How Much Does it Cost to Install Central Heating?
Installing a new central heating system includes a boiler, radiators, heating controls and pipework. The cost of installing central heating will vary depending on the size of the heating system, but central heating cost typically falls between £3,000 and £4,000.
Note: This article covers the cost of installing central heating, i.e. boiler, radiators, heating controls, pipework, and possibly a hot water cylinder. If you are currently only looking to have your boiler replaced then visit our guide to Boiler Replacement.
So, how much does central heating cost?
The average cost of installing central heating is between £3,000 and £4,000.
Central heating installation costs include a boiler, radiators, pipework and heating controls. Depending on which type of boiler you opt for, you may also need a hot water storage cylinder as well as a feed and expansion tank.
The price of each of these elements will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and you will also need to consider the labour and installation rates set by the installer.
Having said this, no two central heating installations are the same. And there are many variables that could have an impact on the final cost, such as:
- Boiler brand, type and size
- Style and size of radiators or underfloor heating
- Sophistication of heating controls
- Ease of installation e.g. an empty home will provide a quicker installation than a property being lived in
All of this should be included in the quote you receive from a central heating installer.
If the potential £3,000-£4,000 cost of installing central heating feels daunting then consider the savings you’ll be making by upgrading your heating system. Modern boilers are highly efficient and able to use less fuel than older systems while delivering the same level of heat.
Modern boilers use condensing technology which greatly reduces the heat lost by the system as it operated. As a result, they’re able to achieve efficiencies of over 90%. This means that for every £1 spent on heating your property only 10p is lost through wasted heat. That could add up to considerable savings on your energy bills when you consider that older boilers are much less efficient.
And maximising your energy savings doesn’t have to stop there. Investing in effective insulation and introducing smart heating controls will also help. Insulation will prevent heat from escaping your home while smart heating controls can learn about your home heating habits. A smart thermostat even allows you to take control of the heating from your smartphone even when you’re not home.
Central heating cost: 3 bedroom house
We’ve calculated some average central heating installation costs relevant to a 3 bedroom, 2 storey house. The installation cost is based on an engineer charging about £200 per day with £100 a day for an extra labourer.
|New boiler (supply & installation)||£900 – £1,400|
|9 Radiators (supply & installation)||£1,000 – £1,200|
|Water tank (supply & installation)||£150 – £200|
|Miscellaneous parts & labour||£150 – £200|
|Pipework (supply & installation)||£800 – £1,000|
|Total Cost||£3,000 – £4,000|
How disruptive is installing central heating?
Generally speaking, installing a heating system will take between 2-5 days with 2 heating engineers working on the job. The installation will take longer if the home is inhabited (as opposed to an empty house renovation) as the engineers will be working around you.
For these reasons, it’s a good idea to plan the installation of a new central heating system during the summer. That way, your central heating will be ready to keep you warm during the winter months.
Arranging the installation of a new central heating system for the summer months can reduce disruption and save you money.
So, what’s involved in a central heating installation?
- On the first day of the central heating installation, the new radiators are usually fitted first.
- After the radiators, the pipework will be laid connecting the radiators to the boiler with central heating controls also added to the system.
- The new boiler will now be installed and to do this the water and gas supply will be shut off.
- Finally, the installer will fill the system with water and turn the boiler on. The radiator valves will be adjusted to ensure the flow of hot water is suitable.
To keep disruption to a minimum, it’s important to plan ahead. And an essential part of this planning should involve finding a suitable boiler for the heating demands of your property. When comparing boilers, you need to take into account the brand, model, boiler type and output rating (boiler size).
In addition to the boiler, you will need to decide on how you want each room to be heated. Options include conventional radiators or more modern innovations, such as underfloor heating. In the vast majority of properties, new radiators are likely to be the least disruptive option. This is because most properties already have radiators so the installation would be a like-for-like replacement. Underfloor heating, however, would be much more disruptive and best installed when new flooring is being fitted.
You will then need a way to control the central heating. And there are no shortage of options. Most homeowners are familiar with wall thermostats but the efficiency of the central heating can be increased with thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) or a smart thermostat.
It’s at this point you’ll need to find a professional heating engineer as they will be able to help you make the right choice. Boiler Guide can help you source central heating quotes – simply fill in our quick form and we’ll find suitable installers in your area.
When you’ve found the right heating engineer for the job, it’s important to work with them as much as you can. Having a clear plan for the layout of the heating system will make the process much smoother.
- Where is the boiler going to be installed?
- How many radiators will there be?
- Where will the radiators be positioned?
Central heating cost: what to consider
Total central heating installation costs can be wide ranging because there are so many potential variables. Central heating installation cost can be impacted by all of the following:
- Fuel and type of boiler
- Boiler manufacturer
- Boiler size
- Pipework and radiators
- Heating controls
- Complexity of the installation
- Labour costs
Choosing your boiler type
It’s really important that you choose the right type of boiler for your home and lifestyle.
First and foremost, you need to decide on a suitable fuel type. Natural gas is the most common fuel for a boiler with around 80% of UK homes having a gas boiler. Natural gas is delivered directly to a property by a supplier through a series of pipes as and when needed. However, not all properties are connected to the gas network.
Gas-fired combi boilers are the most popular boiler type in the UK.
Alternative fuels include oil and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) which can be stored at the property. Storing fuel in this way requires ample outdoor space for a storage tank to be installed.
Unfortunately, while all of these fuels are effective for home heating, they are fossil fuels. And when burned they emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which is a leading cause of climate change. Fortunately, there’s a ‘greener’ alternative in the form of biomass.
Biomass boilers burn organic materials such as wooden logs, chips and pellets. They are more expensive than gas and oil boilers but can help to lower your carbon footprint. Plus, if you have access to a woodland area then you could potentially heat your home for free.
Small homes and flats with fewer than 10 radiators and a single bathroom may want to turn to an electric boiler. In a way, an electric boiler is the simplest heating system as they don’t burn any fuel. Instead, the electricity produces central heating and hot water.
The fuel used by the boiler is the first consideration. Next you’ll need to find the right boiler type. There are 3 different boiler types: combi, system and regular. Each provides central heating and hot water in their own way and one will be better suited to your property than another.
A combination boiler is the most recent innovation in boiler technology. Like the system, it takes water directly from the mains so has very good pressure, but unlike the system it doesn’t require a hot water cylinder. This is because it heats water on demand for both your heating and domestic use. This is a great option for smaller homes with limited space but not necessarily for homes with multiple bathrooms.
A system boiler takes its water supply directly from the mains so, unlike a Regular boiler, doesn’t require a feed tank in the attic. It heats this water for your radiators but requires a hot water cylinder to keep a store of hot water for use in taps. As the system boiler takes water from the mains, the pressure is usually stronger than a regular system, but you will need to have space for the hot water cylinder.
Regular (also known as conventional or traditional)
A regular heating system includes a boiler, a hot water storage cylinder and a feed and expansion tank in the attic. They rely on gravity to feed the water downwards from the tank in the attic where it is heated by the boiler. The boiler then heats the water and supplies the radiators. Hot water for your taps needs to be stored in the hot water storage cylinder. A heating system that includes a regular boiler takes up a lot of space. And, as it relies on gravity, the water flow isn’t always great, but is a very good option for homes that use a lot of hot water at once.Find out more in What is a Regular Boiler?
There are several brands on the market offering a range of boiler types in lots of different sizes. The cost of all these boiler models will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Find out potential costs, before installation in the table below.
|Boiler Type||Average Cost (Excluding Installation)|
|Combi||£500 – £2,000|
|System||£500 – £2,500|
|Regular||£500 – £2,750|
Get closer to finding the ideal boiler type for your home in Types of Boiler Explained.
Hot water cylinder costs
A heating system that includes a system or regular boiler must include a hot water cylinder. This is where the domestic hot water is stored and heated before being delivered to hot water outlets. So if you’re having a system or regular boiler installed from scratch then a new hot water cylinder is essential. Combi boilers provide hot water directly so don’t need a hot water cylinder.
A new hot water cylinder will typically cost between £300 and £1,000.
It’s normally cheaper to replace a cylinder than have a new system installed. This is because the pipework is already set up when replacing a cylinder. However, having a cylinder installed from scratch will require new pipework and increase installation costs as a result. Before the installation costs are taken into account, a hot water cylinder is likely to cost between £300 and £1,000.
There are two types of hot water cylinder: vented and unvented. And the right cylinder for your system will depend on whether a system or regular boiler is being installed. Vented cylinders need to be fed with cold water from a tank in the loft so need to be installed alongside a regular boiler.
Unvented cylinders, on the other hand, are directly connected to the mains water supply. This removes the need for a cold water tank in the loft.
Choosing your boiler size
When having a new central heating system installed, accurate boiler size is essential. Boiler size is the measure of power the boiler is capable of delivering and is otherwise known as the output rating. Measured in kilowatts (kW), all boiler types have a central heating output rating while combi boilers also have a domestic hot water output rating. This is because all boiler types are directly connected to the central heating but only combi boilers heat domestic hot water on demand and deliver it straight to the taps, bath or shower.
Boiler sizing is so important because if it’s too low then the boiler won’t be able to meet demand. Don’t go too high though because that will see your energy bills increase unnecessarily.
Using the table below, you can find out a suitable output rating based on the number of radiators in your property. You’ll notice that combi boilers need more power as they heat the water on demand in a shorter space of time.
|Number of Radiators||Combi Boiler Recommended Central Heating Output Rating||System Boiler Recommended Central Heating Output Rating||Regular Boiler Recommended Central Heating Output Rating|
|Up to 10||24-27 kW||9-18 kW||9-18 kW|
|10-15||28-34 kW||18-26 kW||18-26 kW|
|15-20||35-42 kW||27-40 kW||27-40 kW|
You can find out even more about boiler sizing in What Size Boiler Do I Need?
For an accurate boiler size, you should consult a qualified heating engineer. They will provide an accurate recommendation based on the heating and hot water demands of your home. Using Boiler Guide, you can get free quotes for a new boiler from heating engineers based in your area. All you have to do is complete our simple online form – which should only take a few moments.
Choosing your boiler manufacturer
In the UK, there are many boiler manufacturers to choose between. Some are considered high-end while others are more budget-friendly. A selection of the best boiler manufacturers include:
- Worcester Bosch
Each of these boiler manufacturers has a number of ranges and models to choose between. So to help you narrow down your choice, these are leading ranges from each of them:
- Baxi 800
- Ideal Vogue Max
- Vaillant ecoTEC Plus
- Viessmann Vitodens 200-W
- Worcester Bosch Greenstar i
We’ve highlighted the potential cost of a boiler (without installation) manufactured by each of the leading boiler brands.
|Boiler Manufacturer||Combi Boiler Prices||System Boiler Prices||Regular Boiler Prices|
|Baxi||£635 – £1,385||£740 – £975||£662 – £925|
|Ideal||£750 – £1,354||£785 – £1,264||£712 – £4,500|
|Vaillant||£907 – £1,703||£894 – £2,700||£792 – £1,533|
|Viessmann||£865 – £2,975||£995 – £1,480||£845 – £1,200|
|Worcester Bosch||£777 – £2,772||£971 – £3,837||£814 – £2,369|
Using our Boiler Comparison Tool you can compare all of the key information you need to find the right boiler for your home.
Choosing your heating controls
Almost every boiler manufacturer also offers a range of compatible controls such as room thermostats, TRVs and wireless sensors. These shouldn’t add too much onto the cost of the installation, but an option you may want to consider is a smart thermostat.
There are 2 types of room thermostat: those with a dial and digital programmable room thermostats. Smart thermostats are a third type of thermostat but we’ll come onto them later.
Room thermostats with a dial are incredibly simple to use. A range of temperatures circle around a dial which has an arrow on it. To adjust the temperature, simply turn the dial so that the arrow is pointing at the appropriate temperature. The heating system will then fire into action and turn off once the room
Smart thermostats allow you to keep an eye on your home’s energy usage and provide unprecedented levels of control. For example, many models give you the ability to control your heating via an app on your mobile phone wherever you have an internet connection. Some give you the ability to adjust the temperature of the heating for different rooms or floors. For this you would need to purchase multiple thermostats.
Wireless sensors are designed to be attached to windows or doors and detect when they’re open. When the sensor recognises that a window or door is open, it will turn the central heating off automatically. This will aid the efficiency of your home as it will prevent the heating system from attempting to heat a room when it will have to work much harder to do so.
The wireless sensors manufactured by Worcester Bosch can even increase the safety of your home. When a window or door is opened an alert will be sent straight to your smartphone.
Radiator valves give you control of the temperature being put out by individual radiators. There are 3 types of radiator valve to choose between: manual, thermostatic and smart.
Manual radiator valves are the most common and simplest to use. Simply turn the valve around to turn the level of the heat up, down or off completely. While they’re simple to use, manual radiator valves don’t allow you to set a specific temperature. To set a certain temperature for each radiator, you’ll need thermostatic radiator valves. Slightly bigger than manual valves, thermostatic radiator valves have a digital display that shows the precise temperature setting of the radiator.
Smart radiator valves give you even greater control. Installed alongside a smart thermostat that’s connected to the internet, you can control each smart radiator valve from your smartphone.
Central heating control costs
Having greater control of your central heating through smart technology comes at a higher price than manual controls. However, smart thermostats and smart radiator valves will allow you to run your central heating more efficiently and potentially lower your heating bills as a result.
|Heating Controls||Potential Cost|
|Room thermostat with dial||£10 – £40|
|Digital Programmable Room Thermostat||£35 – £70|
|Smart Thermostat||£70 – £250|
|Wireless Sensors||£20 – £35 (per sensor)|
|Manual Radiator Valves||£5 – £35|
|Thermostatic Radiator Valves||£5 – £120 (per valve)|
|Smart Radiator Valves||£50 – £200+ (must be installed alongside a smart thermostat)|
Choosing a central heating installer
The final part of the puzzle when it comes to a new central heating system if finding an installer. To keep central heating costs at an absolute minimum, we highly recommend comparing multiple quotes.
Ahead of a central heating installation, an installer will visit your property to assess the work involved. This is when they’ll work out the costs and provide you with a quote. By accepting the first quote you receive, without speaking to other professionals, you wouldn’t know whether you’re being overcharged. To find the best cost of installing central heating, aim for at least 3 quotes from different companies.
At Boiler Guide, we’ve made getting quotes from multiple companies easier than ever. All you have to do is complete our simple online form, letting us know a few details about the work you need completing. Once completed, we’ll get to work matching you with up to 3 local central heating installers. Each of them will then be in touch to provide you with a free no-obligation quote.
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