5 Things to Consider Before You Upgrade Your Central Heating

Our boiler’s on the blink. You could say it couldn’t have come at a better time (coldest snap in six years) – but the truth is that it’s been a bit temperamental for a while and every passing day that it’s not packed up completely is a blessing. Besides which, as luck goes, I’m doing okay: my hubby is a heating engineer! He’s already demonstrated the Midas touch with the boiler twice; I’ll take that. So, we’re having to start looking into what we’ll replace it with when the time finally comes. Here are five things to consider before you upgrade your central heating system…


5 Things to Consider Before You Upgrade Your Central Heating

1. Combi Boiler or Cylinder

If you don’t know the difference then it basically comes down to the size of the property (sort of), and more specifically how much hot water your family uses: combi boilers work best in smaller homes where there will be limited usage of hot water.

This is because a combi can heat either your water or your home – but not both simultaneously.

A combi is more than adequate for a home where the room temperature can be quickly restored if it drops, but in a bigger property it probably wouldn’t be sufficient. If a large house was using hot water for an extended period – which always takes priority over the heating – then you’d notice a dip while the house warmed back up to its earlier temperature.

In other words, if you usually just shower, you’re fine. But if you enjoy a deep bath with a glass of wine of an evening – and can get away with keep topping it up with more hot water while your spouse entertains the littles – it may not be sufficient.

If you decide you need a cylinder, you’ll further need to choose between vented and unvented. Everything you need to know about the difference can be found here.

A combi boiler will often be the cheaper option and frees up an airing cupboard as there’s no need for a cylinder. For most families though a cylinder will probably be an easier option to live with long-term.

Has your boiler let you down? Here are 5 things to consider before upgrading your central heating.


2. Fuel: Gas, Oil, LPG or Solid Fuel

The majority of central heating systems run off of gas these days, but not quite all. Some properties run off wood pellets or LPG bottles, or may even have an oil tank in the garden – just as my mum’s house does where I grew up! It’s because she’s out in the sticks and there’s currently no gas available there.

The fuel-type’s obviously a key consideration when looking at replacing your boiler.


3. Budget

Once you’ve established which type of boiler you’ll be looking to purchase, it will be time to consider budget. Costs will vary dependent on the above factors. And if you have additional pennies left in the pot, you may like to consider…


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4. Solar Panels

Adding solar panels to your roof can be a great way to save a little bit on your heating bills. It’s worth bearing in mind that your greatest need for heat will ironically be those times when the sun is at its weakest (so 50 out of the 52 weeks of the year in this country). Nevertheless if you’re environmentally conscious and can afford it, they’re worth having installed as an additional resource.

There are two main types of panel, PV (photovoltaic) and Solar Heat. PV supply electricity and any occasional surplus can be sold back to the grid (bonus). Solar Heat use the panels to directly heat your hot water, saving you gas – good for the planet and your pocket. Solar heat is most effective with a cylinder as they can heat all your water if the sun’s out, but systems do also exist for combi boilers.


5. Installation: Finding the Right Heating Engineer

Once you’ve chosen the right central heating system for your home, you’ll want to ensure you hire the right man for the job. If my hubby were not so busy I’d give him a plug because obviously there’s noone better; as the next best option there are various sites you can use to obtain quotes for installing central heating.

Replacing your boiler is the domestic expense we all want to avoid because it’s not cheap – so it’s worth making sure you’re going to be satisfied with your purchase when you upgrade your central heating system. You’re likely to be living with the result for a decade or more after all!

This is a commissioned post.


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