Friday, 30 October 2015

Buying a boiler: APHC's top tips!

A boiler is the main component of a central heating system. They come in many shapes and sizes, with different fuel types, energy ratings and delivering various amounts of heat energy. With so many things to consider, choosing a new boiler can be confusing. To help out, we've made a list of the most important things to bare in mind if you've decided the time's come to replace your boiler this winter:

Boiler size

The amount of heat energy a boiler is required to deliver through the home is based on a series of calculations carried out by an experienced and qualified plumber. It will be determined by the size of the property, the building construction, building materials and how the boiler will be used.

Type of fuel

There are a wide range of boilers that burn a range of fuel types. Below is the list of the most common types:

  • Natural Gas - Burns methane from gas mains in most towns and cities.
  • LPG - Burns liquid petroleum gas, normally propane or butane.
  • Oil type C2 - Burns kerosene which is the same as jet fuel.
  • Oil type D - Burns "gas oil" and is mainly used in oil Agas.
  • Solid mineral fuel - Burns wood logs, pellets or chippings.
  • Electric - Works like a kitchen kettle but on a much bigger scale.
Types of boiler
  • Conventional boiler - This boiler is the most basic type, it just burns fuel to make heat for central heating or hot water.
  • System boiler - This boiler provides central heating and hot water, provided by a hot water cylinder.
  • Condensing -This boiler uses the heat in the flue gases given off when the fuel is burnt to provide a ‘pre-heat’ for the hot water, saving energy costs by using less fuel. When a gas or oil boiler is being considered to be compliant with the law is must usually be of the condensing type.
  • Combination boiler - This boiler provides central heating and instant hot water.
ErP rating

The Energy related Products Directive (ErP) has been introduced to help countries in the EU reduce the energy they use by 20%, reduce emissions by 20% and increase the share of energy generated by renewables by 20% by 2020. From September 2015, boilers and heating products began to be labelled in the same way fridges and freezers are, so you can easily see how energy efficient they are.

The ErP is made up of two directives, Ecodesign and Energy Labelling:

  • Ecodesign - This ensures that manufacturers are meeting minimum energy performance and environmental standards. High efficiency boilers will be band A, whereas older, non-condensing boilers could be as low as Band G, and therefore not be compliant with ErP regulations.
  • Energy Labelling - Energy labels will be included on every energy-related product, including boilers. The energy label will show you:
1) Energy rating and environmental performance of the product.
2) The most efficient way to use the product.

Finding an installer

For gas and LPG boilers, the installer must be Gas Safe registered. For oil boilers we would recommend that you use OFTEC registered installers. A list of quality installers in your area can be found at

As well as keeping you warm, the right boiler can also help you to keep emissions low whilst saving money on your heating bills, so be sure to choose carefully when buying yours this winter!

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