What is a central heating pump?

Everything you need to know about central heating pumps

Central heating pumps are used in most boilers in the UK. Some have them on the inside, some have them on the outside regardless though, central heating pumps are the heartbeat of your boiler, and make sure your home is heated perfectly.

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There are many central heating pumps out there from different brands and manufacturers but they all do the same thing. Like anything, some are better than others so let’s find out all about how they work and how much they cost.

What is a central heating pump and how do they work?

To get the radiators in your home to heat up when the heating is turned on, your central heating system needs a pump to circulate water around at the perfect temperature, effectively and energy efficiently.

These are an essential component of any central heating system, so make sure you choose the right model. This guide will explain how central heating pumps work and the costs involved. It will also help you identify common problems that they may encounter.

What is a central heating system?

The central heating system circulates hot water throughout your home whenever you turn on the heating. This is done by a central heating pump.

This small component can efficiently circulate hot water around the system of radiators and back into the boiler before it cools off.

If you are having boiler issues, find out how much a new boiler costs now, it may be a cheaper option n the long term than replacing broken parts.

Where can I find my central heating pump?

If you have a combi boiler, your central heating pump will be inside your boiler. We don’t recommend you go searching for this.

If you have a conventional boiler, however, the central heating pump will usually be located near the boiler. If it isn’t, you can probably locate it in the cupboard or under the stairs. A conventional boiler will have a hot water cylinder and a cold water tank.

Central heating pumps explained

Speed settings are easy to adjust

Every central heating system is different. This includes the number of radiators and the size of the radiators. There is no one size that will work for every home. Instead, there are many speed settings available that can be customized to your home.

Will changing of the central heating pumps speed setting cost me money?

The speed of your central heating pump can lead to high electricity bills. A setting that is too slow could cause your radiators to not heat up properly. When the central heating pump is installed in your system, the installer will be able to adjust it to the right speed.

You’ll be able to choose from a variety of speed settings when looking for a central heating pump: single speed, multiple fixed speed, variable speed, and combination.

Single Speed central heating pumps

Single speed central heating pumps are better for smaller homes or flat’s. The benefit of a central heating pump is the fact that you can change the speed that the hot water flows so these are not as common.

Multiple speed boiler pump

Boiler pumps that have more than one speed often have three-speed settings for pumping hot water around your home. This allows for the pump to be adjusted if your radiators need more heat more quickly.

Variable Speed pumps

Some models can adjust the speed settings automatically when the heating is on to change the flow of hot water. This is really handy if you don’t ever want to mess about with your central heating pump although variable speed pumps should not be installed if your radiators have thermostatic radiator valves.


These are probably one of the best options but are more expensive although you can choose from one of three fixed speeds or a variable setting with combination pumps so they can either automatically adjust or you can make the central heating pump work how you want it to.

How much do central heating pumps cost?

You can expect to pay around £350 for a high-quality central heating system, but in reality, you will be paying anywhere from £100 to £200.

It is important to not settle for the cheapest pump you can find. A pump with a longer life expectancy will be worth the investment.

Central heating pump installation costs

These costs do not include installation. Prices for the central heating pumps will vary depending on who is doing the work. This is because every pump and central heating system is different and some pumps are bigger than others. Also, depending on your current pipework and fittings will depend on how much needs to be replaced.

However, a central heating pump is easy to fix for most Gas Safe registered installers and if this is the only issue, then expect costs to be around £300 – £400 in total.

Always compare installation quotes from multiple installers to get the best deals on any new central heating pump brands.

Central heating pumps that work best

There are many central heating pump manufacturers. Grundfos, DAB and others are the most well-known. Grundfos pumps can be fitted to most new boilers in many cases.

Use the table below to help you start your search for the right pump for your central heating system.

Common central heating pump problems

You might notice that your central heating pump is having problems over time. Below are some common issues that central heating pumps can experience. However, if your pump seems to be having problems, it is worth calling a professional engineer.

Leaking central heating pumps

A leaking boiler must be repaired immediately. The water could cause damage to not only the boiler but also furniture. The pump could be leaking due to poor installation, corrosion or loosening of the pump.

Radiators are not heating properly

The speed settings of the pump may be too low if you turn on the heating and find that only a portion of the radiators have heated up. The pump will usually have a switch at the top that you can adjust from 1-3 (1 being slowest, 3 being highest), but we recommend consulting a professional engineer before making any changes.

Loud noises are often from a broken heating pump

If there are loud noises coming from the pump or the central heating pump makes unusual noises, it is likely that there is an accumulation of air in the system. The pump must be bled to remove any air buildup. This can be done by unscrewing the bleed screws. As water could escape, it is best to perform this task slowly.

Heating pump blockage

Over time, dirt and grime can build up and prevent water from flowing through the pump to the radiators or taps. A hot flush will be required to clear the blockage and restart the pump.

A magnetic filter, which attracts any debris and prevents it from blocking the system, can be installed to stop this.

The heating pump won’t pump water

Due to age, this is often a common reason that a part that has become stuck is the most common reason why a pump stops pumping water around the central heating unit. This fault is common in pumps that have been running for many years. It is an indication that the pump needs to be replaced.

How to fix a damaged central heating pump

If you have a combi boiler and your central heating pump is broken it could be a better option to just to get a new boiler depending on the age of your boiler, as there may be other things that also start to go wrong along the way. An older boiler pump is much less energy efficient than an old one too so it could save you money on your electricity bills.

Low pump pressure can be a sign but if you have a broken external pump then this will definitely be a cheaper option than buying a new boiler. Always make if you opt for new boiler that you compare boiler quotes online to get the best prices.

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