Our guide to different boiler types

With Green Team Energy Solutions taking care of all the paperwork and admin to get you your government-funded ECO grant and – more importantly – your free new boiler and installation, all that’s left for you to decide is which type of boiler you’re going to need for your home. Don’t worry if you’re not sure. Our guide to the main types of boilers gives you everything you need to know. 

There are three main types of boilers: combi, heat-only and system. Of the three, the most conventional and widely used is the heat-only boiler. But let’s explore how each of these different types of boilers works, as well as their advantages, disadvantages and the best type of environment for installing any one of them.

Combi boiler

The ‘combi’ part of a combi boiler’s name is short for ‘combination’. This is because it’s a single unit that takes care of both your heating and hot water. A combi boiler heats the water using what’s known as an ‘integral heat exchanger’ directly from the cold mains. This means there’s no need for a hot water cylinder or tank in the loft. Everything is done through one wall-hung unit.

The biggest advantage of a gas combi boiler system is that almost all the main components are contained within the boiler. That makes for a much more compact boiler system that gives you instant hot water. On the downside, there are more moving parts to go wrong and you’ll only be able to use hot water for one thing at a time. With that in mind, these types of boilers are best suited to smaller households.

Heat-only boiler

A heat-only boiler or conventional boiler system stores hot water in a cylinder or a hot water storage tank. These types of boilers usually need to be switched on in advance of when you’re going to need hot water. Heat-only boilers use what’s known as a ‘vented’ or ‘gravity fed’ hot water system, which requires a cold water tank in the loft and a cylinder in an airing cupboard. The height of the tank dictates the water pressure. 

These types of boilers are generally found in older homes and are better suited to bigger homes with a lot of space, where several people might need to use the hot water at the same time. The issue with heat-only boilers is that they don’t provide hot water instantly. If all the hot water reserves have been used, say for a bath, then you’ll have to wait for the water in the storage tank to heat up once more. 

System boiler

Like conventional heat-only boilers, system boilers work with a hot water cylinder. But they differ in that they don’t need a water storage tank in the loft. Instead, the hot water cylinder is fed directly by the cold water mains. Plus, all the components you would expect to find in a combi boiler, like pumps and valves, are integrated into a system boiler. So these types of boilers offer a bit of a halfway house if you like.

The main benefit of a system boiler is that you can use several hot water taps at once, unlike with a combi boiler. This makes them ideal for busier households that need all the hot water they can get. You also don’t need any extra space for a cold water tank in your loft, like you would with a heat-only boiler. Having said that, system boilers are typically less efficient and more expensive to install than combi boilers.

Are you eligible for a free new boiler?

Like millions of people across the UK, you could be eligible for a free new boiler and first-time central heating if you qualify for the government’s Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme. If your boiler is at least seven years old and anyone in your household needs to claim certain benefits, Green Team Energy Solutions may be able to apply for the ECO grant on your behalf. Why not use our eligibility checker to see if you qualify?

For more information about our services, or for help applying for an ECO grant, please contact Green Team Energy Solutions today on 0161 537 4068 or email info@gtesltd.co.uk. 

Disclaimer: Always consult with a reputable plumber to secure the right type of boiler for your home and to guarantee a safe installation. The information in this article is intended for information purposes only.