Central Heating Systems

At SOS plumbing and heating, we will be more than glad to advise you on what system and what type of boiler best suits your needs, however if you are interested in doing a bit of research yourself here are some considerations to think about.

There are 3 different types of high-efficiency condensing boiler used in central heating systems: Combi, Regular and System. (see below)

Each type delivers all the benefits of high-efficiency technology, but which one you choose will depend on several factors, including your property, your lifestyle we will happy offer you advice on what system is best for your home. Here are some general considerations:

Consideration Most suitable boiler
You want to use your loft space for a room conversion or other purpose Combi
You live in a flat or bungalow (i.e. have very little or no roof space) Combi
Your home has more than 2 bathrooms Regular or System
Your main water pressure is low Regular or System
You want to replace an old boiler to improve an existing conventional central heating system Regular, System or Combi
There is a need to have hot water available on tap without waiting for it to heat up Combi

An example of a central heating and hot water system layout using a combi boiler

High efficiency condensing combi or combination boiler is an great space-saving idea, and an increasingly popular choice in UK central heating systems. In fact, combis now account for well over half of all the new domestic boilers installed in Britain every year.

The major benefit between a combi and any other type of boiler is that a combi eliminates the need to store hot water – so no need for a hot water cylinder in the airing cupboard.

It is both a high-efficiency water heater and central heating boiler, combined (hence the name) within one compact boiler unit which usually sits in a kitchen or utility room, or sometimes in the airing cupboard

(There are number of considerations when choosing where to sight your boiler again we will be more than happy to advise you on where is best) .

Having a combi boiler will result in saving space from the fact there is no hot water storage cylinder, cold water storage cistern or other familiar components of a regular (conventional) heating system.

Another major benefits of having a combi boiler installed are the significant saving on hot water costs, and the fact that hot water is delivered through your taps or shower at mains pressure.

So you can enjoy powerful showering* without the need for a pump. Another combi benefit is that it can generally save you money on installation time and costs, since no tank in the roof space means less pipe work and a shorter installation time.

*a thermostatically-controlled shower safeguards against sudden changes in water temperature.


An example of a central heating and hot water system layout using a regular boiler

If you are replacing an older model of boiler, the chances are that you will have a regular (conventional) boiler. A typical conventional system incorporates a boiler and extended controls, a feed and expansion cistern, and a hot water cylinder (usually in the airing cupboard) which is often fed by a cold water storage cistern located in the loft.

*a thermostatically-controlled shower safeguards against sudden changes in water temperature.


An example of a central heating and hot water system layout using a system boiler with a pressure hot water cylinder.

Unlike a combi, both a system boiler and a regular (conventional) boiler work on the principle of stored hot water – but a system boiler differs from a regular boiler in some important respects. Firstly, many of the major individual components of the heating and hot water system are built in, which means that installation is quicker, neater, easier and more efficient.

Secondly, the hot water is pumped from the boiler through the system to the radiators and hot water cylinder, resulting in a fast response and more economical running costs. The system boiler removes the need for a feed and expansion cistern which again is neater and saves on installation costs.


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