Choosing an Oil Boiler

  • Sarah Evans
  • 4 years ago

Despite the rise in availability of mains gas and other energy options over recent years, oil remains one of the most popular fuels for domestic heating. Your boiler is one of those appliances that you only ever think about when it goes wrong – which it usually chooses to do at the most inconvenient moment, typically at 10PM on Christmas eve.

So, with summer approaching, now is the ideal time to think about whether your boiler could do with an upgrade, and to take time to shop around while the weather is warm.

There are three types of boiler available, known as combi, system or conventional boilers. Let’s take a look at each, to help you decide on the perfect new boiler, so that you can get it installed, top up your home heating oil and sit smug in the knowledge that you will be all ready for whatever winter throws at you!

Combi boilers

Combination boilers used to be a speciality for gas powered systems, but there are now an increasing number of oil fuelled combi boilers on the market. This option provides a very efficient and compact unit that heats your water and power’s your central heating system all in one.

It heats the water directly from the mains supply as and when you need it, meaning no cumbersome water tanks in your loft space.

Heating water as needed rather than heating it up and then storing it in a tank means better energy efficiency, as well as hot water being delivered at mains pressure.

Compact, energy efficient and great water pressure. So, what is the catch? Well, delivery at mains pressure could be a double-edged sword if your mains pressure is not so good, and it will certainly not be enough for a power shower. Also, while a combi boiler is great for a smaller home, it might struggle to meet the demands of a larger one, particularly if you are likely to be running hot water from more than one tap at the same time.

System boilers

System boilers are more akin to conventional systems in that they still use a hot water cylinder for storage. However, there is no need for a tank in the loft, so they present some space saving aspects.  Most of the key heating components are built into the boiler itself, meaning quicker and easier installation, and a neater overall system.

These are a perfect choice in a larger home, where there are multiple bathrooms, as you can be sure of an uninterrupted supply of as much hot water as you need. Of course, the downside of having all the components built in is that when it comes to accessing or replacing them, it can mean taking the whole boiler apart.

Conventional boilers

Also, known as “heat only” boilers, these are ideal if you have an existing system in place and want to minimise upheaval. This is the type that needs a cold-water tank in your roof space to feed the hot water cylinder, and a tank to maintain the overall water level in your central heating system.

While less efficient in terms of space and energy, this could still be the best option if you have an ageing radiator system, in which the higher water pressure of a combi or system boiler could create a whole list of problems of its own.