The central heating industry is one that seems to change by the year. One year it’s condensing boilers that are in fashion, the next it’s gravity fed systems. Unfortunately, as the industry can’t seem to make up its mind, it’s also very difficult for consumers to come to an informed decision.
Bearing this in mind, the rest of this article will take a look at two of the main types of central heating system to see what will work best for your home. As you’ll soon see, neither can be classed as being better than the other with the various benefits and drawbacks affecting different environments and homeowners.
Considering the fact that combi-boilers appear to be the most popular choice at the moment, we thought it would be apt to start the guide on these.
The main selling point to this system is that any hot water is supplied on demand, with the boiler receiving cold water directly from the mains before heating it when a tap or water appliance is activated. This means that no hot water is stored and the homeowner receives warm water immediately when they request it.
The previous paragraph has summarised the main benefits for these systems, with the instantaneous nature of them as well as the efficiency of not having to store hot water being the key points. As well as this, those homes which are short of space will not have to use a hot water tank, due to the fact that no water ever needs to be stored.
Unfortunately, there can be drawbacks and the main one surrounds the flow rates. Most boilers can only heat the water at a steady pace, meaning that you are never going to get hot water gushing out of the taps. Furthermore, if you happen to live in a large house with multiple bathrooms, there are question marks on whether or not they have the flow power to support multiple outlets. We should also add that while combination boilers are marketed as being able to supply instant hot water, you will normally have to wait a few moments once you turn the faucet. To try and avoid this wait and make the system more efficient, some people will install a domestic circulator pump, which is a milder version of the commercial circulator pumps which ease water circulation in closed circuits.
Gravity Fed System
The stark difference with the gravity fed system is that it utilises a hot water tank – meaning that immediately some people will spot a disadvantage. If we are going to stick to the drawbacks, there are also question marks regarding the water pressure through a gravity fed system as the taps are simply relying on the water flowing from a tank, usually situated in the loft, down to an appliance. Usually, this means that the appliances on the lower floors have much higher pressure than those that are situated near the top.
However, there are benefits. Some people will never move away from the gravity fed system as it is much safer than alternatives because it does not have any sort of pressure build up. Furthermore, even though there can be problems with water pressure, it is possible to fit home booster pumps which will prompt better flow rates.