Types of central heating systems

There are many types of central heating systems

Although central heating is almost always required, it doesn’t mean that it won’t be possible to select a single type of central heating system for your home.

Each part of your central heating system, right down to the radiator types, can often affect how it performs and how warms your home.

If you’re looking to upgrade, modify, or alter your heating options, knowing the differences between central heating systems could make a huge difference. When comparing large systems that can heat a whole house, it all boils down to what you need and where you’re willing to put your focus.

Types Of Heating Systems

  • Boilers. Including Combi Boilers.
  • Furnaces are a more American phenomenon.
  • Heat pumps
  • Gas-Fired Space Heaters
  • Electric Heaters
  • Pellet Stoves and Wood-Burning
  • Fireplaces.

Which is the best type of central heating system?

This will depend on your home’s size, structure, and heating needs. There are many types of boilers or heat pumps that can be installed in your central heating system to provide heating for your home. Choosing the right one can be a difficult task as there are a few options but essentially it will probably come down to the cost of boiler installation and the running cost of each central heating system.

Basic Heating Types

The three main types of central heating systems are the most common. They all work differently, and some are more efficient depending upon where they are located or how they are connected to the rest.

Heating systems must be tailored to each building in which they are installed. There is no one-size-fits all system. While some heating systems will work better in smaller buildings, others may require more work.

Conventional Heating Systems

The oldest type of heating system you’ll find in a home is the conventional one. They are built to use gravity as the main tool. The water tank that keeps hot water is located higher than the rest of the house, usually in an attic or cupboard on the second floor. Find out if you can relocate your boiler if it is located downstairs. In this type of wet central heating system, the hot water is pushed down by gravity, not artificial pressure.

Because they are difficult to raise pressure (check iHeats’ informative guide if your boiler has lost pressure ), and because heating the tank can waste energy, these heating systems are less common in new homes. They are a popular choice for many homeowners, especially those who have grown up with such a system.

It is common for older homes to have a traditional heating system. However, you can always change it to a combi boiler. If your new tank or boiler are not installed in the same location, this may require you to take out the extra pipework though which will be an added cost.

Pressurised Systems

A water cylinder heats mains water through a pressurised system. This acts as a tank that you can place anywhere in your house. Although they can be expensive and require frequent maintenance, they are very efficient and a lot of businesses choose to use them, especially if they depend on hot water.

To function properly, they also require high mains pressure. This has the additional benefit that the water can move at its original pressure. You can therefore run multiple appliances simultaneously and not worry about the pressure dropping temporarily.

Combi Boiler Systems

Combi boilers are often considered to be the next evolution of traditional boiler-based central heating systems. They use a combi boiler as they are arguably the best option for most homes in the UK. Many people transform their old wet central heating system to a combi as it gives them more space and can be much more energy-efficient. Combi boilers are more efficient as they do not waste hot water and can retain mains pressure well.

This boiler does not require any type of water tank. It can also save space in smaller properties or buildings that don’t have enough room for two large appliances. They are the most popular choice when installing a central heating system.

Boiler types

The central heating system’s heart is the boiler, so it is important to pay attention to this component. If you don’t address its shortcomings, a good boiler can make an inferior system more efficient.

All boilers have the same purpose. This means that you’ll be comparing their raw stats, such as how efficient they are and how much water they can heat at once. There are some differences between boilers that can affect these results. Not all designs are equal enough to be able to properly compare.

Regular Boiler

A regular boiler or a heat-only boiler is a basic boiler design that uses a cold water tank (and a hot water cylinder). The tank holds cold water and heats it up when the boiler is ready. The hot water cylinder keeps hot water hot. These were the original boilers until the invention of the combi boiler.

These boilers are elder than other options but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are a bad choice. These boilers can still be powerful and provide hot water at a high flow rate. However, they can be very wasteful in how they heat water.

These tanks are usually installed on the top floor or in the loft. Because the water must travel up to heat the higher floors, they can be less efficient.

Combi Boiler

The main focus of a combi-boiler heating system is the combi boiler, but they are also the most popular type in the UK. Each combi boiler is designed to be cost-effective and efficient, eliminating the need for separate water tanks. They heat water instantly as an when you need it.

Combi boilers are usually smaller than other options. You can place a combi boiler in a cupboard or other small space, and you don’t have to make a separate room for it. Combi boilers heat water immediately, rather than heating it separately, making it ideal for emergency situations and quick use.

A number of sizes are also available for most combi boilers. Although most boilers only use one type of power, there are many options for combi boilers that can be purchased in both electric and oil versions. This means you don’t have to replace all your existing power options when installing a new combi boiler.

They can be used as a standard boiler and can be replaced by any type of boiler. They are also very economical once they have been installed and will not burn through your hard-earned money quickly.

Back Boiler

It is rare to see a back boiler, as most systems are outdated. A BBU (back boiler units) provides heating and hot water. They are placed behind a fireplace, rather than in separate cabinets. If your current system is not working, we recommend that you install a back boiler.

They are often very inefficient and out-of-date. There’s not much to be said about them. It is worth replacing any combi boilers that are still in use. Even the simplest combi boilers can offer better heat management at a fraction of what you would pay for a day of heat.

System boiler

The system boiler works in a similar way to a combi boiler, but it uses a larger tank to store and maintain hot water. Although this takes up more space in the cupboard, it can be used to provide hot water to multiple locations at once. This makes it easier to cover a large house.

Although the average system boiler is relatively economical and efficient, they can become excessively expensive in smaller properties that do not require a lot of hot water. They can be extremely useful in larger homes that have multiple users, as they provide hot water for all of their residents.

A system boiler is an excellent choice for houses that have more than one bathroom. They can be more difficult to maintain and require more space to be installed properly.

Gas vs Electric heating system

Both electric and gas central heating systems are very common. While most central heating units in the UK use gas, it is becoming more common to find electric options. It is hard to predict which type will be dominant in the future.

Although they may look the same and offer similar results, electric and gas central heating systems can provide very different results. It is important to understand the differences between them, especially if you’re a first-time homeowner.

Gas Boilers

Natural gas heating systems are dependent on a gas boiler. This boiler has constant gas supply through the mains. This gas is then sent to a pipe that contains cold water. It heats up the water and provides heating.

The heated water travels through the pipe circuit and all over your home. This water is then pumped through each appliance (e.g. radiators), and it eventually returns to the boiler once the circuit is complete.

This means that water loses heat as it travels to the boiler. The circuit can then make the radiators at either end slightly colder. The radiator where the water touches first will be warm and often about the same temperature as it is.

The water is moved by an electric pump. The boiler must operate continuously to maintain heat. To do this, it needs to have hot gas. Alternate gases can sometimes be used if the boiler is not connected directly to the mains. However, these are more expensive in the long-term.

Hydrogen ready gas boilers

The latest progress in the gas boiler is that they are now hydrogen-ready boilers. This means that they can currently run on a mix of up to 20% hydrogen with natural gas. And, they can also be amended slightly in the future with a few small minor part changes to run on 100% hydrogen. The benefit of this is that the only by-product of hydrogen is water.

Hydrogen-ready boilers are available to buy right now and almost every new gas boiler now is hydrogen ready. And to ensure that they are available to everyone, they cost exactly the same as the old versions but are ready for the future.

Are Gas Boilers Worth It?

Gas boilers can be quite affordable compared to other options such as oil and coal. High-efficiency options might be able provide approximately 90% of the fuel’s maximum heat output. They also produce less CO2 than you might think.

Condensing gas boilers improve this by reducing CO2 and making it more difficult for water to lose heat. These boilers can be more expensive to install than they are to run, even though the technical costs are lower.

Gas boilers are relatively inexpensive to operate as a daily option. However, they can become expensive in some cases if you use them too often. If your boiler isn’t connected to the mains, a more costly type of gas will increase its cost to run.

A gas system is a cost-effective alternative to existing options. This is especially true if you are using a condensing one. But gas prices are constantly rising and connecting to the mains can be costly . They also need to be serviced annually.

Electric Boilers

Many electric boilers can be used to replace smaller models. They are also gradually becoming more adept at handling larger spaces. They have fewer parts than other options, and they can often make heavy use of the digital interface. This makes them more accessible to people without much experience.

They are incredibly efficient and small, which is why they are so popular. This makes them incredibly convenient for a smaller building or home, and that is not even mentioning the fact that they are much more environmentally-friendly compared to any other boiler type.

Although it can be difficult to convert your heating system, once you have one in place, you’ll be able get more efficient heating at a much lower price. You will also save time and money on servicing. There are many models available on the market. We have compiled our top recommendations to help you choose the best electric boilers.

Are Electric Boilers Worth It?

Electric boilers can be very cost-effective and affordable, especially if they are already in place. This means that you don’t have to spend time or money setting them up. It is also possible to get lower electric tariffs, making it an affordable option for those with smaller homes.

The heat is also available on demand and does not depend on a steady supply of physical resources. This is a major benefit. It also prevents the need for constant service checks.

A 100% efficiency rating is great but electric central heating costs far more to rung as gas is still cheaper even amid rising energy costs. A gas boiler will usually reach around 95% with major upgrades or modern components.

Electric boilers are still in development. Many of these boilers are still in development and cannot support larger buildings. In fact, some larger buildings require two electric boilers to be able to support all their needs equally. There is no heating/hot water if the power goes out.

Which heating system should I choose?

There are many types of central heating systems that work well for different purposes or locations. Therefore, there is no one perfect solution. It is impossible to predict the evolution of new designs over time so electric options may become more powerful.

Your decision should always be based on what you feel makes the most sense. If you have a larger property, a single gas boiler might be more efficient than two electric options. A smaller home with only one bathroom may not need a full-system boiler.

Remember that central heating systems, including boilers, are intended to provide heating. It is important to remember that heating systems are designed to provide heating.

Is your central heating system is future-proof?

Our central heating systems face the greatest threat because of their efficiency and impact on the environment. 30% of all CO2 emissions comes from home heating. Most people rely on a gas boiler for warmth, out of all the different types of central heating systems.

They are reliable, efficient, and effective. They are not good for the environment. Our gas boiler emits carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every time we turn on the heating. This is a major cause of climate change.

This is something that the UK government recognizes and has pledged to do by 2050. Many of the solutions are found in renewable heating systems like heat pumps, electric boilers and biomass boilers. They are also carbon-neutral, and can help reduce heating bills. These are just a few of the many ways that you can make your central heating system more resilient in the future.

Air source heat pumps

The air source heat pumps consume very little electricity and have a rate of 200-600% efficiency. They reduce greenhouse gas emissions and your household’s carbon footprint. It’s easier to switch from a central heating system that has radiators to an air-to-water heat pump because they were designed for this purpose.

Air to water heat pump work by heating water using heat taken from the outside air. A separate hot water tank is required to install this heat pump.

Ground Source heat pumps

A ground source heat pump is similar to an air source heat pump but it relies on heat from the ground. This geothermal heat is then transferred into your home by the ground source heat pump and keeps your home warm all year round. The main advantage of these is that they are super energy efficient, but when you take into consideration they cost at least £10,000 to install and require a lot of land to bury the cables, they are a less viable option for most people.

What are the best times to get a new central heating system installed?

Although you won’t likely need to replace the entire central heating system at once, some parts might wear down more quickly than others. These are some things to keep in mind before you replace your heating system.

Age. An indication that parts are getting old and the system is not functioning as efficiently. Boilers should be replaced every 10 to 15 years. If the system’s lifespan is approaching its end, it may be time to replace it.

Low efficiency. Over time, heating systems lose efficiency. It might take longer to heat your house or your energy bills are higher than usual. These are signs that your heating system is using more energy than normal. You can extend the life of your heating system by upgrading to a modern, more efficient boiler.

High repair costs. Every year, your heating system should be serviced to make sure that all components are functioning properly. There will be inevitable repairs. Consider asking your heating engineer whether it’s time for a replacement.

If cost is an issue, why not consider boilers on finance to help with getting a brand new boiler installed in your home in under 24 hours and not pay a penny until your first installment.

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