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Talk to me about putting central heating in.

(14 Posts)
Thandeka Tue 07-Dec-10 06:51:50

We are buying a 3bed Victorian terrace without central heating. We want to put it in (gas). We will rip out the hot water tank and put a combi boiler in instead. But questions:
how long does it take?
How much of an arse job is it to do? (for ch engineer not us!)
approx how much does it cost?
Do we go for double or single radiators?
Particular reccomended boiler types/rads?
Please help!

DisparityCausesInstability Tue 07-Dec-10 19:23:57

You need to work out how much heat you need in each room - google for a btu calculator and then choose your radiator to suit your style and budget. Think carefully about where you locate them - under a window is good becaus eyou get a more even temp throughout the room but it can be difficult to curtain - you can't go for floor length or all the heat will be directed out the window. Place then elsewhere and you need to remember that it restricts where you can put furniture...the further away from the boiler the more expensive the pipework, so at the entrance to a room is probably the cheapest location.
It will probably take 1-2 weeks and cost around £10k, maybe less depending on where you are.
Worcester have a good reputation for reliability but it comes at a price. Ask around for recommmended local plummers, get at least 3 quotes - do not go with British Gas unless you have money to burn.

ragged Tue 07-Dec-10 19:29:21

I would do larger rads then are recommended by the BTU calculator (say 20-30% bigger), you will never regret having a little more heating ability rather than a bit too little.
I like to put rads just behind doors, makes total sense to me, but there are detailed arguments against and instead for under the window instead (where you lose half the heat to outside very easily).

DH installed the GFCH system in our old house (3 bed semi, had a CORGI engineer come do the actual gas connection to boiler). This was 1999 and cost him ??900 quid I think, including the Combi boiler, so I'd think at least 3x that price to get it done professionally today.

GrizzlyMacDuff Tue 07-Dec-10 19:30:40

i definitely agree about considering where the radiators go in particular in the front room. So many people I know have had their put on the main wall, a large one, and then that means their sofa is either against it or jutting into the room as they leave a gap around it, because it is the obvious wall for the sofa aesthetically!

We are in Devon, had a recommendation from someone who had done several of my friends' houses and he was good, not the cheapest, but great work. He does not use plastic piping (which some cowboys use) but traditional copper piping, and he was very clean! We had three full size radiators, 2 small, 1 midrange and a tall/large heated towel rail, plus new A grade boiler for £3500, but did not have that much piping as all on one level. Plumber said going up is where the cost comes in, rather than across, so make sure going up is simple i guess.

stirlingstar Tue 07-Dec-10 19:43:47

Ours was a bit above £8k (4 yrs ago) for pressuring system with hot water circulation pump with new boiler plus replace central heating in 7 rooms plus install heating for first time in 3 rooms - so would expect this is more that you need to budget. We had all the carpets out at the time (lots of work being done - rewiring etc too) - that made it quicker & easier for install. It took about a week, with one main guy + one helper. Uses a mix of plastic and copper pipes - we were dubious about the plastic but on investigation they are meant to be fine if fitted correctly and are cheaper & easier than copper.

Victorian house hopefully means plently of space in floor/ceiling voids to run pipes.

PIL's had new heating & boiler under one of the 80+ subsidised schemes, and the whole 3-bed house was done very neatly in two days without them doing any furniture shifting etc. I think the key to that was having a whole gang of workmen on it at the same time. Maybe find a contractor who can work like that?

Agree with what the others said about radiators - get big ones, under windows theoretically best, but just inside doors is more practical. We would have loved victorian cast-iron old-style ones, but they are £££ and we have bog-standard white versions.

stirlingstar Tue 07-Dec-10 19:44:44

multi typos - sorry

notasausage Tue 07-Dec-10 20:22:41

Worcester Bosch or Valent as they are reliable, good quality but pricey - worth it in the long run. Floor voids great for running pipes etc as others said, otherwise bank on having floors up in every room to run pipes.

Nothing wrong with plastic push fit pipes and it's loads cheaper. Big radiators are good but consider any small spaces. We had a small single that had a single bed in it when we bought it. Having a double radiator now means we can't fit a single bed in except the other way - under the window and against the radiator hmm.

BIG No to British Gas - VERY expensive. Quoted us something like £5.5k to use existing pipes and eventually got it for £3k using new push fit pipes. (3 bed)

Keep hold of copper pipes, hot water tank, lead pipes etc and weigh them in at a scrap yard. We got £200 for our old water system grin.

ChippingIn Wed 08-Dec-10 03:19:51

I'm still (yes still) debating whether to get it installed here or not.

However, for a Worcester (junior) combi, 1 large, 2 medium & 1 towel thermostatic radiators, copper/plastic piping - combi installed in loft, all rads on one level £3000. Guy seems nice, checked out and ex BG repair man.... who knows all the installation faults, so hopefully wont make them!

(British Gas £4,500)

If I go ahead with it, I still can't decide where to put the rads confused. Under the window makes so much sense from a 'furniture' pov, but it seems to me like you are sending all the heat straight out, but anywhere else and they are in the way of the furniture.... maybe I'll just underfloor heating throughout>!

Thandeka Thu 09-Dec-10 09:25:50

Thanks lots of great advice. Will have to start getting quotes etc as we dont want to move in until that work is done.

northerngirl41 Thu 09-Dec-10 12:01:39

On ripping out the old water tank - just check what it's made of.... (says someone who discovered a lead tank and a £3k bill!!).

Also it's really messy - do the CH before anything else and have the professional cleaners booked ASAP - don't even think about looking at it before they've been in. You will cry.

Thandeka Thu 09-Dec-10 15:02:54

hmmmmmmm now we are pondering whether it is worth it given there is no gas left in North sea and gas is a finite resource so gas prices are only going to increase. Maybe we should stick with electric- nargh I don't know!

£3k!? what was that for? disposal?

nocake Thu 09-Dec-10 16:34:38

I'm not a big fan of combi boilers, having owned houses with both conventional and combi, but whatever boiler you go for make sure it's generously specified. If it's only just big enough to power the rads you choose it will struggle in cold weather and you won't be able to add new rads in future.

Modern radiators come in loads of shapes and sizes so for each room you can decide if you want the rad to disappear against the wall or be a feature. You don't need to have the same ones throughout or even put them in the same place in each room. I've just moved one from under a window because it made more sense to have a bed there.

My final and biggest recommendation is to get a wireless programmable thermostat. It'll cost a few quid but is brilliant. It allows you to set a temperature for all periods of the day so you can have it at 15 degrees overnight, 18 during the day and 20 in the evening. Get one with a 7 day programme then you can have different settings for each day. Because it's wireless you can have it in any room.

northerngirl41 Thu 09-Dec-10 19:21:39

Thandeka Removal and disposal. It might not be lead though.

ChippingIn Fri 10-Dec-10 16:54:25

Nocake - why don't you like combis??

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