What is a Conventional Boiler?

Central Heating Cover

A conventional boiler represents the most traditional type of heating in the United Kingdom. Although they are still being used today, their popularity has decreased in recent years in favour of combination boilers.

In spite of this, you may find that a traditional boiler could be better suited to your heating needs.

A traditional boiler is also referred to as a heat-only boiler, regular boiler, or conventional boiler. This kind of boiler uses cold and hot water storage tanks, which will typically be installed in the loft of your property.

How does a conventional boiler work?

The boiler unit will be plugged into your mains, which will supply you with water to use on your property.

The boiler will ignite the fuel, typically oil or gas, to get going. When this happens, the water is heated via the heat exchanger. A pump will transport the water to the hot water storage tank so you can use it throughout the day.

Once you set the thermostat, the hot water will move through the radiators, emitting the heat to warm the room up. The hot water is also directed to water outlets in your kitchen and bathroom when you turn your tap on.

Another key component of a heating system that uses a heat-only boiler is the expansion vessel. This vessel is responsible for controlling the expansion of water when it is heated. It stops your pipes and pumps from bursting, ensuring pressure is relatively constant throughout the system.

There is also an expansion and feed tank, situated in your loft, which is filled with water. It ensures the water levels in the heating system are kept relatively constant. It also means that you have extra space for the hot water to go if the system heats up an excessive amount of water.

Advantages of Regular Boilers

As we have mentioned, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing a new boiler. It is all about figuring out what is going to be suitable for your needs and home. There are some cases whereby a heat-only boiler makes a lot of sense. You can expect the following advantages if you go down this route:

Ideal for homes with multiple bathrooms requiring a lot of hot water

One of the main benefits associated with a heat-only boiler is that it can meet the high demand for hot water and heating.

Should you live in a property that has more than one bathroom or you have an especially high demand for hot water and heating, a traditional boiler is an excellent choice.

With its large storage capacity for hot water, it means that a number of outlets and taps can be utilized simultaneously.

Can be used with solar panels

We all need to do our bit for the planet today, and one way that a lot of people are doing this is by having solar panels installed on their property. This is a great way to reduce your reliance on non-renewable resources and keep your energy bills low.

The great thing about opting for a heat-only boiler is that most of them work with solar thermal panels, generating warm water by utilising energy from the sun.

You will simply need to make sure that the model and cylinder you select is compatible.

Works well with an older heating system

If you have an older heating system in your home, it can be a large upheaval and a significant expense to get a smaller and more modern heating system installed.

The good news is that this is something you do not have to worry about with a traditional boiler. As these boilers are older, it means that they can slot into your current heating system with ease, meaning your new boiler installation can be a lot simpler and more affordable too.

Drawbacks of Regular Boilers

There are also a number of drawbacks that you need to consider if you go for a heat-only boiler, including the following:

Sometimes results in low water pressure

Another problem associated with conventional boilers is that they can be susceptible to low pressure from time to time.

So, how can you deal with this?

A simple solution is to open the valves. To allow cold water to get into the system, you will need to open both valves of the filling loop. This should enable the pressure to increase at a gradual rate. You need to keep your eyes on the pressure gauge until it reaches the 1.5 bar.

Getting the boiler installed can be difficult and costly

One of the drawbacks that you need to consider when it comes to conventional boiler systems is that they can be complicated to install, which can also make the installation more expensive as well.

Of course, if you have an old heating system, a traditional boiler may make more sense from an installation standpoint. Generally speaking, a conventional boiler can be more complex to install, though.

The reason for this is because of the pipework and all of the different parts that are entailed, which can be very time-consuming.

Storing the cistern in the attic can lead to freezing in poor weather

You also need to consider where the boiler is going to be stored. Traditional boilers will typically take up quite a lot of space within your property. You will need a loft for the cold water tank, as well as needing an airing cupboard so that you can store the hot water cylinder. This is not ideal for flats or small properties.

In addition to this, because the cistern needs to be stored in the attic, this can result in it becoming frozen when the weather is cold.

The most effective way of keeping cisterns from freezing is by insulating the tank. This involves wrapping the sides and top with blankets made from ceramic fibre, mineral wood, fibreglass, and some other cushioning material.

Of course, insulating your tank will cost money but it is certainly better than the alternative.