How Does a Combi Boiler Work?

A valuable asset in any property that helps to heat your home, contemporary combi boilers are an effective and energy-efficient device that comes in many forms but serves one purpose. Whether you have a natural gas boiler, oil, LPG or electric, they all take water from the mains to provide hot water to showers and taps.



What is a Combi (combination) Boiler?


There is a range of boilers on the market: combi, system and regular boilers. When looking at systems and regular boilers, store hot water in a cylinder that can be streamed to taps when required. This is perfect for delivering hot water to more than one tap in your home, however, when the cylinder is empty you need to wait for it to be filled again. Another factor for regular boilers is that they need a cold water tank fed from the loft that brings water to the boiler ready to be heated. In contrast, combi boilers remove the need for tanks and cylinders and heat water straight from the mains to the tap.



How Does a Combination Boiler Work?


As soon as you turn on a hot water tap or the central heating the combi boiler will spring into action. Cold water will travel through the boiler from the mains, heat up and then transfer onto the pipes for your radiator, shower or taps. There’s no need to wait for the boiler to heat up like a system or regular boiler, you’ll get on-demand hot water instantly.



Types of Combi Boiler


There are a few choices to consider when looking at which type of combi boiler to invest in. They can run on various fuels, which opens up the possibilities for a range of homes including connected properties to the grid and off-grid homes.



Natural Gas


A popular choice of combi boiler is one that runs on natural gas. It doesn’t have to be stored in the property as it is supplied directly.





An alternative for properties that are off-grid, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) is produced by oil refining and the extraction of natural gas and oil and needs to be stored in a tank preferably in the garden.





Another common choice for off-grid properties, the oil needs to be stored in a tank within the property and has to be refilled by a reputable supplier when running low. The downside to this type of combi boiler is that it reduces the space-saving benefits compared to other types.





A bright future is ahead for electric combi boilers, as they are certainly a more efficient way of heating homes as they don’t burn fuel for either central heating or producing hot water. While burning fuels such as gas and oil contribute to climate change because of the carbon that is released into the atmosphere, electricity is a more sustainable option. One disadvantage is that they can’t heat large properties because of the demand required, however, they are great for flats and smaller homes with one bathroom. You could consider running your electric combi boiler with Solar PV to save even more money on your energy bills.



Benefits of Combi Boilers


It’s no secret that combi boilers offer a number of advantages when providing on-demand hot water and heating. They are also straightforward to install, compact, can reduce energy bills and rely on the mains water pressure to keep it consistent.



Saves Space


Regular and system boilers can take up a lot of space in your home, with a combi boiler you’ll be able to tuck it away nicely in a cupboard as they are single-combined units. Thanks to the removal of tanks and cylinders which can be bulky, you’ll gain much more space as it’s just the boiler that needs installing.



Easy to Install


As no cylinders or tanks need to be fitted or maintained, this all-in-one unit, when installed by a professional, will be simple and straightforward.



Reliable Water Pressure


Because regular boilers need gravity to bring water down from the loft, they can produce a weak water pressure. As a combi boiler takes water directly from the mains to the taps and shower, you’ll experience much better water pressure and save on future boiler repairs. It’s worth bearing in mind though before having one installed by a professional, that the mains water pressure is suitable for a combi boiler.



Reduced Energy Consumption


For more traditional boilers such as system and regular, much energy is lost heating up water in the cylinder. The great benefit of combi boilers is that they are renowned for their efficiency, at least 93% more efficient in fact. This could certainly help lower your energy bills if you’re looking to replace your old boiler.



Things to Consider with Combination Boilers


Whilst there are plenty of advantages to having a combi boiler installed, there are also some downsides too. Firstly, they’re not well suited for big homes because of the demand to heat multiple rooms. If you have a property which has more than one bathroom then a system or regular boiler might be best. Also if the water pressure in your home is weak, then so will the water coming out of the taps and shower. There is a solution for this issue as a pump can be fitted to increase the pressure, but there will be an additional cost involved. Finally, if you have an older heating system and pipework, it’s advised that a professional checks that your home can handle the higher pressure that comes with a combi boiler.



Installing a Combi Boiler


Our boiler installation team will be able to guide and advise on what type of system is best for your property – the benefits are certainly plentiful with their efficiency and effectiveness. Contact our team at CS Boxall to see how we can help you.