How do I reduce my heating bills?

  • One of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce your heating bills is to make sure that your supplier is giving you the best deal and if not change supplier.
  • Upgrading your insulation especially in lofts and roofs is a very effective way to conserve heat.
  • If your boiler is an older non condensing model then replacing it with a modern condensing boiler could save up to 30% on your heating bill.
  • Check that your heating controls are turning the heating on at the right time and off when it is not required. The use of thermostatic radiator valves, time switches, and other controls can achieve this.
  • Have your boiler serviced regularly to ensure it is running efficiently.

What type of boiler do I need?

Whichever new boiler you have fitted, it will have to be a condensing boiler to comply with current building regulation. If you have a combi then you are very likely to replace it with another combi. If you have a regular or system boiler then will probably replace with a regular or system boiler. If space is an issue, you may opt to replace a system or regular boiler with a combi boiler which allows the hot water cylinder and storage tanks to be removed. Care must be taken however to ensure that there is sufficient water flow rate and mains pressure available to run a combination boiler.

What is a Condensing boiler?

New condensing boilers can be up to 92% efficient compared to a typical 70% efficiency for non-condensing boilers. This is achieved by a highly effective heat exchanger which captures otherwise wasted heat and re-uses it. Simply put condensing boilers convert more gas into useable heat, giving higher efficiencies, reduced running costs and lower CO2 emissions (greenhouse gasses). Typically condensing boilers are capable of reducing central heating bills by up to 30%. All new boilers fitted must be condensing boilers.

How can I tell whether I have a condensing boiler?

Looking at the boiler flue from outside your home a condensing boiler will have a plastic internal element to the flue instead of an all metal flue and will produce white plume puffs especially in colder weather. Condensing boilers need a plastic flue as the flue gases are mildly acidic and therefore need to be specifically managed.

What is a Combi boiler?

Combi boilers heat hot water immediately on demand for taps and baths etc as it flows through the boiler and are used in flats or small houses because they don’t require storage tanks or hot water cylinders.

What is a Regular boiler?

A regular boiler is also known as a traditional or conventional boiler and consists of boiler plus separated parts such as controls and a pump. Also you will have a how water cylinder usually located in an airing cupboard, and a water supply tank often located in a loft space.

How can I tell if my boiler is a combination boiler?

A combi boiler will have five copper pipes (two for heating, two for hot water and one for gas) coming out of it instead of three (two heating and one for gas) as in other boilers. If you have 3 pipes coming from the boiler and have a hot water cylinder and storage tanks you then have a regular boiler or system boiler.

What is a System boiler?

A System boiler is similar to a regular boiler but with an important difference, the boiler contains an expansion vessel which means a feed and expansion tank is not required in the loft, saving space. It also means that the heating system is pressurized which enhances efficiency and reduces internal system corrosion.

How can I tell how old my boiler is?

If your have your manual it will normally have a year of manufacturer on it. Otherwise there is a tag inside the boiler called a data tag, it will have the GC. No. or serial number and you can find out how old your appliance is from the manufacturer, often through their website. When you have the boiler serviced, you can check both the age and the efficiency with the gas safe registered heating engineer.

What size boiler will I need?

Boilers should be capable of providing heat for the number of radiators in the house, and the size of the property – over sizing only adds to unnecessary capital costs. The size of boiler will depend on the size of your home, insulation of the home and the type of heating system you have. For combi boilers, the level of hot water requirement is the main factor and the water flow rates into the system need to be measured. Heating and hot water demand should always be assessed before any installation.

Where should the condensate drain of a condensing boiler be positioned?

Suitable drain points include an internal stack pipe, a waste pipe, an external drain or gully or a purpose made soak away. Internal drain points are preferable as less likely to become blocked by leaves or frozen condensate. Latest updates now say that an exterior condensate pipe should be in plastic and have a minimum diameter of 38mm and be protected from freezing with insulation.

How often should I service my boiler?

A boiler should be serviced once a year by a gas safe registered competent person. We recommend that you check with the manufacturer how often your particular boiler needs servicing, as some may need servicing more regularly than others.

What is a Power flush and do I need one?

When the boiler is replaced, it is important to make sure that the system is cleaned and treated. A power flush is a cleansing process which aims to remove deposits of sludge, rust and debris from your central heating system, radiators and pipe work. These contaminants, if left, can seriously affect the efficiency of a heating system. In severe cases a power flush is the only option available to remove deposits in pipe work, valves and radiators which may be preventing radiators from heating up. A heating engineer connects a powerful high flow/low pressure pumping unit to the central heating system and with the addition of high strength cleansing chemicals will flush the system of debris.


What is a thermostatic radiator valve (TRV) and how does it work?

A thermostatic radiator valve (TRV) controls the temperature of a room by determining the flow of hot water to a radiator. Fitted to radiators on an individual basis, the valves allow you to vary temperature according to room. When a room drops below a specified temperature. The valve is triggered allowing warm water to flow into the radiator. When the room has reached the desired temperature, the valve will close. Setting a TRV to a 3 setting for instance will give a room temperature of about 20°C and the heating will only come on if the temperature drops below this.

I’m not getting consistent heat from my radiators. What can I do?

If there are patches of radiators that are hotter or cooler than others, there are things that you can do with minimal interference to the existing system. Bleeding the radiators which you can do yourself to remove any air in the top of the radiators is the first step. Also it is often the case that larger heating systems require a rebalancing of the flow rates to the different radiators. This insures that radiators located further from the boiler receive sufficient heating flow rates. Sometimes a weak pumb will need to be replaced. This needs to be done by a heating engineer and will improve efficiencies in condensing boilers. If these steps do not work then a chemical power flush of the system will probably be required.

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