If you just bought a home with an old heating system or you need to update it then your central heating is probably the first job on the list, if it isn’t, it should be!
It isn’t too complicated once you get your head around it, also you can get a rough idea on what to expect just based off the rooms you have. There will be a few things that will change that price up or down, but we’ll get into that.
If you are looking to change or replace the whole system, it isn’t too cheap. Buying a new boiler (by far the most expensive part), radiator, pipes as well as accounting for labour will cost you, so you need to have a good chunk of money saved.
Tip: With everything, you should be getting multiple quotes whenever you consider a big project.
How Much Does It Cost to Install a New Central Heating System?
It depends on the type of system you want to install, you will probably install a combi boiler system, but sometimes these aren’t the best option. Although in most cases they are the best.
Below I’m going to cover the different types of systems you can have installed, the pros, cons and a rough price estimate.
Combi Boiler Heating System
The most popular method.
Currently, combi boilers are the most popular since they are more efficient than many of the other options and are more affordable. If you choose a combi system, then you should expect to pay between £2,200 and £5,000, depending on a few things. Such as the spec of boiler you go for, or if you need the plumber to make good of the walls etc.
One thing that you should remember is that water may take some time to heat if you don’t have the tank. You will also experience less pressure if more than one tap is opened, but in most households, this really isn’t an issue. Unless you want to run 2 baths, and a shower whilst washing dishes at the same time, which if you are, then maybe it is, but I doubt it!
Relatively straight forward to install (although you cannot and should never try this yourself, always a certified gas engineer), most jobs are completed within 1 week of starting.
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The system option is by far the most expensive out of the three options that you have for your new installation since it is a bit more complicated. There are two types of system boilers, namely vented low pressure and the unvented high-pressure systems.
The vented low pressure is the cheaper and faster option, but it does require the use of a storage tank although this is the only extra that you may need. It is quicker to warm water using the system boiler as it goes through the system, to the radiators and hot water chamber resulting in you getting hot water faster.
The unvented system is pretty much the same, although there is no use of a storage tank; it uses a pressure relief gauge. The following are the expected costs for installing this system.
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Conventional Heating System
It is also known as the regular heating system, but it is not as common since there are a few issues that make it less efficient. The big thing to note about this boiler is that it uses two tanks, one with cold water and the second one is the feed. It also needs a hot water chamber that holds a lot of hot water which is released from the feed.
One of the most significant disadvantages of this type of system is the fact that once the water in the storage chamber is finished, hot water doesn’t get released immediately. It takes up to an hour to heat up again, which can be a pain! There is also too much heat loss through the pipes and the hot water chamber so it can quickly skyrocket your bills. However, if you are considering getting this boiler, here are the estimated costs:
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Factors That Affect the Cost of Installing a Central Heating System
Other than the most obvious reasons for a price increase such as brand, size, and location, there are a few other points you should consider before calculating the final cost. Some of them include:
This is becoming less of an issue, you can get a smart thermostat now from around £150.
Ease of Installation
Is your house going to be a pain for the installer? Consider having a quick tidy up of the area before your plumber/gas engineer comes out to quote. Typically they will charge you more if you make their job difficult.
Type of Floors
It is always better to install the pipes under floorboards, but if you don’t have that choice, it may increase the price. If you have tiles or stone floors the cutting and removal may damage them, meaning that you may need to get replacements. Buying the required materials is one cost but also getting a mason to install will cost you some more. However, this option is better since it gives you a better-integrated system.
Editors Note: Make sure the pipes under floorboards are insulated, you don’t want a burst pipe in the winter.
Choice of Radiators
White pressed steel radiators are the most common option for most people as they are durable, affordable and look good. This is the type that the plumber will quote using unless you specify a different design/style.
If you want designer radiators that will obviously increase the price.
Choice of Contractor
It’s obvious different companies will give you different prices, but it isn’t always best to go with the cheapest option, this isn’t something you want ‘bodged’. But you should always be getting multiple quotes regardless.
Types of Fuel for a Heating System
The efficiency of the heating system that you choose may, at times, be affected by the fuel you want to use. Find out more about the different kinds available and which one will get you the most savings with the highest efficiency rates.
There are two options of gas available; LPG and natural gas. Natural gas is supplied piped into your home. In many houses, the gas is usually connected, but if it isn’t, you may have to budget for it. LPG is not too different from natural gas-only that it is supplied in large gas tanks and you will need at least two to run your system.
Many people prefer electricity for running their system, but that is because installation is more straightforward and it mostly works well with the older boilers. The cost is also much cheaper compared to gas, so the owner gets to save a bit on that. However, electricity prices are quite high, so if this is your primary source of fuel for heating, it can be quite expensive.
Electric heating is mostly used with storage heaters although they can be quite wasteful, which you should aim to minimise if you don’t want to pay too much. Storage heaters tend to run throughout so you may get heat at a time when your home is warm enough. If you choose to go the electric way, then try out electric heating boilers which are less bulky, cheaper and more efficient in conserving heat.
Electric heaters may save money in the short term, over the long term you are almost certain to be out of pocket.
You can use oil only with boilers, which is the one significant disadvantage of it. However, it tends to be quite efficient, and it has been used for many years. Another major problem that you may not want is that you must have a tank set up outside your home. Unfortunately, the storage is enormous, and so they cannot be hidden very well which is why there are some rules on sighting them. While installation isn’t the most difficult, your options are limited with the oil alternative.
How to Get the Most out of Your Heating System
A central heating system requires some care and good practices so that you can get the most out of it. There are some additional features you can add to improve efficiency or the ease of use. If you are planning on installing your system soon, these tips should help you.
Frequent Maintenance Checks
Many people do not believe in getting their system checked until they notice a problem or it stops functioning. This is quite dangerous for your home since you may end up staying a couple of days without heat which can be uncomfortable. Consult with your installer how long you should take to get maintenance, and he will recommend something based on the type of installation and your home. Find a reliable professional, preferably one that lives close to you who can have a look and make sure that everything is functioning optimally.
Update Your Thermostat
One of the biggest reasons why your home may not be warm enough, or you can’t attain the perfect temperature is the thermostat. If your thermostat is old or not functioning as it should, no matter how efficient your system is, you will always have a problem. Update your thermostat when you notice issues and consult your installer on the best thermostats to use with your central heating.
Check for Leaks In Your Home
If you can never maintain your room temperature and both the thermostat and heating is in perfect condition, you should check if heat is escaping. The goal is to heat inside your home, not outside, so if some of the warmth is escaping, you will end up with a cold house and expensive bills. Do frequent checks for cracks and spaces that may allow heat to escape and have them sealed permanently.
Check and Change the Filters and Bleed the Radiators
A filter problem can be a huge issue if not addressed on time, and that is why you should learn how to change the filters yourself. You may need to do this at least every three months, and it helps if you don’t need to pay someone for such a simple task. If your filters are clogged, they can reduce the quality of air in your home which can also spike an allergy problem.
Your heating system will overwork to compensate for the problem, which means that you should expect astronomical bills. If you have radiators, remember that you have to bleed them before you start using them in the new season. All you need to do is to open the valve until water starts coming out instead of air.
Address Problems Quickly
With your central heating, a small problem can soon turn into a huge one if you don’t check it as quickly as possible. If you start noticing some issues with the system such as unusual sounds, low temperatures or leaks, you should call an expert as soon as possible. Ignoring these issues will have you paying huge bills and having to replace parts that would have otherwise benefitted from an easy fix.
How Long Does a Central Heating System Installation Take?
On average, expect it to take approximately two to four days. However, you should consider the reasons that make the installation to cost more since many times they may make the project take much longer than needed.
Remember that when you are getting your quote for the installation to ask about the duration, it will take. This allows you to have a complete quote where no surprises may be sprung onto you. Your installer may charge you extra for labour when they take longer so be very strict with the timelines. This is another reason why you should get an inspection of the home before the quote since everything is factored in it.
Installing a new central heating system can be quite costly but don’t opt for cheap materials and labour since you may regret it later. The good news is that getting funding for such a project is not too difficult as many manufacturers offer various payment options. You can also get bank financing to assist you so you can have an excellent system in place. Remember that all the quotes that you get from different suppliers should be all-inclusive. This not only helps you to plan adequately, but it protects you from any surprises by the installers.
Take your time in choosing the best option and get recommendations from people who have had similar work done in their homes. This shouldn’t be a rush project if you want quality central heating that won’t cause you problems as time goes by.