Pros and cons of combination boilers

Boilers are the leading appliances for providing domestic central heating and hot water in U.K.There are different types of boilers available for residential needs. The most common types are combination boilers, system boilers and conventional boilers. However, choosing a boiler with condensing technology is highly recommended. Condensing means, the boiler generates more heat from the amount of oil or gas that is burnt, which is more efficient than a non-condensing boiler. Boilers can be wall-hung or floor-standing.

About Combination Boilers

Combination boilers, otherwise known as combis, provide central heating and instant hot water directly from the mains. They’re compact units easily available in the market. They do not need a separate water storage cylinder or an overhead water tank. As they come as a single unit and take little space, they are ideal for smaller homes. The Combi boilers are extremely easy to install and require less pipework. They are best energy savers as they heat up water instantly. They provide hot water on demand.

Advantages of combi boilers

Compact

The combi boilers are very compact and use very little space which makes it ideal for smaller homes.

Utility

They supply unlimited hot water instantly from the mains as and when needed. There is no need to wait for the water to warm up.

Efficient

The Combination boilers are highly efficient when compared to other conventional boilers as it saves energy and cost.

Economical

Combi boiler installations are generally cheaper and they are less complex without involving much pipework. This helps in reducing the initial cost.

Easy Maintenance

They involve very little maintenance as they don’t need a separate water storage unit or a water tank.

Disadvantages of combi boilers

Power Showers

The combination boilers are highly dependent on mains pressure and may not support power showers.

No backup

The immersion water heater cannot be used as there is no storage space. Hence, no backup option available in case of any breakdown or faults.

Functional limitations

Combi boilers are not ideal for larger home as they cannot supply water to multiple outlets at a time. The pressure will be comparatively low in case if the water is used in multiple outlets.

The functional efficiency is affected when the pressure is low at the main itself. So, it is essential to investigate the pressure levels of the mains before installing Combi Boilers.

Combi boilers are dual functional appliances that not only provide you with central heating but also on-demand hot water. Combi boilers are an incredibly popular choice for homeowners in European countries nowadays and this is largely due to below-mentioned facts:

  • Cheaper than other types of boilers.
  • Space saving and compact.
  • Economical and perfect fit for small houses with a smaller amount of water usage.
  • Easy installation set up.
  • They are the most efficient energy savers compared to other types of boilers.

Does your boiler need a magnetite filter?

Modern condensation boilers are strongly built and last a lifetime with proper maintenance and care. These are boilers are extremely expensive and also cost a lot for installation. The boiler will develop problems as it ages. There are many problems associated with the boiler and one common problem is sludge and debris formation. This is a problem which is closely associated with the feed water supply rather than the boiler itself.

The water that is fed to the boiler might contain metallic impurities which are distributed to various parts of the boiler and the central heating system. The sludge and debris are deposited in various parts like heat exchanger, pipes, radiator, etc. Over a prolonged period, the sludge accumulation becomes heavy and impacts the performance of the boiler. If left untreated for a longer period, sludge formation can cause irreversible damage to the boiler and radiator. One can remove the sludge and debris from the radiators by the process of power flushing but it is not easy to remove them from other parts. The best solution is to prevent sludge and debris formation in the first place.

Prevention

Debris is formed mainly due to the metallic impurities in the feed water. Debris formation can be prevented when clean water is supplied to the boiler. Using a TDS meter, check the quality of feed water once in 2 weeks. If the quality drops below the required level, then the water needs to be treated. Though water treatment can reduce the impurities it is a time-consuming process which has to be carried out each month. A more permanent solution is a magnetite filter.

Magnetite Filtration unit

Magnetite filter is an external unit which can be connected with the exiting boiler. When installed properly it will attract the metallic impurities from the feed water and remove them. With a magnetite filter, all the impurities are removed from the feed water even before it is fed to the boiler. This will ensure clean and high-quality water is fed to the boiler always. A magnetic filter is an optional unit which is recommended only for those houses which have water with high TDS content. Thought installing a magnetite filtration unit will cost extra, it will prevent future repairs which could be far more expensive. Overall a magnetic filter improves the performance of the boiler and also increases its lifetime.

A magnetic filter can only filter out the iron and steel based impurities. If your feed water contains other metallic impurities like zinc, copper, aluminum, etc then you can purchase advanced filters available in the market.

The boiler engineer at the time of installing the boiler will examine the quality of feed water and recommend a magnetite filter accordingly. If the TDS test shows high-level metallic impurities, then it is sensible to invest in a magnetite filter at the time of installing the boiler. Presence of a magnetite filtration unit also extends the warranty of the boiler.

How to prevent boiler explosions

Industrial boilers can turn into a bomb and explode if not maintained properly. History has witnessed many boiler explosions that have killed human lives and caused huge financial damage. The explosion is not the only threat posed by an industrial boiler as there are numerous health hazards associated with it. Secure handling and regular maintenance are crucial to prevent the steam boiler turning into a bomb. Let us look at various safety measures and maintenance that will safeguard boilers.

Causes

Boilers can explode anytime for a variety of reasons and most common among them are the failure of the safety valve and corrosion. Corrosion is a chemical reaction which happens over time if not maintained properly. Care should be taken to ensure corrosion never happens. Corrosion not only leads to the explosion but also leaks. Safety valve can fail anytime and one should monitor the condition of the safety valve once a week to ensure safety. Boiler accidents can be avoided 95% of the times with the following safety precautions.

  • Before starting the boiler, hydraulic should be done at a predefined pressure level. This will largely reduce the risks.
  • Ensure that the pump inlets are opened before starting the boiler
  • It is quite common for ash to be accumulated in the furnace or other parts of the boiler. When ash is accumulated for a prolonged period of time, it leads to boiler failure. Install an automatic ash removal module to prevent ash accumulation.
  • Pumps should be primed before starting the boiler.
  • All the connections should be checked before starting the boiler. Any loose or faulty connections should be fixed immediately.
  • Industrial boilers should be operated only by trained and experienced boiler operator.
  • Each and every boiler is designed to operate at a certain pressure level. Never operate the boiler above the set pressure level or else it could lead to a disaster.
  • The feed water to the boiler should be clean and clear from dust particles. To remove dust particles from the feed water install a stainer. This will keep the feedwater clean and prevent blockage. Water treatment is mandatory to prevent sludge formation.
  • Boiler and all its components including the connections should be inspected at regular intervals to ensure the safe and smooth functioning of the boiler.
  • Boiler vents should be kept clean and remove any clutter near it so that proper ventilation is provided.
  • Leakage in a boiler is a serious workplace hazard. Always check for gas, water and steam leaks in a boiler. Whenever you detect a leak, it should be fixed with immediate effect.
  • Insulation of the hot parts in a boiler is mandatory. Never touch the boiler with bare hands as it might lead to burns or severe injuries.
  • The panel of the boiler should be kept away from the boiler in a cool and clean environment.
  • Greasing the moving parts of the boiler frequently will reduce system failure. This will also increase the lifetime of the boiler. Regular maintenance of both the FD and ID fan should be carried out.
  • Never increase the frequency of the drive by more than 50 Hz or else it could lead to motor failure.

Why your boiler room needs expert service – part 1

The boiler room and its contents represent a huge investment for any business which needs to be protected. A well-maintained boiler room is critical for business continuity and any disruptions in the boiler can lead to a huge operational loss. These are just a couple reasons why your boiler room requires high-quality service. In addition to the business loss there are many reasons why expert service is required and let us look at them in detail below.

Safety

We cannot stress the importance of industrial safety for the boiler rooms. Considering the contents of the boiler rooms, it is easily one of the most hazardous places in the industry. A boiler makes use of air and fuel to create a fire that will be distributed via heat exchangers. This has to be done in a controlled environment with proper ratios. If there is a small problem with the safety layers or protocol it might lead to huge fire accidents causing both human lives and money. In addition to fire accidents, there is also the threat of carbon monoxide gas poisoning when the boiler becomes faulty. To prevent such accidents and ensure the safety of your employees, it is important to hire high-quality boiler service companies. These companies will test each and every safety measure present in the boiler room and document any deficiencies. These deficiencies will then be fixed to ensure a high standard of safety is maintained. There is a 50 point checklist which will keep your boiler room safe and secure all t
he time. All the safety concerns in the boiler room should be addressed with high priority and work should be suspended until then.

Increase efficiency

The contents of the boiler room are an expensive investment but the cost of fuel required per year is more. The operational cost of a boiler is huge for any company and it depends on the number of hours used. Boiler tune up services will increase the operating efficiency of the boilers. Even if the energy consumption is reduced by 2% per year, it will be huge savings for the business. In addition to saving you cost by boiler tune-up service, these reputed companies will carry out an audit of the boiler room and recommended optimization measures. These measures if implemented properly, will result in ongoing savings and reduced expenses. Some of the things included in the recommendations are to plant load, boiler size, operating pressure, fuel cost, operating hours, etc. The recommendation will also include a possible return on investment of these measures. Though a one-time cost is involved in implementing these measures, it will pay back itself within a few months.

Prevention is better than cure

When you hire a reputed agency to take care of your boiler room, they will ensure problems are prevented. Contents of the boiler room like a boiler, burners, etc are expensive to fix. Most of the boiler problems can be fixed at a reasonable cost if the problems are detected early. Experienced engineers will always monitor your boiler and its accessories to find problems before they happen. When problems are spotted early it will prevent any complex problems that require an expensive and time-consuming fix.

Do you need boiler cover?

The boiler is one of the expensive home appliances and like any other valuable thing, getting an insurance is a sensible thing to do. The cost of boiler repairs is also expensive. Unlike other home appliances, the boiler has a higher frequency of repairs. We don’t buy insurance for home appliances like an air conditioner, refrigerator, washing machine, etc even though we use them regularly but insurance is recommended for a boiler.

What is a boiler cover?

Boiler cover is the insurance for your boiler which will take care of all the cost involved in the repairs and maintenance. If your boiler is covered, both the repair charges and the cost of replacement parts will be paid by the boiler cover company. Considering that most of the boiler repairs are expensive, having a boiler cover is a sensible thing to do. You can avail a boiler cover at the time of boiler purchase or anytime after that. Boiler cover companies are hesitant to insure boilers which are more than 8 years old.

Benefits of boiler cover

  • The boiler has a higher chance of developing problems over time compared to the rest of your home appliances and some of the repairs are expensive. When you purchase a boiler cover, it will take complete care of all the repair costs. Whenever there is a fault in your boiler, just pick up the phone and call the boiler cover company. They will send a Gas-Safe certified heating engineer and fix your boiler for free.
  • Many of the boiler covers will also offer a free annual maintenance service for your boiler. Annual boiler maintenance is mandatory in the UK and it will be free with a boiler cover.
  • If your boiler is damaged beyond repair and requires to be replaced, then a presence of a boiler cover will be a huge relief considering the huge capital required to purchase a new boiler.
  • The last thing you need is the boiler to breakdown in a cold winter day and your family to suffer. Presence of a boiler cover provides peace of mind and one need not worry about boiler repairs.

Buying a boiler cover offers a lot of benefits but they come at a cost. The average cost of a boiler cover per year comes around £245. This is one reason why most people do not opt for a boiler cover. Though boiler covers are expensive they offer total peace of mind and we recommend that you get one.

It is important to read the terms and condition of the boiler cover before buying. There are a lot of things which are not covered by a boiler cover and it is important to read and understand what you are getting. Just don’t opt for the cheapest boiler cover blindly instead opt for the one which provides maximum coverage with transparent terms and conditions. Most of the boiler cover companies don’t cover repairs arising out of a improper installation. Boiler installation is complex and hence always hire a Gas-Safe certified and experienced professional.

Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boiler_insurance