Combi or Gas Boiler: Which is the most energy-efficient?

Life without an efficient combi or gas boiler or similar paints quite a bleak picture. The cost of heating your home makes up about  60% of your energy bills, particularly in the winter months. 

If your boiler is barely functioning anymore, it may be time to start considering investing in a new, more efficient heating system for your home. There are copious benefits for you when choosing to do this, including having a warmer home, cheaper bills, and reducing your carbon footprint. 

There are even new laws that have been put in place regarding boiler efficiency, the cost of a highly efficient boiler isn’t much more than a standard one! 

A lot of people don’t know the ins and outs of boilers. To most, a boiler is just an ignored box in their home which they only pay attention to once it stops working or it’s time to schedule when the heating comes on. That’s why we’ve created this helpful guide to inform you of the important parts you need to know about your central heating system. 

How is boiler efficiency calculated? 

We all know we want an efficient boiler but how do we check whether or not our boilers are working efficiently? There are actually a few different ways you can check the efficiency of your boiler!

One of the easiest ways is to check its SEDBUK  (Seasonal Efficiency of a Domestic Boiler in the UK) rating, which is always displayed as a percentage – the higher the percentage, the better. From April 2018, all boilers that are installed in the UK must have an EPR rating of 92%.

More recently, boiler efficiency has also been measured by an ERP (energy-related product) rating. ERP ratings work by grading products on a scale from A to G – A being the best, G being the worst. Nowadays, most modern boilers are rated A, whereas you’ll find that your old, worn-out boiler will be more in the D-G territory

Shockingly, a third of boilers on the market fall below the 92% standard, so make sure you check a model’s efficiency rating before getting one fitted.

What are the most efficient types of boilers?

Before you begin with which brand to choose, the most important thing you should begin considering is what type of boiler you need. Some boilers work much more efficiently than others, which cuts carbon emissions. 

All modern boilers available on the market are condensing boilers, which work much more efficiently than non-condensing boilers.

In fact, if everyone with gas central heating installed a new condensing boiler, the UK would save over 13 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. This is the equivalent of the annual emissions of over 2 million homes!

The energy-saving trust reports that you could save as much as £340 a year on your gas bill if you’re trading in an old-style non-condensing boiler for a new condensing one.

To ensure you get the most efficient boiler, you need to make sure that you are installing the correct boiler for your home.

The three most efficient types of boilers are: 

  • Combination boilers: heats water as you need it and takes up less space as it doesn’t need a storage tank, making them ideal for providing heating and hot water to smaller homes.
  • Heat-only boiler: often known as a conventional boiler, a heat-only system means you will have a hot water tank or cylinder where hot water can be stored for later use. They’re ideal for larger properties, especially those that have large hot water requirements.
  • A system boiler: just like a heat-only boiler but more components are built-in, meaning they take up less space and you don’t need a tank of cold water in the loft.

Purchasing the wrong type of your boiler for your home is the shortcut to having a less efficient boiler and an energy bill that chills you to the core when you view it. 

Size matters

Once you settle on what type of boiler is suitable for your needs, the next key question you should consider is what size of boiler you need. The size of the boiler in the context of efficiency is its heat output, measured in kW.  

The higher the heat output of the boiler, the more energy it will be using when it’s switched on.  In most cases, larger homes with more radiators and more bathrooms will need a larger heat output than smaller ones.

Unsure of the size of boiler that’s suitable for your home or property? Never fear, we can assess and advise you on what you need at TNC Heating

Are there any other ways to increase the efficiency of my boiler? 

This is something we get asked a lot and the simple answer is, yes! 

Although you more than likely ignore your boiler a lot, they are quite needy things – requiring tender love and care. When treated well, in return they will repay you as a reliable heating element in your home. 

  • Wrap your boiler up

Boilers get cold too. Just as we sometimes need a jumper or coat to keep us warm, your boiler needs an extra layer of insulation to lock in its heat. 

This way, your boiler won’t have to work so hard, and you’ll save money heating your home. All you have to do is install simple, easy-fit foam tubes around the central heating pipes.

  • Keep it clean

Just like any other object in your home, your boiler will benefit from being kept clean. By cleaning your boiler, you’ll prevent the pipes from becoming clogged. Your boiler should not live in a cluttered and dirty environment, like yourself, it needs ventilation. 

  • Annual service

To keep your boiler healthy, it’s important to ensure you keep up to date with annual services. A professional will be able to spot issues before they arise, addressing them sooner means your boiler will last a lot longer and work more efficiently during its lifetime. 

Boiler efficiency: The Verdict

By ensuring you choose the right type of boiler, size, and care for it correctly, your boiler will reward you for as long as it can. Most boilers have a lifespan of 15 years. Keep you warm, energy bills low, and reducing your carbon footprint on this earth. 

Whether you choose from the range of combi boilers available or opt for a gas combi boiler, each boiler will work in its own unique way.

If you’re in need of more information, help and guidance on which boiler is right for you, don’t be afraid to contact us!

Gas Boiler Engineer

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