It may seem like a mammoth task to upgrade your central heating system, especially when we are getting so close to summer. However, with increased efficiency and cost saving at the top of most homeowner’s mind, upgrading has become a more popular topic of conversation over the last few years.
For those of you who are thinking about upgrading, here are a few questions that you should be asking yourself before you get going.
What type of system do you need?
Often the size of your home can have a big impact on the type of central heating system you need. Especially when it comes to the number of bathrooms.
There are three type of systems you will typically choose from:
- Wet systems
- Warm air systems
- Storage heaters
A wet system works by circulating hot water around a system of pipes connected to a boiler or heat exchanger. A less popular choice is a warm air system which heats the air and feeds it to different rooms via air ducts. Not always the most cost effective choice either.
The last option is a storage heater which will use bricks capable of storing large amounts of heat. These bricks store heat using off-peak electricity and will tend to use a separate wiring system.
Whilst wet systems are the most popular in the UK, a storage heater means you can control the amount of heat being stored and can even delay its release until you return in the evening. Not bad going!
Do you need to replace the whole system?
While the boiler, radiators and cylinders have a big impact on the performance of your central heating, pipework can be equally important. Moving systems can put pressure on pipework and create leaks that go unnoticed. If that is the case, then you may find any potential savings are voided by faulty pipes which aren’t suitable for your new system.
We would suggest replacing the necessary pipework to avoid any future mishaps and installing other parts where the cost saving warrants it. For instance, if your boiler is over 15 years old then replacing it with a more modern model could increase efficiency by up to 50% and thus boost your savings.
What type of boiler so you need? Is a combi really the most efficient solution?
A combi boiler is a popular choice for a high percentage of households due to its ability to heat water on demand. The truth of it is that they are most suitable for houses with just one bathroom; and possibly two if powerful enough.
The other options are conventional and system boilers which both require a hot water cylinder. This can take up more space but will lead to faster running water – and faster running baths! Both systems can feed several outlets at once making them more suitable for properties with multiple bathrooms.
Are you thinking of carrying out more home improvements? Could this involve installing more radiators?
Something as simple as an extension or loft conversion can impact the type of boiler you should have. You should consider whether you need a tank for the loft you are planning to convert, and if so maybe you should be installing a boiler without tanks? There is also the question of radiators. Will you be putting more bathrooms in as part of your extension? And if so, will your boiler supply all the new radiators and bathrooms comfortably?
If not, then you need a conventional or system boiler now despite your current supply currently only warranting a combi system. There is no benefit to installing two different boilers over such a short period.
How old is your hot water cylinder?
New cylinders tend to be a different size and shape to old ones. Whatever the case, you may find when you get around to it that a hot water cylinder is taking up a lot of space. Big bulky old systems often require space for needless cylinders which wouldn’t be the case with a newer model. With more space, you could even create room for a new shower cubicle!
The point is that if you are hasty when it comes to upgrading your central heating then it could end up costing you in the long run. Be smart and answer these questions before you get started. For more information you can visit our central heating page here.