Combi boiler or conventional?

(46 Posts)
Vole3 Mon 17-Feb-14 07:07:29

Ok, not strictly AIBU, but I am in a bit of a quandary as to which way to go to replace old gas boiler that went phutt at the weekend.
Must say I'm glad we have an immersion heater for the water!

Opinions please

KissesBreakingWave Mon 17-Feb-14 07:55:57

Combi. Can you even still get traditional boilers?

Joysmum Mon 17-Feb-14 08:27:58

Combi, no water tank and more efficient.

Dawndonnaagain Mon 17-Feb-14 08:29:20

We had a combi. Okay, hot water whenever you require it, but if somebody turns a tap on when you're in the shower, heavens you know about it!

CrohnicallyFarting Mon 17-Feb-14 08:31:23

We don't have that problem with our combo boiler dawndonna in fact, my parents' conventional boiler was worse.

vj32 Mon 17-Feb-14 08:32:01

We've got a new combi (about 2 weeks old!). My parents have an old one and have to wait quite a while for hot water. Ours really is nearly instant - certainly no longer to wait than the traditional boiler it replaced. We paid for a good one though.

The part of me that loves hot baths says conventional.
Yes combi is instant hot water and more efficient but I hate running a bath from one. They are usually set at a maximum temp and take ages to run any kind of bath and they are always quirky. Turn the tap on too far or not far enough you aren't getting the right pressure to get the hot water running through.

gnoomi Mon 17-Feb-14 08:34:54

Depends how big your system is. If you have a biggish house/ a couple of bathrooms you'll need a vented condensed system as combis don't have enough capacity. The new systems are much more efficient than the old boilers.

FranSanDisco Mon 17-Feb-14 08:36:46

Combi. My 70 yo mother has just swapped to one and had her immersion removed. She can't believe the constant hot water even though we've been telling her for years.

Dawndonnaagain, My shower has something fitted in it which means if the water pressure drops (someone flushing loo for example) the temperature remains the same so no cold water shocks.

Oriunda Mon 17-Feb-14 08:38:19

Combi. Hot water on tap. Take out old water tank and create extra storage space. No water tank bursting and leaking everywhere.

wonkylegs Mon 17-Feb-14 08:39:04

Depends on the size of your house and how you use hot water.
All boilers are condensing boilers now but you get condensing combis and condensing conventional.
We have just put in a Worcester Bosch conventional with a megaflow cylinder - we chose this for a few reasons. Our house is getting a bit big for a combi, (22 large rads) they struggle at this size/no of bath rooms/rads. Also i hated the pressure drop off on the combi when having a shower and somebody flushed the loo/put dishwasher/washing machine on.
We put in the combination above because this gave us an efficient boiler that had enough output to cope when it's very cold or has high demand and with the megaflow we got the mains pressure hot water for a fantastic shower.
The Worcester Bosch website has a good calculator which you can put the details of your house & how you use heating/HW and it will tell you what solutions are suitable.

Chippednailvarnish Mon 17-Feb-14 08:40:03

Have a 2 year old combi in our three story house, no issues with running baths and showers.

Go for the highest "powered" one available for your size property and you should be fine. We have a Bosch Worcester fitted by one of their installers, if that helps?

wonkylegs Mon 17-Feb-14 08:40:06

It gives you options for both types & the benefits / drawbacks of both.

Trills Mon 17-Feb-14 08:42:41

Combi boiler. And ditch the immersion.

You turn the tap, wait a few seconds, ta-dah - hot water.

None of this "turning the water on" or "waiting for the tank to fill up" or "remember there's 4 people that want showers".

FluffyDavis Mon 17-Feb-14 08:44:46

I'm no expert but we had a traditional boiler and megaflow system fitted a few years ago.
There are six of us showering/bathing daily and have never run out of hot water.
We can run 3 showers, taps, washing machine etc with no loss in pressure.
My dh turns the system off if we go on holiday and we can still get v.warm water when we return days later!
Modern systems are v.efficient now.

crazykat Mon 17-Feb-14 08:48:21

I'd say combi. We used to leave the immersion heater on so we always had hot water. However even though we had a decent size tank I couldn't bath the DCs within an hour of DH getting home as there wouldn't be enough hot water for him to get a bath ( very mucky job so needed as soon as he gets in).

Since we've had the combi its not a problem though we use the new shower more than the bath and its always hot enough, even for DH who usually looks sunburned after a hot shower. We don't have a problem with the shower going cold if the hot tap is run downstairs, the shower is just a bit less powerful but still fine to shower.

The electric bill is also less and the gas didn't I up as much as I expected.

specialsubject Mon 17-Feb-14 10:04:10

don't confuse combi with condensing. It is the latter that is almost impossible to avoid.

no combi here, but we have space for a hot water tank and hence an airing cupboard. Could still have a hot bath in a power cut, as I'd seen it coming and heated the water earlier!

just two of us but a tank lasts a day even with a power shower, as we know that a shower is give minutes not 20. It was a new boiler last year though. When we have guests the tank does four baths/showers.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Mon 17-Feb-14 10:19:23

Combi. We had ours just over a year ago, instant hot water. We visit the in laws and have to have to showers in gaps due to having to wait for more water. Much prefer our combi.

We got our hot water tank taken out the airing cupboard And now have more room.

Sallyingforth Mon 17-Feb-14 10:29:20

I much prefer my conventional. When our water was cut off recently we still had a tank full of hot water, and cold water in the loft.

BlackeyedSusan Mon 17-Feb-14 10:52:19

conventional. combis can still be erratic with hot water flow. there is no airing cupboard to air clothes so you have to use a drier or radiators so wait 3 days. there is no back up water supply in a tank when the water goes off.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Mon 17-Feb-14 11:46:13

Combi and make sure your shower is thermostatically controlled.

OhGoveUckYourself Mon 17-Feb-14 11:49:53

My gas bills are much less now that I have a combi boiler and the constant hot water is great. I do agree about the reduced water flow in running a bath, it takes forever but hey, not a problem if you prefer showers.

OwlCapone Mon 17-Feb-14 11:54:00

There is no airing cupboard to air clothes

If you already have an airing cupboard simply put a small radiator in it. Takes up much less space than a whopping water cylinder.

I love having hot water on demand.

Depends on how big your property is - I think combi's were originally invented for use in flats although am sure they have moved on by now.

We had a combi boiler when we bought our bungalow....hated it and missed my airing cupboard - we went back to a conventional boiler and it is so much better. I like my baths very deep and very hot and the combi just didn't cut it for me.

Vole3 Mon 17-Feb-14 12:18:02

I have 12 rads in a 4 bedroom, 1 bathroom house.
I have a lakeland heated airer so don't need the airing cupboard for drying.
I just wanted to avoid the mess (and sorting out the loft) involved in removing the tanks.

Nancy66 Mon 17-Feb-14 12:30:21

Combis have massively improved in last decade - Worcester are probably the best and you'll get 15-18 years out of a good one.

landrover Mon 17-Feb-14 12:42:08

I think you can leave the tanks in situe, just drain them, although I am no expert! You will also find your new boiler is half the size, win win! Deffo combi xx

wonkylegs Mon 17-Feb-14 12:57:15

We only put the hot water on in the morning and the evening (on programmer) on our conventional boiler & megaflow and we haven't yet run out of hot water even when we had 15people here over Christmas. It heats up very fast (about 20mins if a top up is needed) and the modern cylinder stays warm all day.
Gas bills aren't too bad even though until we finish the renovations it's a bit like heating a giant leaky sieve. Can't wait for the windows & insulation to be finished.
Whatever way you go getting a decent programmer, room stat and thermostatic radiator valves means that you use your boiler much more efficiently.

Vole3 Mon 17-Feb-14 13:06:12

Already got TRV's fitted, had a decent programmer but the rads will benefit from the flush through as some weren't heating evenly.

We love our combi, but its probably not quite big enough and we do have to do a little 'negotiating' when it comes to water. It did save on our gas bills hugely.

However, I quite like the idea of having solar heated hot water, but now we have no cylinder to store it in which is a bit of a bummer.

FraidyCat Mon 17-Feb-14 13:56:12

I don't understand the comments about running out of hot water. I have conventional and that has never happened in 15 years of living here.

Each bathroom is powered by a separate 660 watt dual pump (separate pumps for hot and cold) so two people can power-shower simultaneously and there're no fluctuations in temperature or water pressure.

OhOneOhTwoOhThree Mon 17-Feb-14 14:02:08

We've just replaced a 40+ year old conventional boiler with a combi. That, and having all our sash windows replaced with look-alike double glazed units, has taken over 150 quid a month off our fuel bills.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Mon 17-Feb-14 15:01:07

Valiant are the Miele of boilers, last years but expensive initial out lay.

ReallyTired Mon 17-Feb-14 15:06:50

Combi boilers are more tempermental. I think if you have a large house a traditional boiler is better. You are not completely in the sh!t if the boiler fails as you can use an immersion heater.

Combi boilers are more efficent in a flat where storage space is at a premium.

MostWicked Mon 17-Feb-14 16:03:20

12 radiators over 3 floors, 3 bathrooms with 1 bath & 2 showers
We have a good quality Combi and would never have anything else.

If the boiler failed (which it never has) we would use kettles until it was fixed and we would get it fixed within a few days. I'm not going to give house space to an inefficient immersion heater just in case the boiler breaks! The boiler is 15 years old now and is serviced every year.

I hated having an immersion heater!

Oriunda Mon 17-Feb-14 16:20:49

I installed a (reasonably expensive at the time) Worcester Bosch combi boiler in my flat 14 years ago and it is still going strong, had never gone wrong and the engineer tells me is still very current by today's standards. A very good brand. We have a Vaillant in our house but the Worcester is better.

Ragwort Mon 17-Feb-14 16:27:00


We had a new build house with a Combi - never worked properly, replaced it after two years at huge expense and it still didn't work. Never got a really hot bath, despite endless visits from plumbers.

Love our conventional boiler at our next house smile.

I am impressed Most that your combi works in your home - our last home was similar size and the combi just wasn't suitable.

landrover Mon 17-Feb-14 16:48:35

Ragwort, Im guessing that Most had a Combi that was capable of that amount of work. The combis have different size outputs so you have to make sure that you have the right size combi for the amount of radiators etc. Im guessing that maybe your combi wasn't the right size for your house (new build skimping maybe?) Only guessing of course!! (I have not a lot of combi experience grin

Joysmum Mon 17-Feb-14 16:53:57

Agree with the others, best to go for the size bigger than you think you'll need and either a Vallient or a Worcester.

wonkylegs Mon 17-Feb-14 17:13:37

I think some people are confused. Conventional boilers and cylinders don't heat by the immersion heater it's supplemental to the boiler heating the water and storing it in the cylinder. Immersion heater works as an additional heating element to the boiler. Not all cylinders have them, but they are useful if boiler isn't working as they can work independently. A similar solution would be having an electric shower.

OwlCapone Mon 17-Feb-14 17:14:02

A very deep, hot bath is perfectly doable with a Combi boiler. I fill mine with hot water and then top up with cold to bring the temperature down. No trouble at all.

If the boiler should fail, we have an electric power shower downstairs.

Ragwort Mon 17-Feb-14 21:49:04

landrover - we may have just been unlucky, it was a poncey expensive 'new build' grin so there was no need to skimp on the original boiler and then we replaced it, at our own expense, for another one which we had researched, but still didn't seem much better!

I never had a decent bath in the 10 years we lived there grin - the bliss when we moved into a rented property and could get a fabulous hot bath!! Now in our next house (also new build) we have a combination boiler and hot baths .............. just off for a hot bath now smile.

TheFarSide Mon 17-Feb-14 21:58:40

Combis are fine until the sealed system springs even the tiniest of tiny leaks, then they lose pressure and don't work. Then you have the issue of trying to figure out where the leak is coming from ... and that may mean pulling up all the floorboards and generally dismantling your house to find a mere drip.

brettgirl2 Mon 17-Feb-14 22:12:44

Had both op, each has advantages and disadvantages. Hot bath just turn the water down it takes less heating (only issue in winter ime anyway)

MostWicked Mon 17-Feb-14 22:22:27

We have a Vaillent combi which does a fabulous job. Definitely don't scrimp. It will pay for itself.
A soak in the bath is a very important matter for me. In my last house, we had a lovely big corner bath, and the cylinder couldn't fill it, so I never had a deep bath - I was so happy when we replaced it for a combi and I could enjoy a full bath.

Never had a leak but it should be fairly easy to narrow down where it is by isolating the different runs. And if you do have a leak under the floorboards, you're going to want to know about it sooner rather than later. Pipes can still leak, however the water is heated. With a combi boiler, you can see very easily if you are losing pressure and might have a leak.

landrover Mon 17-Feb-14 23:30:29

Ragwort well done, i love my baths xxx

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