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Types of Boilers: Condensing Boilers Vs Non-Condensing Boilers

Types of boilers explained. Efficient condensing Vs Non-efficient non-condensing Boiler

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Energy bills are soaring at a greater rate than ever in the UK. Increasing greenhouse gases and saving the earth from catastrophe is almost impossible. But still, there is time to take it seriously and step forward to save our planet from harmful gases and reduce our carbon footprint.

In the United Kingdom, the step has already been taken back in 2013. Fast forward, the ECO4 government funding grant scheme is still valid to facilitate low-income households to upgrade their old boiler systems with new ones. 

What are the Types of Boiler Systems for Home Heating?

Boiler systems are widely used in homes to meet heating needs in harsh winters. Generally, people don’t bother about what type of boiler has been installed and how much energy it consumes. That is why the majority of them face the consequences in the form of high energy bills. Especially when it comes to low-income households, it costs almost a fortune to replace it with a new boiler that is efficient and reduces energy bills. 

If you belong to a low-income household, you can take advantage of the ECO4 Government Funding Grant Scheme. However, to qualify for the ECO4 Grant Scheme UK, you need to meet eligibility criteria. We will discuss later what the ECO4 Government Funding Grant Scheme is and how to check your eligibility. 

Before that, we would like to shed some light on the types of boilers that are commonly used in homes in the United Kingdom. Let’s get started. 

Types of Boilers

Types of Boilers 

Boilers are typically categorised into two main categories.

  1. Condensing Boilers 
  2. Non-Condensing Boilers 

Condensing Boilers vs Non-Condensing Boilers: Differences and Similarities

Comparing Condensing Boilers vs. Non-Condensing Boilers is similar to comparing old TV sets with smart TVs. Remember that under these boilers, there are further sub-categories that will be discussed in this lengthy post. So stay tuned and read until the end. 

Condensing Boilers Non-Condensing Boilers Overview  

One of the most common types of boilers installed in new homes is a condensing boiler. You can find different types of condensing boilers including heat-only boilers, system boilers, and combi boilers. 

The condensing boilers normally operate through gas, but some of them also run on oil or biomass (wood boilers).

According to the statistics, condensing boilers are capable of making 90 percent of heat, which makes them efficient more than the older models. 

Condensing boilers are smaller in size than non-condensing boilers. Moreover, they are lightweight and can be mounted on a wall. It uses a heat exchanger to trap and recycle heat from the exhaust gas before venting out. The mechanism helps produce more heat, consumes less energy, and develops condensation inside the unit that needs to be flushed out. 

Non-condensing boilers also known as traditional boilers or conventional boilers burn gas to heat water, allowing you to warm up your home. They are heavier than condensing boilers and need to be vented out through a chimney. 

The major issue with non-condensing boilers is that they are not energy efficient and surge bills to sky-high. 

Condensing Boilers Vs Non-Condensing Boilers Installation 

Condensing boilers require a drain line to spill out acidic liquid. However, due to this drainage system, condensing boilers can be installed in selected locations of the home. 

On the contrary, the non-condensing boilers usually vent out gas through the chimney because the gas does not condense inside the unit. 

Non-condensing boilers must be vented out using a chimney or flue, as the temperature is extremely high. The cost of installing Condensing Boilers vs. non-condensing Boilers may vary due to several reasons. For instance, it depends on the number of zones, the size of the boiler, the home structure, and the work that needs to be done on venting and piping. 

Condensing Boilers Vs Non-Condensing Boilers Efficiency 

The major difference between condensing boilers and non-condensing boilers is that of fuel consumption. Condensing boilers are more energy-efficient and consume less fuel, which ultimately leads to less carbon footprints and gas bills. 

Whereas non-condensing boilers are less energy efficient using only 80% of fuel to heat the home. The remaining 20 percent is lost, which ultimately affects homeowners in the form of high energy bills. 

The reason the Government ECO4 Funding Grant Scheme is run throughout the UK is to reduce fuel poverty, save more energy, and help low-income households slash energy bills without incurring any cost. 

Condensing Boilers vs. Non-Condensing Boilers Durability and Maintenance 

Condensing and non-condensing boilers have an estimated life of 15-20 years. However, there are several factors that may increase or decrease the life of boilers. Some of the factors include how well you maintain, maximum usage, boiler installation, and climate. 

Whatever boiler you have installed at your home, it is good to get it checked after every year. It may cost some money, but much better than buying and installing a new boiler that is too heavy for the budget. 

Condensing Boilers vs. Non-Condensing Boilers: Which is Better?

Condensing boilers and non-condensing boilers purpose remain the same. To provide warmth to your home and let you live comfortably without feeling the harsh cold. However, when it comes to condensing boilers vs. non-condensing boilers, the difference lies in the efficiency and amount you can save on energy bills for the years to come. 

Condensing boilers are the ones recommended by experts as they allow you to save energy, reduce carbon footprints, and slash the rising cost of energy bills. However, to get value for money, you must do some research for the best condensing boilers available on the market.

Condensing Boiler Types 

Condensing boilers are largely used in UK homes. Those who are using non-condensing boilers can replace it with a condensing boiler by submitting an ECO4 scheme application. You can check whether you are eligible for a free boiler grant by entering your postcode. 

There are three types of (gas) condensing boilers namely:

  1. Combi Boilers
  2. System Boilers
  3. Conventional Boilers 

Combi Boilers 

Combi boilers are one of the types of condensing boilers also known as combination boilers. They are highly popular among UK households as they are easy to accommodate even in small homes or spaces. Combi boilers are energy-efficient and are used both as a central heating unit and water heater. The reason it is called a combi boiler is that it can perform two functions simultaneously. 

The combi boilers do not need any water storage cylinder, as they can heat water directly from the main pipeline. A highly recommended boiler for households with insufficient roof space. Moreover, the overall mechanism of heating makes it a much more affordable and energy-efficient option. You don’t waste any heated water as there is no storage tank. Use it on the go whenever you need it without wasting natural resources, and also letting you save. 

Combi Boiler Advantages and Disadvantages

Combi boilers are highly popular due to many reasons. Here are some of the advantages of a combi boiler. 

Advantages of Combi Boiler

Less Space Required 

Combi boilers as discussed earlier are compact in size and lightweight. Contrary to conventional boilers, combi boilers are a good replacement for households with less space. You can install a combi boiler in a small space as it does not require a tank to fill hot water. Combi boilers heat the water directly from the pipeline, which gives you direct supply of hot water without needing a water tank. 

Less Energy Consumption

Combi boilers have an efficiency of up to 90%, which allows you to save much on your energy bills. Moreover, it is also environmentally friendly due to less energy wastage and offering heat more than non-condensing boilers. 

Low Installation Cost 

Combi boiler installation is relatively cheaper than conventional boilers. This is due to the fact that it requires minimum pipework and is easy to install. 

Instant Heating without Storing 

Combi boiler is a great addition to your home if you have less space. The boiler allows you to get hot water instantly on-demand, rather than storing it in a hot water tank. Thus, it can help in saving much of your gas and reduce the cost of energy bills.

Disadvantages of Combi Boiler

Some of the disadvantages of a combi boiler are:

Require High Water Pressure and Supply 

Combi boilers come with many benefits. However, one of the drawbacks of combi boilers is that it does not work well when the water pressure is low. If you are living in an area where water pressure is not much, you may avoid a combi boiler. 

Not Suitable for a Big Family 

A household with 2 to 3 bathrooms may not find it ideal. For instance, if you have multiple showers at home, you may need to think about getting another boiler system rather than a combi boiler. 

System Boilers

System boilers function differently from combi boilers. It takes the cold water from the main pipeline and heats it. Once the water is heated, it is transferred to a hot water cylinder for future use. These boilers come with a built-in expansion vessel that contains water and air collected from the central heating system. 

System boilers are ideal for big families and anyone can use hot water, once it is heated. However, once the water gets cold, it needs to be reheated, which may result in more consumption of gas.

Advantages of System Boilers

Some of the advantages of system boilers include:

Ideal for Big Families 

As discussed earlier, system boilers use a water tank to store hot water. Unlike combi boilers, system boilers can accommodate large families with multiple bathrooms and showers. You don’t need to worry about high water pressure as the hot water is stored in a tank. Moreover, the hot water can be used until the cylinder is filled with it. 

Save Huge Money

System boilers are ideal for big households. Simply replace your old conventional boiler with a system boiler and save much on your energy bills. Moreover, it can also be powered with the help of thermal or solar energy.

Disadvantages of a system boiler

Reheating Required 

The system boilers use a water cylinder to store hot water. As long as the hot water is being used instantly, there is no need to reheat the water. However, after some time, it may require reheating, which may consume more energy and surge your energy bills. 

Not Suitable for Small Spaces 

A system boiler requires a cylinder, which may not accommodate in a small space. To install a system boiler, make sure you have calculated the required space and the place where it needs to be fixed.

Requires Time

Water heating using a system boiler requires time. If you have a party to attend and need to take a bath, make sure to make the arrangements beforehand. 

Not Suitable for Small Spaces 

A system boiler requires a cylinder, which may not accommodate in a small space. To install a system boiler, make sure you have calculated the required space and the place where it needs to be fixed.

Conventional Boilers

Conventional boilers also called regular boilers contain several parts such as a hot water cylinder, expansion cistern, boiler, cold water storage, feed, and heating controls. These boilers contain two tanks in the loft feed. The cold water storage tank collects the water from the main pipeline. The second one known as the feed and expansion tank, loads the boiler system and manages any water that expands in the system after heating. 

Conventional boilers can work on both oil and gas. However, these boilers are prone to emission of many harmful and hazardous gases like carbon monoxide. These boilers are mostly found in older homes. However, the government of the UK is encouraging residents to replace it with a more eco-friendly boiler such as a system boiler or combi boiler. 

Conventional boilers are the least priority for the majority of homeowners as they occupy a lot of space and installation is a bit complex. Conventional boilers are outdated and need to be replaced with combi or system boilers. However, homes that are older may not have pipelines suitable for high-pressure water, which is why they use conventional boiler systems.

Advantages of a conventional boiler

Provide Backup Heating

The conventional boiler can be operated through an immersion heater. It could help in providing a hot water supply when the boiler breaks down. 

Ideal for Older Homes

Conventional boiler is a great choice for older homes with old pipes and amenities. If the combi boiler or system boiler cannot be installed in the home, the best option is to stay with the conventional one. 

Can be Operated via Solar Panel 

The conventional boiler can work with solar thermal panels, which 

Can be compatible with solar: Solar thermal panels can make the heating system more efficient.

Disadvantages of a conventional boiler

Require More Space

Conventional boilers require a lot of space to adjust the cold water tank, hot water cylinder, and airing cupboard. If your living space is small, you may consider other types of boilers to fit in your property. 

Complex Installation

The installation of conventional boilers can be complex and will put a dent in your budget. It requires a lot of pipework, parts, and other installation procedures, which could lead surge in the cost. 

Loss of Heat 

The water cylinder needs to be properly insulated to keep the water hot. However, without proper insulation, it could result in heat loss, which may require you to start the heating process again, resulting in more carbon emissions and a surge in energy bills.

Summing Up

Choosing the right type of boiler requires a lot of research and calculations. However, if you are facing any difficulties in choosing the right type of boiler, contact us at 020-452-59721. Make sure to keep visiting ecoenergyservices.co.uk to learn more about the ECO4 Scheme, ECO4 scheme eligibility, who qualifies for a free boiler grant, and much more. 

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