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Regular boilers

A regular boiler (also known as a conventional or heat only boiler) is found in a traditional UK heating system. If you have a large tank of water in the loft and a hot water cylinder in an airing cupboard, you have a regular boiler.

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What is a Heat Only (Regular) boiler?

Regular boilers are the oldest type of boiler around, which is why they are also known as traditional or conventional boilers. Another name for them is heat only boilers, because they will produce hot water for a central heating system, but not domestic use, i.e. taps, baths or showers.

A regular boiler is fed cold water from a large tank of water which is stored in the attic and also requires a hot water storage cylinder to be able to provide hot water for daily use.

In the past, regular boilers would be installed into your home as standard, but now there are more popular options such as a system or a combi boiler. However, in some homes, a regular boiler is still an effective heating system.

How does a Heat Only (Regular) boiler work?

A regular boiler needs a large tank of cold water (which is usually installed in an attic) to supply it with cold water from the mains. To provide heating, cold water from the tank in the loft feeds down to the boiler with a helping hand from gravity. The tank needs to be as high above the boiler as possible to increase the pressure of the water in your system.

When the boiler ignites, a heat exchanger warms up the water. The heated water is then pumped to a hot water storage cylinder (which is usually in an airing cupboard) where it is stored until you turn on your heating, a shower or a tap.

What’s the difference between a Heat Only (Regular) boiler and a System boiler?

A regular boiler and a system boiler are very similar in that both rely on a hot water storage cylinder to keep a store of hot water ready for your radiators and taps. The key difference, however, is that while a regular boiler is supplied with cold water via a feed tank in the attic, a system boiler takes its water supply directly from the mains. This means that you should have stronger water pressure and that you do not need to have a large tank of cold water in your attic.

What’s the difference between a Heat Only (Regular) boiler and a Combination boiler?

A combi or combination boiler is a more modern system and the most commonly installed type of boiler in the UK today. A combi boiler is an all-in-one unit which does not need a feed tank in the attic or a hot water cylinder in an airing cupboard. The combi takes its cold water supply directly from the mains and heats it on demand. This means that there is no store of hot water, however, so they are generally only recommended for small to medium sized homes.

Should you change your Heat Only (Regular) Boiler for a System or Combination boiler?

Converting from a regular boiler to a system or combi boiler will require a more complex installation and will therefore be more expensive, but if you are carrying out an extensive refurbishment on your home anyway, it may be the perfect time to update the heating system.

Here are some situations when a combi or system boiler might be the best choice.

·       If you have a small home and are looking to free up some space, then swapping your regular boiler for a combi boiler is a great idea as you will be able to get rid of the tank in the attic and the cylinder in your airing cupboard. You will have hot water on demand which is often much more convenient and cheaper than having to heat a store of hot water.
 ·       If you have a larger home, e.g. a 3-4 bedroom home with multiple bathrooms, then swapping your regular boiler for a system boiler could be the best choice. You will be able to get rid of the tank in the attic but will still have the higher volume of hot water.
 ·       If you live in an area with strong mains water pressure, swapping from a regular to either a system or a combi boiler will improve your water pressure.

However, it may be best to stick with a regular boiler system, but to upgrade to a more efficient model. For example, if you have an older property, the pipework may not be able to cope with the stronger water pressure a combi or system will deliver.

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