Is a combi boiler right for you?
If you’re still scratching your head over which boiler will suit your home, we’re here to help. In this guide, we’ll be focusing on combination boilers (also known as combis). As well as combi boilers, there are a number of boiler types including regular (also known as heat only or conventional) and system, which are suitable for certain types of homes with different layouts. A combi boiler, however, is more suited to small to medium-sized properties, while providing hot water for your central heating and shower/bath time.
Why choosing the right boiler is important
Choosing the right boiler is essential to guarantee the correct flow of hot water through your home’s taps and showers, and to ensure your energy bills remain level. The wrong boiler type could lead to long delays for hot water and high energy bills.
Combi boilers have different flow rates, central heating outputs, and hot water outputs. As a rule of thumb, the higher the flow rate, the more likely you’ll be able to run a bath without any issues. Otherwise, most combi boilers will offer enough hot water for a shower and the usual taps installed in your property for up to two bathrooms and 3 bedrooms.
How do I know if a combi boiler is right for my home?
There are a couple of ways to tell if a combi boiler is right for your home. The first and most obvious way to tell is the current layout of your central heating system. If your home only has a boiler installed but doesn’t have a loft tank and hot water cylinder installed, your current boiler is a combination boiler. For an engineer, this tends to be the easiest boiler replacement as it’s just a simple swap between boilers.
If you have a cylinder or tank installed, but experience reduced water pressure when using your shower or running taps, it’s possible that your mains pressure is insufficient for a combination boiler to be installed.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of combi boilers?
Pros of combi boilers
- A combi boiler contains all components within the boiler, eliminating the need for a loft-installed tank and a hot water cylinder. Out of the box, you’ll get a more compact central heating system, without the extras.
- There’s no need for a cold water feed from a tank in the loft to a cylinder to store previously heated water as a combi uses mains-fed water.
- Combination boilers tend to be more efficient compared to older models and could help save you up to £300 a year off your heating bills.
- Space-saving is a big advantage to combi boilers, they tend to be a lot smaller in size despite all of the additional built-in components.
Cons of combi boilers
- Due to the compact nature of a combi boiler with more moving parts, there is potential for more things to go wrong than with a system or regular boiler due to the additional components.
- Combis are better suited to smaller homes, so it’s likely you’ll only be able to use hot water from a combi boiler for one task at a time, e.g. One person showering using hot water, then someone else using hot water to wash up could cause hot water issues.
- Dependence on mains pressure can be an issue as a combi boiler relies on your pressure to be at an excellent level to function correctly and send hot water to your taps and around your heating system.
Which combi boilers would you recommend?
Worcester Bosch Greenstar 25i boiler
The 25i is a popular choice amongst UK consumers and is ideally suited to smaller flats and houses with up to 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. The Worcester Greenstar gas boiler range has won the Which? Best Buy award for 7 years running due to its high efficiency, improved controls, and high-quality finish.
Vaillant ecoTec Pro 24 boiler
The ecoTec Pro 24 is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a small and highly efficient boiler that can pack a serious punch. While only being suitable for small homes and flats, the flow rate and central heating output are a great match. The ecoTec range has also won awards, the most notable being the Which? Best Buy Award in 2016.