Hot Water and Heating - Understanding your system

Hot water, Central Heating 


Get to know your system

In the UK, most of your money spent on fuel bills goes towards providing heating and hot water. As fuel costs rise, having an energy efficient heating system is vital, and it’s one of the main steps you can take to reducing your carbon dioxide emissions.

It’s important to understand your current heating system. Nearly all homes in the UK have either a central heating system – a boiler and radiators - or they use electric storage heaters. Some homes will also make use of individual heaters that are not part of the main central heating system. 

Also heat loss is a massive factor, imagine if you have a radiator in your garden shed it wont heat much space because of the amount of holes and gaps, also most garden sheds do not have any insulation, this means you would be trying to heat nothing and wasted energy will be going into thin air,  the same goes for your home, a good place to start would be cavity filled insulation and loft space insulation, maybe think about this now in the summer period to get done, also having double glazed windows will save on heat loss.   

If you would like a quote for a survey please contact us here

"What is central heating?" 

Central heating was first used by the ancient greeks through hot air ducts and even underfloor heating, modern central systems started to be used between the 18th and 19th century using warm air heating, steam, and now the most common in the uk is hot water central heating, which consists of a minimum one heat source (the boiler) which is connected to a series of space heaters (radiators) via a pumped hot water system, the water is then pumped around a continuous circuit through your boiler to reheat the water and then heat your radiators, and hotwater.   

If you have a central heating system, you may consider these energy-saving improvements: 

  • Replace your boiler with a newer, more efficient model. 
  • Fitting smart controllers which have weather compensation capabilities (click here for more info). 
  • Switch to Renewable energy or lower carbon fuel technology.  
  • Make any insulation and draught-proofing (for heat loss) improvements that you can, (see above)

"What type of boiler do I have?" 

Since 2005 most of all gas boilers that have been fitted in the UK are more efficient, condensing boilers. Condensing boilers (without boring you all to death) Pre-mix the air to gas ratio to get the most efficient perfect flame cutting down on the amount of excess air within the boiler, also the flue gasses are a lot cooler than older boilers making them turn to condensation. Your boiler will be a condensing boiler if the following points are true: 

  • The flue is made of plastic. (some earlier models did have metal flues i.e Ideal icos). 
  • The boiler has a plastic pipe coming out of the bottom, through the wall and into a drain. 
  • A gas boiler installed after 2005.
  • An oil boiler installed after 2007. 


Combi or Regular boiler?

Combi boilers  - A combi (or combination) NOT to be confused with condensing boiler, provides hot water instantaneously, whenever it is required, and does not need a hot water cylinder or cold water storage cistern in loft. Gas, oil and LPG boilers may be combination.

Regular boilers -  A regular boiler provides hot water when the programmer tells it to, and then stores it in a hot water cylinder until it is needed. 

A regular boiler is more efficient than a Combi at producing hot water, but some heat is inevitably lost from the hot water cylinder, so a Combi may be more efficient overall. 

Remember all gas appliances must be Installed, serviced or repaired by a GasSafe Registered engineer, all gas appliances must be serviced every 12 months

Check us out on the Gas Safe Register here

If you have any more questions at all or need a quote to install, repair or service your central heating or hot water boiler please contact us here