Central Heating Systems – Types, Quotes, Upgrades & New Boilers

By Rob Hull on July 23, 2010

There is a wide range of central heating systems available today, however, they can all be classified as one of three main forms – a conventional gravity fed system, a high pressure system that works off the mains or a combination boiler system.

Combination boiler systems

The combination boiler central heating system is easily the most popular today. These systems don’t require a feed tank, expansion tank or a hot water cylinder because they heat water as and when you need it. This means that they require a lot less space and are also economical – they only heat the water that you need.

  • A combi boiler heats water on demand requiring no tanks within the loft space.
  • Electronic controls paired to your boiler
  • Mains supply fed directly to combi
  • Modern thermostatically controlled radiators sized accordingly

As with the other systems, combination boiler systems also have their drawbacks. The main one is that their flow rates are often quite low as the water has to be heated as it travels through the boiler i.e. there is no stored hot water to fall back on. This means they are unsuitable for homes with two or more bathrooms as the simultaneous use of two outlets will decrease the flow rate even further

Conventional gravity fed systems

These central heating systems use a boiler – either a regular boiler or a system boiler – to heat both the radiators and the hot water. The hot water circulates around the system and is then stored in a hot water cylinder until needed. The water that travels into the boiler for heating often comes from a feed tank or expansion tank in the loft space of the house and it ensures that the volume of water in the system is always at its optimum level.

In addition to the feed tank, there is normally a larger tank present as well that replenishes the hot water cylinder when water is used around the household. Water from this tank is drawn down into the system by the force of gravity alone – hence the name of the central heating system. The main drawback to this type of system is that you need loft space for the two tanks and an airing cupboard or similar space for the hot water cylinder.

High pressure systems

These systems supply mains pressure hot water through the taps in your home. Water is drawn in from the cold water mains and is heated by your boiler. It is then stored in a storage tank until required. When you open a tap in the house, cold water from the mains forces the heated water into the central heating system and out through the tap. The pressure at the tap is the same as the pressure of the mains which in most cases is a lot higher than you would normally experience.

These particular central heating systems are great if you have a high mains pressure to start with but if the mains pressure is low then the system is unsuitable. They can be costly to install as well and some authorities require a certificate of annual maintenance to be submitted to them.

Conclusion

As already mentioned the combination boiler system is becoming very popular in homes today although in some circumstances these systems aren’t suitable. Each of the central heating systems has its pros and cons so you need to decide what features you require before deciding on the system for you.

"I found your help in sourcing a new boiler excellent. I was contacted immediately by two of the contacts suggested by you and was able to arrange to have the new boiler fitted at a very fair price within three days of contacting you. Thank you for helping me to resolve a very pressing problem so efficiently".
J Drew, Hants
Get a quote
 

 

Save up to £300 per year!

Save up to £235 per year with a new condensing boilerDid you know new style condensing boilers recycle heat that would have otherwise been lost? this could save you up to £300 per year!

This not only helps you reduce your bills but also the environment by lowering your Co2 emissions. You can request quotes for a new high efficiency boiler here.

 

 

Ask a question

Got a question about a new boiler, your current heating system or a renewable energy solution?

Consult a wealth of knowledge from the impartial plumbers and heating engineers using our categorised discussion forums.

 

 

Boiler servicing can save lives

Regular servicing ensures your boiler is running at peak efficiency saving fuel and money but more importantly it could also spot the escape of potentially lethal carbon monoxide, which could just save your life.

Servicing typically costs between £50-£80 so what are you waiting for?

Every year Boiler Guide helps thousands of homeowners find reputable and rated heating engineers for new boiler replacements and service jobs. Here are just some of the recent boiler quote requests we received and sucessfully completed:

New & Replacement Oil Boilers

Get a Quote
Deskford AB56 - We have a Stanley boiler which is meant to heat water tank and supply heating for the house but it doesn't seem to do this.

New & Replacement LPG Central Heating Systems

Staylittle SY19 - 2 systems multifuel,1 doesnt hest radiators properly.100 ltr tank not enough to cope with 5 people.only moved in a month ago and not budgeted for this expence.perhaps a LPG instant water heater??new system?can you advise/help?Thanks

New & Replacement Gas Boiler Installation (ECO grant funded)

CH7 - Current boiler: Worcester 24cdi.10yrs. Inefficiant and in effectove to heat house. Constant problems with increased pressure in system. Benefits: childtaxcredit,workingtaxcredit-under16. Earns: £2,200K Call anytime
NE6 - Current boiler is a gloworm over 20 yrs old - The water pressure is terrible in the kitchen as the water tank in 2 rooms away in a small cupboard on the top shelf. I never have enough hot water to have a bath. Benefits: Income related employmentsupport- support group. disabilitypremium. Call anytime
Quedgeley GL2 - Current boiler is approx 8 years old, Alpha CB24x, located in the kitchen. Problem with pressure Benefits: incomesupport-disabilitypremium. Call anytime.
IG2 - Current boiler: 10 yrs. All copper pipes. Vaillant turbo max 828e. Located in the kitchen w/m. Faults: problem with pressure. Benefits: workingtaxcredit-under16. Household income below £15,860. Call anytime.
Hoveton NR12 - Current boiler is a gloworm Ultimate. Fanned flue boiler, 16 years old - circuit board replaced after 3 years, fan unit has failed twice, now won\\\\'t respond to (new) thermostat on water tank, and, since shower cartridge was renewed, keeps cutting out at irregular intervals for no apparent reason. Benefits: pensioncredit.

Maintenance/Repairs of Gas Central Heating Systems

CA1 - Worcester combi boiler 28 CDI RSF . Needs pressure topped up - no purchase on the tap so unable to top up.
EH53 - No pressure in the morning having to put water in at least once a day to get the system going - vokera boiler
EH7 - Current boiler: Potterton Powermax HE. 8yrs. Not working. Has problem with pressure. Call anytime. Repair ASAP. Appointments: anytime

New & Replacement Gas Boilers

Uddingston G71 - Current boiler: Powermax 155. 12yrs. In bedroom. Not working. Keep in same place. Call anytime. Replace ASAP. Appointments: anytime
ST3 - Current boiler is a Gloworm back boiler -would like rid of boiler and fire but keep tank. Quotes for supply of a system boiler located on the back wall. Open to advice on make and model Call after 2.30pm.
OX4 - Our boiler is old and recently sent out an error message about lack of pressure. The engineer who got it working again strongly recommended that we get a new one. We're therefore looking to get a new boiler installed, and are also considering replacing the micro pipes that we have running throughout the property with new copper/ plastic ones. I am heavily pregnant and the baby is due on the 4th of Feb. We'd like the work done asap….
PA14 - Present boiler is over 20 years old (tank started to leak) and looking for quotes for supply and fit of a Combi Boiler, tank removed - open to advice on make and model to be located same place in a cupboard outside wall - Call mornings.
RG2 - Current boiler: 30 year old Potterton Netaheat electronic 10-16 with energy efficient boiler. Does work. Current water heating not pumped. Alter system so can operate heating separately from water. Presume new controls needed. Consider new hot water tank . Call after 3.30pm. Replace within 3 months. Appointments: after 4.30 and weekends
DH8 - Off License. Current boiler: 10yrs plus. REPLACE OLD BOILER WITH NEW COMBI, DISCONNECT WATER TANK. Does work. Call anytime. Replace within 3 months. Appointments: anytime

New & Replacement Gas Central Heating Systems

G3 - Current Boiler: Electric water boiler. In the process of getting mains. Would like it located in the hallway cupboard. New Boiler: Open to advice. Radiators x4 Replace with in the month. Contact Evenings. Appointment Anytime.
TR3 - New System required, No system fitted. Does have mains Gas. Open minded to the system - have Solar PV panels so will be using that to heat the water. Thinking of an unvented hot water cylinder as part of the system but would need advice. To be located in the loft. Call anytime except Mon/Thurs.
CF64 - Current boiler: 15yrs. in bedroom. Wall mounted. Does work. Move to loft space. Replace 12-14 rads. 4 bed terrace house being renovated throughout. New central heating system needs to be installed. Underfloor heating in kitchen area also required. Call anytime. Replace within 3 months. Appointments: free anytime for next 2 weeks

New Electric Boiler Installation

Aylesham CT3 - need to no asap cos we got oil heating and cant afford the £300 pound to half fill the tank so pls try to help
The UK's leading resource of boiler & central heating engineers

Need a new boiler?

  • Tell us your requirements
  • We find up to 3 registered traders to quote you
  • Compare prices and customer feedback
  • Select the best option for you
Do you qualify for a replacement boiler grant?
British Gas