If you’ve never been quite sure of the difference between a combi boiler and a conventional boiler, it makes sense that upgrading to a new central heating system can seem daunting. Every home is different, so although they’re not right for everyone, combis are a great option for many households.
To help you work out what’s best for you, here’s a handy guide to everything you need to know about combi boilers, from size and efficiency to cost — as well as everything in between.
What is a Combi Boiler?
If there’s one thing to know about combi boilers, it’s that this hardworking white box will provide both the heating and the hot water for your home — the clue is in the name. What’s more, it doesn’t need a water storage tank or cylinder to do those essential jobs.
In general, combi models are best suited to small to medium-sized homes. For many people, one of the most attractive benefits of combi models is they only heat water as and when they need it — that means money saved on energy bills.
The Combi Boiler Checklist
In our article Finding the Best Combi Boiler for Your Home, we set out the following three question to work out if a combi model is the right choice for you:
- Do you live in an area with normal or high water pressure?
- Do you rarely use several hot water appliances (sink, bath, shower) at the same time?
- Is your boiler going to be close to the furthest bath, shower or sink (less than 20 metres)?
If the answer to all of those questions is yes, a combi boiler would make a fantastic choice for your home’s central heating system.
What are the Main Benefits of a Combi Boiler?
There are so many upsides to upgrading to a combi model that we’ve had to break them up into bite-size chunks — here’s a quick breakdown of the benefits:
Increased Efficiency and Lower Costs
Unlike conventional boilers, combi models only heat the water that’s needed by your household. They need to work much less than models that have to keep water heated in cylinders or storage tanks, which means they use much less energy.
The experts at the Energy Saving Trust have worked out that heating accounts for more than half of what the average household spends every year on energy bills. This shows just how big a difference an efficient boiler can make.
More Space in Your Home
You don’t just gain a gleaming new model when you upgrade to a combi boiler, you also benefit from extra space in your home too. Not only do combi boilers not need a cylinder or storage tank, many are now compact enough to be stored in a small kitchen cupboard.
We’ve come so far from the days when boilers were noisy, imposing appliances that kept us up at night! You may be surprised at how stylish modern models can be too — take a glimpse at the Vogue Max Combi to get a better idea.
Hot Water Arrives Faster
There’s nothing worse than having to wait for your water to heat up for a wash or quick shower, especially if you’re in a rush. The good news with combi boilers is that there’s no need to wait for water to heat up in a storage unit.
Combi models provide hot water on demand, so it will always be there when you need it most. It’s a real game-changer if you’re used to tapping your toes while you wait to run a bath and get lost in the bubbles.
Forget Water Pressure Problems
One of life’s great pleasures is a hot shower, and combi boilers take water directly from the mains, meaning they’re much less likely to have pressure issues than a conventional boiler. That means stuttering, low-powered showers should become a thing of the past!
As we mentioned above, bear in mind that combi boilers are best suited to areas with normal or high water pressure — in general these models won’t work as well if you have low mains water pressure.
What’s the Cost of a Combi Boiler?
The simple answer is that it costs less than you might think! Every home has different needs, which means there’s no single answer to this question. If it’s simply a case of changing from a conventional boiler to a combi, the price can be surprisingly affordable.
As a rough estimate, upgrading to a new boiler will cost somewhere in the range of £700 to £5,000. Costs will be at the higher end of the scale if you’re installing a boiler in a property for the first time, as you’ll encounter additional costs to fit extra equipment and pipework. For more details, take a look at our FAQ article New Boiler Costs — A Guide.
As we mentioned above, it’s worth bearing in mind that upgrading to an A-rated combi boiler can really pay off in the long run. New models are so much more energy efficient than older boilers that they can make a big impact on your power bills.
How Long Does it Take to Fit a Combi Boiler?
When asking how long it takes to fit a boiler there are quite a few factors to consider, including the type of model you have now, if it needs to be moved to another room, and the type of fuel it runs on. In general though, installing a new boiler will take between six hours and four days.
Now that you are equipped with everything you need to know about combi boilers, you might be interested in this handy link to find local and national installers, including Max Accredited Installers who have undergone training with Ideal Boilers.
For a helping hand to find your perfect boiler, try our quick and simple Find My New Boiler tool. It takes you step by step through the process of finding the perfect fit for your home, taking into account the size of the property and how many bedrooms, baths and showers it contains.
Find this a helpful read? Make sure you look out for more central heating advice in our FAQs and more essential guides on our blog.