How a combination boiler can save you money and space

November 12, 2014

Combination boilers have become popular in today's homes because they can save both money and space. A combination boiler heats water from the cold mains on demand, eliminating the need for a standard hot water storage tank, freeing up to 45-50 cm of floor space.

How a combination boiler can save you money and space

It can help save on energy costs

In many households, boilers account for about half of the energy bill. Replacing an old standard boiler with a new, high-efficiency combination boiler can potentially save hundreds of dollars per year. For example, replacing an old boiler that is less than 70 per cent efficient with a 90 per cent efficient boiler can save an estimated $150 to $500 per year, depending upon the type of residence. Even when an 80 per cent standard boiler is replaced by a modern combination boiler, savings will still accrue.

How a combination boiler works

A combination boiler heats water much like a standard boiler, except that it employs an additional heating circuit. Such a unit directly feeds water from the main water supply to a heat exchanger. A combination boiler can provide a virtually unlimited supply of hot water as long as the boiler is continually fired.

The heat exchanger is a key component in a combination boiler. It enhances the efficiency of the unit by extracting heat from the flue gases. This heat is used to pre-heat the water. When gas or oil combusts, approximately 8 per cent of the fuel's energy normally escapes via the water vapour that is released. A combination boiler employs a second circuit to capture much of the energy that is ordinarily lost with a standard boiler.

Water heating details

Combination boilers can heat water in approximately 40 seconds. However, the absence of a hot water storage tank means that hot water is not always available immediately. So-called "storage combis" address this by storing a modest amount of hot water so that it's available on demand. A knowledgeable contractor can assess your specific needs and make appropriate recommendations.

Consulting with a professional

If a retrofit is required, a professional heating and plumbing contractor may offer a no-obligation estimate that takes into consideration necessary changes in gas, water and venting systems. The costs of installing a new, energy-efficient combination boiler may be higher than the costs of installing a standard system; however, the absence of a tank eliminates some pipework and hastens the installation work. This helps to bring down the installation costs. Long-term energy savings make a combination boiler a cost-effective and environmentally wise choice.

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