August 22, 2023

TBIS

Modern Boiler Systems in the UK: An In-Depth Overview of Installation, Efficiency, and Future Trends

Boilers are a critical component of the UK’s domestic infrastructure, responsible for providing heat to millions of homes, especially during the winter months, and supplying hot water throughout the year. Currently, gas boilers and oil boilers are a common feature of UK households due to their efficiency and cost-effectiveness. However, the face of domestic heating is beginning to change due to increasing environmental considerations and emerging technologies.

Types of Boilers in the UK

The UK market features a broad range of boilers, each with its unique strengths.

Combi boilers, the most popular type of boiler mostly used in UK small to medium sized homes, combines heating and hot water within one compact unit, eliminating the need for a separate hot water tank.

Conventional/regular boilers are also another common type of boiler in UK household. Mainly installed in medium/large properties together with a hot water cylinder. With a conventional boiler, you will have a feed and expansion tank in your loft to fill your radiators and boiler water. If you have a conventional/regular boiler you have the option of either having an indirect hot water cylinder or an unvented pressurised cylinder. If you have an indirect hot water cylinder you will have a 2nd tank in your loft which is your cold storage tank.

System boilers is another type of a regular boiler however has some differences for example, a system boiler will have an integral central heating pump and pressure vessel which means you don’t have a feed and expansion tank in the loft to fill your radiators and boiler up with water. Having a system boiler means your heating system is filled up with mains pressure via a filling loop. System boilers requires some sort of hot water cylinder which can either be an indirect gravity fed cylinder which is fed by a cold storage tank in the loft or an unvented hot water cylinder that is filled directly via the mains and does not require a cold storage tank in the loft.

Boiler Manufacturers and Brands in the UK

The UK boiler market boasts a range of established manufacturers and below we cover Which? Best Buy rated boiler manufacturers:

Worcester Bosch is a highly-reputed brand renowned for its quality and reliability offering both gas and oil boilers. Their gas boiler range includes the very popular Worcester Greenstar boilers, Worcester 8000 LIFE boilers and Worcester 8000 style boilers.

Worcester Bosch oil boiler range includes Worcester Heatslave II combination boiler, Worcester Danesmoor Utility conventional boiler and Worcester Danesmoor System boiler.

As we are Worcester Bosch Accredited Installers all customers who have their new boiler installed by us qualify for an extended free of charge guarantee up to 12 years.

Vaillant stands out for its green credentials and quiet mark, offering an array of energy-efficient gas boilers. The Vaillant catalogue of boilers includes Vaillant Ecofit Pure, Vaillant EcoTec Plus and Vaillant Ecotec Pro. All these boilers come in a combination boiler model, conventional model and system boiler model.

We are hand selected Vaillant accredited installers which means you will receive up to 10 years guarantee free of charge on your new boiler.

 Grant boilers has been a household name for many years, lauded for its user-friendly designs offering oil boilers with a 10-year guarantee. The most popular Grant boiler models are the Grant Vortex and Grant Pro oil boilers which come in either an external or internal model.

The Role of Boiler Efficiency

The efficiency of a boiler is paramount when considering a new installation. It determines the proportion of fuel input that is transformed into useful heat, directly influencing running costs and environmental impact. Various factors influence a boiler’s efficiency, including its design, the type of fuel it uses, and how well it’s maintained. The UK employs efficiency rating systems, such as the ErP Directive’s A+++ to G scale, to help consumers make informed choices. Opting for a highly efficient boiler can lead to substantial energy savings and reduced carbon emissions.

Boiler Installation and Maintenance

Boiler installation is a skilled process, requiring professional knowledge and adherence to safety regulations. Certified heating engineers should undertake this task to ensure safe and efficient operation. Once installed, regular maintenance is vital to keep the boiler functioning optimally, prolong its lifespan, and prevent costly repairs. Common problems such as leaks, unusual noises, or pressure fluctuations need immediate attention to prevent more serious damage or breakdowns. Installers installing gas boilers should be Gas Safe registered and installers installing oil boilers should be OFTEC qualified. Here at The Boiler Installation Specialists we are proud to be qualified both with Gas Safe and Oftec offering all our customers peace of mind.

Legal Requirements and Regulations

The UK enforces strict regulations concerning boiler installations. The Boiler Plus Scheme, implemented in April 2018, dictates that all new gas boilers installed in England must be high-efficiency condensing boilers, and additional energy-saving measures must also be installed. Moreover, safety is paramount: all engineers installing or repairing boilers must be on the Gas Safe Register to ensure they meet the necessary standards. As boilers can produce carbon monoxide, a dangerous gas, every home with a boiler should also have a working carbon monoxide detector as a safety measure.

The Future of Hydrogen Boilers in the UK

As part of the broader effort to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, the UK is witnessing the rise of hydrogen boilers as a potential game-changer in home heating. Functionally like traditional gas boilers, these innovative systems use hydrogen as a fuel. Both Worcester Bosch and Vaillant boilers have produced hydrogen ready boilers which are able to run with a 25% mix of hydrogen. The long-term plan is hopefully to phase in hydrogen slowly using our current infrastructure and the natural gas/hydrogen ready boilers which we will be installing more and more of as time goes on. However right now there is no panic to stop buying natural boilers as they are still being produced and installed and there is no ban for existing homes to have them.

Why Hydrogen for our boilers? The combustion of hydrogen produces only water vapour, establishing hydrogen boilers as an incredibly environmentally friendly alternative. Furthermore, the transition to hydrogen boilers could capitalise on the existing infrastructure currently set up for gas heating, offering a potentially smooth and efficient changeover. Although other emerging technologies such as air and ground source heat pumps and solar thermal systems are garnering attention, hydrogen boilers stand out for their immediate potential to significantly reduce carbon emissions. The advent of hydrogen boilers heralds an exciting era of sustainable domestic heating solutions in the UK.

Conclusion

The boiler landscape in the UK is poised for significant evolution, driven by a combination of environmental responsibilities, governmental directives, and technological advancements. The focus is to produce a greener, more sustainable and efficient heating solution for both for gas and oil boilers however we are not fully there yet. There is a lot to consider before these new solutions are rolled out into existing homes. We also must be able to produce these greener fuels in a green way but also enough of it to serve the whole of UK. Our infrastructure should also be able to deliver the new greener fuel to existing homes so there is a lot that must be in place before a changeover.  Here at The Boiler Installation Specialists you can trust that we always stay informed about these changes, as they will shape the future of domestic heating in the UK.

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