive to repair than a traditional boiler.

Combi boilers also tend to take more time to fix, which will push up the labour cost further, as most boiler engineers work on an hourly rate…

If it breaks down, you’ll be without heating and hot water

As combi boilers power your hot water and central heating, if there is a malfunction, you won’t be able to access central heating or hot water.

With a conventional boiler, only your central heating is powered. You receive hot water via a separate boiler. So, if your boiler breaks down, you will only likely experience a central heating outage OR a hot water outage. You would have to be pretty unlucky to encounter both at the same time.