Condensing Boilers

Heating now accounts for around 60% of the average household’s annual energy bills, so it’s worth making your heating system as efficient as possible.

Replacing your old gas or oil boiler with an efficient condensing boiler can save you around £225 a year on your bills, and if you are using electric heating, switching to an oil or gas condensing boiler can save you around £500 a year.

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The Basics

Condensing boilers are a newer, more efficient type of boiler. They are very similar to standard boilers, but have an additional heat exchanger. Boilers produce hot gases that escape through your boiler’s flue. The second heat exchanger reclaims heat from these hot gases, meaning that you have to use less fuel to heat your water, saving you carbon emissions and money.

Condensing boilers are as much as 12% more efficient than standard boilers, and from 2005, all boilers fitted in UK homes must be condensing boilers apart from in exceptional circumstances. From 2010, this was narrowed to include only boilers that are ‘A’ rated or 88% efficient on the SEDBUK scale. Regulations also state that you will have to have a time and temperature control fitted as part of the installation, to maximise the efficiency of your system.

There are two main types of Condensing Boiler:

  1. Combi (Combination) -  These don’t need a water tank as they heat the water ‘on demand’ when it is needed, such as when you turn the tap on. This means that you don’t need to wait for your water to heat and you can save the space of a hot water tank. They are more efficient than system boilers, but have lower capacities, so are generally used for smaller homes.
  2. System or Open Vent – These have a tank to store hot water and are better at providing water for larger homes with multiple bathrooms or showers, particularly if you might need to run them at the same time. You will get need an airing cupboard or another place where the hot water tank will be housed.

See which boiler is best for you!

FAQs

Is a combination condensing boiler more efficient than a regular condensing boiler?
A combination (Combi) condensing boiler can be more efficient than a standard condensing boiler because it heats water as you need it. Combi boilers are most suitable for smaller homes, as they can only keep up with a certain level of demand. Non-combi boilers produce hot water and then store it in a cylinder for use as and when. This is still quite an efficient process - but if the hot water is not used immediately, then inevitably some heat will be wasted. It will generally depend on the size and amount of hot water you're likely to need. You installer will be able to advise you which type of boiler best suits your needs.
What size should my condensing boiler be?
The type and size of your new boiler will depend on a range of factors like the size of your property, how well it is insulated, and the type of fuel and heating system you use to heat your home. You installer will advise you on the type and size of boiler best suited to your property.
What does the Sedbuk efficiency rating mean?
Sedbuk stands for 'seasonal efficiency of a domestic boiler in the UK' and is now given as a percentage score. This score is an estimate of efficiency when the boiler is installed under typical conditions in Britain, taking into account climate, housing conditions, occupancy patterns, and controls.
How reliable are condensing boilers?
Condensing boilers are reliable if well maintained and serviced regularly. A Which? survey in 2011 found that 46% of owners who bought a boiler after April 2005 have experienced some kind of fault. Not all of these faults required a repair. In fact the most frequent problem, a blocked drainage pipe, experienced by 11% of owners, is actually a problem caused by poor installation.
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