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  • Boilers: Understanding boilers

    There is a large range of different boilers available to the UK homeowners.

    If you’ve just moved into a new home, are looking for a new boiler, or

    need boiler breakdown emergency cover,

    you may need some help understanding what’s available.

    So if you’re baffled by boilers, take a look at our hints and tips below to help you out!

    Understanding Boilers and heating systems: the basics

    The most common types of boilers and heating systems in the UK are:

    Combination Boilers
    Condensing boilers
    Condensing combination boilers
    Electric boilers
    Electric storage heaters (also known as panel heaters or heat banks)

    Combination Boilers

    Gas combination boilers heat water directly from the mains whenever you need it.

    They don’t require hot water cylinders and are suitable for homes

    without multiple bathrooms (such as flats and small houses).


    Combination boilers heat water on demand, so you don’t have to wait for it to heat up when you want to take a shower.

    They’re also very economical, as energy isn’t wasted in heating up a tank of

    water which may not be used – great for both your energy bills and the environment.


    Combination gas boilers aren’t a good choice for homes with multiple bathrooms, as the flow of

    hot water from your tap, bath or shower will be reduced if

    someone starts to use hot water elsewhere in your home.

    Condensing boilers

    Understanding boilers

    Although condensing boilers often cost more than other types of boiler, they’re considered to be very energy efficient,

    recovering heat which is normally lost when your boiler burns gas.

    Not sure whether your home has a condensing boiler? Take a look at your flue (the pipe

    which removes waste gases from your boiler).

    If it’s made of plastic and emits steam, you probably own a condensing boiler.


    Condensing boilers are very energy efficient and may help you to reduce your energy bills over a prolonged period of time.


    Condensing boilers have a reputation for being unreliable and may require more maintenance than other types of boiler.

    To help ensure optimum performance, they require professional installation and regular maintenance by a gas safe registered engineer.

    Condensing combination boilers

    This type of gas boiler is one of the most energy-efficient available. Condensing combination

    boilers provide both heating and hot water and don’t require a separate hot water cylinder.


    Condensing combination boilers are a great choice if you need to save space, as they don’t require a hot water cylinder.

    They may also help you to save money in the long term, as they’re considered to be extremely energy efficient.


    It’s important to make sure that the hot water output of your condensing combination boiler is in line with your

    household’s requirements. If this isn’t the case, an adequate flow of water may not be available at every

    hot water outlet (e.g. taps, showers) in your home at the same time.

    Electric boilers

    Electric boilers are relatively common in UK homes and make life easier

    for people who want to eliminate the hassle of paying both gas and electricity bills.


    Electric boilers are generally very straightforward to use, with clearly labelled controls.


    There are many different types of electric boiler, so it can be difficult to identify which one will best suit your needs. It’s

    advisable to carry out thorough research into the different kinds of electric boilers available before making a purchase.

    Electric storage/panel heaters

    Storage/panel heaters (also known as heat banks) are electric heaters which store thermal energy.

    The clay or ceramic material within storage heaters is embedded with electrical elements; these elements store

    thermal energy when switched on and release heat when your home gets cold.


    This type of heating generally requires minimal maintenance and is, therefore, cheaper to run than other heating systems.

    Storage heaters can be complicated to use.

    If you don’t fully understand how to use your storage heaters,

    you may not find them to be very economical.

    Having trouble with your boiler?

    If you’re experiencing difficulties with your domestic boiler,

    enter your details in the box below and request a callback.

    Understanding boilers