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The Almost Impartial Guide to Boiler Replacement

When you’re unfortunate to have problems with your boiler like failure to start or hot water/central heating problems, then it can lead to an emergency replacement. There are many options available, but many people will just go for a new replacement boiler on a like for like basis, and when an emergency boiler replacement is required urgently then there is no time to consider any other options like possibly a more energy efficient boiler. But if you are fortunate to have more time to look at other boiler options, then the following will help.


There are three types of gas boilers read the following and see which suits your requirements:

Conventional boilers

Conventional boilers heat water by burning fuel in a combustion chamber which is surrounded by a water chamber. The hot water then circulates around a heating system. The drawback of this system is that it is not as energy efficient as some others - heat disappears up the flue and also into the surrounding air.

Condensing boilers

Condensing boilers are more energy efficient than the conventional type. They extract more heat from the fuel and less is lost through the flue. The downside is that they are more expensive to buy and have a shorter working life. Also, unless the working conditions suit them, they do not work in condensing mode. To get the most from the boiler less than half of the radiators in the system can have a thermostatic valve control - meaning there is less control over individual radiators and the heat they generate.

Combination boilers

Combination boilers provide hot water and central heating - but only one at a time. So if the radiators are running the hot water isn’t, and the boiler can only serve one tap at a time - which doesn’t make them ideal for homes which have a large demand for hot water.

Although they are compact, easy to install and cheap to run they can be expensive to repair. As a long-term investment the downside is many have been designed for a five-year life-span.


Low water content boiler

Low water content boilers, as their name suggests, hold just a small amount of water in the heat exchanger which is then pumped around the heating system via a separate pumping system. This makes them smaller and more economical to run than some other options. Other advantages include cheap to buy, and as the system has few and reliable components they cause very few problems.

System boilers

System boilers differ from low water systems in as much as they come complete with all that is needed to fit to a sealed fully pumped system. Although larger than a low water system they are neat and easier to install. The drawbacks are costlier installation and repair bills.

Electric boilers

Electric boilers work in the same way as conventional gas boilers. They run off cheap-rate electricity and advantages include silent running, lightness and a compactness which saves space.

Electric Storage heaters

Electric storage heaters retain their heat in special bricks which are heated overnight on cheap-rate electricity. As the heat is released slowly it is designed to keep the room warm until the next charge is due.


Warm air units

Warm air units use air rather than water to circulate the heat. The system does not require radiators as the air is heated directly by gas or electricity via a heat exchanger. It then passes through ducts meaning that it can heat a room quickly and can be economical to use.

Oil boilers

Oil offers a good alternative when gas is not available but does restrict the type of heating system used. Supplies of oil are stored in a large external tank, which must conform to safety regulations. Oil-fired boilers can be efficient but do need the skills of an engineer to restart them if they go out.

Solid fuel boilers are often better known as back boilers - fitted to the back of an open coal fire or kitchen range - although some can be fed from pellets housed in a hopper outside the home. The drawbacks of a solid fuel system is inefficiency (heat disappears up the chimney of an open fire) and daily cleaning can be messy.

Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG)

LPG is an alternative to natural gas (although it works in the same way). When choosing a gas boiler ensure that it can be converted to LPG.


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