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There are many different types of boilers and heating systems available, running on a variety of fuels and each operating in a different way.

Conventional Gas Boilers

This type of boiler uses a combustion chamber to burn the fuel and is surrounded by a water jacket. The boiler heats the water, which is then circulated through the central heating system. With this type of boiler, a lot of the heat is lost through the boiler itself and more will disappear up the flue. This type of boiler is not as efficient as a condensing boiler, which will extract more heat from the fuel than the conventional boiler is able to.



Condensing Gas Boilers

Condensing boilers are environmentally friendly and highly efficient, wasting practically no heat through the flue. There is a myth that condensing boilers are expensive and usually have quite a short lifespan, this may have been true when they were first introduced but modern day boilers are reliable and last as long as their conventional counterparts.

Combination Gas Boilers

This type of boiler provides for both central heating and hot water, however, not at the same time. They have a priority toward hot water, so whilst it is being run there will be no hot water pumped through the radiator system. Combi boilers generally have a low water rate, for example, you can usually only run one shower from a combi at any one time.

This boiler is a good choice if your household does not use a lot of hot water. They are compact therefore take up little space, are easily installed and inexpensive to run. On the down side the repair costs can be costly therefore it may be cheaper to replace a broken combination boiler rather than paying to have it repaired, especially as most are designed to be replaced after five years.

Other heating systems

Low water content boilers

These boilers hold only a little water in the copper heat exchanger, making them cheap to run. They are small and inexpensive to purchase and as they only have a few internal parts they are extremely reliable. Low water content boilers must, however, be fitted to a fully pumped heating system.

System boilers

System boilers are similar to low water content boilers but have extra parts allowing them to be fitted to a sealed, fully pumped heating system. These boilers are larger than low water content boilers due to the extra components but tend to look tidier once installed. Installation is easy and they are economical and reliable to run. The disadvantages are they can be costly to repair and to install.

Electric storage heaters

These type of heaters run on electricity that has been supplied on a cheap nighttime rate. The heat is stored in special heat retaining bricks and is then given out slowly during the following day.

Electric boilers

Electric boilers can be used in conventional heating systems instead of a gas boiler. They are small and run silently. Cheap rate electricity can be used to power this type of boiler.

More options for central heating

Warm air units

Warm air units are a dry system of central heating that do not use any water. Air passes through a heat exchanger and is warmed by gas, as it circulates through air ducts in the home. Warm air units are inexpensive to run and provide heat quickly.

Solid fuel boilers

Solid fuel boilers are usually back boilers fitted to the back of kitchen ranges or gas fires. Sometimes this type of boiler is powered by pellets, which are automatically fed by a hopper outside the home. Solid fuel boilers can be inefficient as they are usually part of an open fire system where a lot of heat is lost and are dusty and messy to clean out each day.

Oil boilers

Oil boilers are efficient but the choices of heating system to use alongside them are limited. To store the oil, a tank is installed outside the home, which can take up a lot of space and needs to adhere to several regulations. If the oil runs out a heating engineer will need to re-prime your heating system before it will work again.

Liquid petroleum gas (LPG)

This is a viable alternative to natural gas and can be used when natural gas is too expensive or impractical to supply. Liquid petroleum gas works entirely the same as natural gas; however, your boiler must be compatible by use of a conversion kit.

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