You may think, as a homeowner, that you are an expert in boiler systems. Actually this is probably far from the truth as they are quite complex, having several different designs and fundamental layouts of boiler which are installed in normal homes. Traditional central heating systems have a hot water storage tank (in an airing cupboard) and a feed and expansion tank (located in the loft). Having a hot water storage ability allows these systems to deliver large amounts of hot water at short notice. The hot water capacity is only limited by the size of the hot water tank and the ability of the boiler to renew the hot water when depleted.
The additional components and hot water storage also contribute to reduced energy efficiency, higher installation costs and a more complex system. This means averts the traditional heating system has slightly breakdowns over its lifetime and consumes more energy to deliver the same amount of heat and hot water.
To counteract these deficiencies the combination or combi boiler was developed. This type of boiler heats hot water on demand whenever the hot water tap is turned on. This means that the supply of hot water is not limited and there are far fewer components in the central heating system.
Fewer components and no hot water storage all contribute to a lower cost installation with a better energy efficiency, resulting in lower ongoing heating costs. These directly address the issues in a traditional boiler system meaning that you will pay less for the hot water you require over the lifetime of the boiler and could well experience fewer trouble some breakdowns.
One disadvantage is that the hot water flow rate of a combi boiler will not match that of a conventional boiler. Water has to be heated on demand and hence it may take longer to run a bath although a shower will be a pleasant surprise as the hot water is delivered at mains pressure giving a high power spray.
Another issue to consider is the temperature of the hot water. This can be influenced by the temperature of the incoming cold water and the flow rate. As a result it is essential that the power of a new boiler is matched to your heating needs.
Some advanced combi boilers incorporate a small hot water cylinder. Installation is still easy with reduced components but the boiler stores some hot water to enable it to meet initial demands for hot water. This hot water reservoir is small and it will not be sufficient to fill a path but it does allow this design of boiler to provide instant hot water for most typical requirements in the home and you will not be waiting for a whole tank of hot water to finish heating before you can get sufficient hot water out to wash a view items of cutlery as an example.
If you have problems with your central heating the video guide below can give you an insight into the most common central heating problems.