Combi boilers are the most popular type of boiler in Britain – they’re affordable, economical to run, and they keep your home nice and warm in winter.
Despite the fact that prices for boilers have been falling in recent years, they are still a significant financial investment into your property and it’s always wise to do as much research so you can be sure you are getting the best combi boiler for your needs.
The cost of installing a boiler ranges from £1,765 to £8,060 and we want to show you the best way of heating your home on a budget under £2,250.
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In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at the advantages of combi boilers, the all-important features you need to know about boilers, the three best combi boilers in our opinion under £900 from three of the leading UK manufacturers, the extras you can select for your boiler installation, and where you can find the cheapest boiler installation package on the market.
Advantages of combi boilers
Combi boilers are the only boilers on the market which heat water directly which passes through it via the mains supply. That means there is no need for separate storage heaters or water tanks making them ideal space-wise for smaller homes and flats.
Combi boilers provide:
- unlimited, on-demand hot water.
- hot water delivered at mains pressure so no need for additional pumps for pressurising hot water.
- total protection from the risk of frozen pipework in the loft
Combi boiler features
The cheapest combi boilers on the market can cost as little as £615 with the most expensive one being available for over £6,000. There are hundreds of different combi boilers to choose from manufactured in the UK by seven different companies. As you’d expect, the bigger and more powerful your boiler, the more expensive it’s going to be.
But how do you measure a combi boiler’s capacity? How do you know how much hot water it can deliver to your taps and to your radiators? And in an age when we’re greener and more environmentally conscious before, how can you make the best decision for the planet from the boilers available on the market?
There are four main specifications pertaining to boilers which you can discuss with an installer to help you make your mind up about the right boiler for you and for your family and they are:
Boiler flow rate
Your boiler flow rate is a measurement of how much water your boiler can process every minute – flow rate is measured in litres. So, if you see a flow rate of 9.8 litres, that means that your boiler can process that volume of water every minute.
According to South Staffordshire Water, an average running tap uses 6 litres of water a minute. Therefore, if you had a 9.8 litre flow rate boiler, it would deliver 6 litres of water to a tap set a full pressure a minute. That means that, if there were two taps running in your home at once, the amount of water delivered to each tap would be less and you’d notice a drop in water pressure.
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Your boiler output and flow rate are closely linked – the flow rate measures the amount of water the boiler can transport to the tap and the output determines how much water it can heat up as the water is passing through the boiler.
The bigger your home, the larger the output should be on the boiler you select. When inspecting your home to come up with a quote for you, your installer will use the following rule of thumb when recommending the output rate you should choose:
- 24-27kW for small homes and flats with 1 bathroom and up to 10 radiators
- 28-34kW for larger semi-detached properties and small detached properties with 2 bathrooms and 13-17 radiators
- 35kW+ for larger detached homes with 2 or more bathrooms and more than 18 radiators.
Getting the output rate right is really important. If you choose a boiler whose output rate is too low, it will struggle to provide you with water at the temperature you require. However, if you choose a boiler whose output rate is too high, you’ll never want for hot water however the running costs of a larger boiler will eat into some or all of the expected savings you want to make on your energy bills.
If your home is particularly large, a combi boiler may be unsuitable for it and your installer may recommend that you select a conventional boiler instead.
Boiler energy efficiency
The higher a boiler’s energy efficiency level, the higher the proportion of energy it uses in doing what it’s supposed to do – heat up your radiators and deliver hot water to your taps. There are two different energy efficiency rates:
- the ERP rating ranking efficiency from A-G where A is the most efficient and
- a percentage showing the exact amount of energy used in the boiler’s core function during testing
The higher the energy efficiency, the cheaper your boiler is to run meaning that you will pay lower utility bills than you are now.
Finally, the dimensions of your boiler measured in centimetres. Are you planning in putting your combi boiler in the kitchen hidden behind a cupboard? Or were you planning to fit it under the stairs? Wherever you wish to put it, you need to make sure that it’s going to fit. Your installer will take precise measurement of the area you select the boiler for installation making sure that the boiler and any pipes that lead from it fit comfortably and attractively into that space.
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The best combi boiler brands and guide installation costs
The three best budget boilers selected by our panel for homeowners on a budget are:
|Boiler type||Dimensions||Max Flow (litres per min)||Max Output||EE
|Worcester Bosch Greenstar 24i Junior||71cm x 40cm x 33cm||9.8||24kw||A (90%+)||£765|
|Valliant ecoTEC Pro 24||72cm x 44cm x 33.5cm||9.4||24 kW||B (89.3%)||£885|
|Baxi EcoBlue+ Combi 24 Gas Boiler||70cm x 39cm x 29.5cm||9.8||24 kW||B (89.1%)||£885|
Bear in mind that the cost of the boiler is only one consideration – there are others too including:
|Quote part||Range of prices|
|Supply of one of the three boilers mentioned||£765-£885|
|Boiler install (labour charges)||£625-£800|
|Moving pipes (materials plus labour)||£175-£425|
|Mechanical flush (materials plus labour)||£375-£575|
You’ll need to budget to pay the installer and, subject to the surveys you have carried out, your installer may need to move some of your pipes. If your system is particularly old, your installer may recommend performing a full mechanical flush on your system prior to fitting your new boiler.
If you live in London or the South East of England, you should expect to pay 10-20% more for the labour charges than on the table shown above.
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Worcester Bosch Greenstar 24i
Britain’s most popular boiler manufacturer as measured in sales is Worcester Bosch and the stylish Greenstar 24i is very much aimed at the budget conscious homeowner who still demands the very best performance from their new system.
System features include:
- large boiler controls display
- user friendly controls to help you heat your home to your desired comfort levels
- reduced electricity use because it has a high efficiency pump fitted saving you money
- instantaneous hot water for heating or domestic use
- 5 year standard guarantee
- “A” rating for both heating and hot water
Valliant ecoTEC Pro 24
Combining ease of use and powerful, consistent output, the Valliant ecoTEC pro 24 also features:
- built-in frost control (two stage) for optimum all year round performance
- high efficiency heat exchanger (stainless steel) ensures fast delivery of hot water on demand
- 2% efficiency rating which makes it economical to run
- 2-year standard warranty (extendable when using a Valliant approved installer)
- high efficiency pump for lower running costs
Baxi EcoBlue+ Combi 24
This compact boiler with a high flow rate is a best seller in the EcoBlue+ range and it features:
- 7 years warranty available subject to terms and conditions.
- small footprint so ideal for installation in homes where space is at a premium.
- easy and quick to install ensuring short downtimes without heat.
- highly reliable boiler systems.
- 1% efficiency rating which makes it economical to run.
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Combi boiler extras
Ask your installer about extras you can purchase to further improve the performance of your budget combi boiler including:
- thermostats – they allow you to control the temperature in your home and in individual rooms
- programmers – allow you to switch on or off hot water and heating on different days at different times
- thermostatic radiator valves – alters the flow of hot water to an individual radiator offering further control over room temperatures
Where do I find the cheapest boiler installation package?
There are over one thousand firms in the UK whose staff are Gas Safe registered and have the expertise and experience to replace your boiler if you’re on a tight budget.
National firms do provide great service however many homeowners find that they pay a substantial premium if they choose one of them over choosing a local firm. Big national companies have much higher overheads and other financial commitments which they have to load into their prices to make a profit.
Fill in the form above to get three to four quotes from local boiler installers. There’s every chance that you could save even more money on your budget boiler installation by making potential fitters compete for your business. Our service is free and there’s no obligation on you to accept any of the quotes provided to you.
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And once you have your boiler, don’t forget about boiler cover.