When people talk about boilers these days, they will sometimes slip into talking about ‘old style’ and ‘new style’ options. What they mean by that is the contrast between gas ‘heat-only’ boilers, which are also often referred to as conventional boilers, and combination or ‘combi’ boilers.


As with so many comparisons between older and newer technologies, conversations comparing the two often revolve around explaining why the later version is better and outlining the reasons to upgrade. And certainly, combi boilers do have some distinct advantages which have seen them become the default for the majority of new boiler installations these days.



But especially if you have an older, larger property with an old central heating system, or a large household with high demand for hot water, the decision to opt for a combi is not always as automatic as it might seem. It certainly pays to understand the different pros and cons the different types offer so you can understand exactly which represents the right choice for you.

Gas Boiler v Combi Boiler - Hot debate

The key arguments for having a combi boiler over a conventional boiler are that they are easier and cheaper to install and more efficient to run. Combi boilers get their name because they combine central heating and hot water supply in one single, convenient unit. They are connected directly to the water supply and heat up water on demand whether a hot tap or the central heating is turned on.


By comparison, the oldest type of ‘heat only’ boilers are pretty convoluted and complex. They have a hot water cylinder for heating water up, but because that isn’t connected directly to the mains, you also need cold water storage and an expansion tank somewhere. That takes up a lot of space (forget about that lift conversion), plus you have to wait for the hot tank to warm up before you get any hot water. Once it’s gone, you have to wait all over again.


For most people, instant hot water and the lower bills that come with a more efficient system are enough to convince them of the merits of a combi. But they do have some downsides, one being their reliance on mains water pressure. If your property is some distance from the mains grid, you may be sadly disappointed by the weak flow you get out of your hot water taps or shower. Or, if you have lots of people in your household all trying to use hot water at once, you can run into the same problem.


In these situations, a nice big tank of hot water is an advantage - as long as you plan ahead, there is plenty to share around and at a satisfyingly strong pressure, too. Another consideration is if you have a big old house, the expense of reworking all the plumbing to suit a combi boiler might cancel out any cost benefits.


There is also a more up-to-date version of the classic gas boiler that will give you the benefits of a large tank while saving some space. A so-called system boiler still has the hot water cylinder but doesn’t need an expansion tank, with an expansion vessel and circulation pump fitted in the main boiler instead.


Whichever type of boiler you choose, it makes sense to protect yourself against faults and potential repair costs as winter approaches. Get an instant quote from us today.

*The information in this blog is designed to provide helpful information on the subjects discussed. Please seek a professional for expert advice as we can not be held responsible for any damages or negative consequences upon following this information.

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