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Installing Central Heating from Storage Heating....

(50 Posts)
Teacuptravells Mon 11-May-15 20:01:19

We live in a bizarre part of a 1980s modern boxy estate that doesn't have central heating. However we're close to the area that does and I think its "only" a few hundred to get it piped to us.

We're considering installing CH - mainly so that the house is sellable in years to come. We've kind of come around to storage heating as we've finally worked out how to make it work, we get warmth all day and at a fraction of the cost of CH, no maintenance etc..... BUT I think long term we need to invest in it!!

How do we find firms that do this? Presumably we're quite odd needing conversion in a modern property. What sort of quesitons do we need to ask them?

We have a v.crappy electric shower - we'd like a good shower, does this affect things?

Presumably we need radiators in most rooms, and space for a combi boiler?

Any other advice....


Teacuptravells Tue 12-May-15 20:34:38

Anyone? Has anyone done this? Pleased about the result? Any advice!!

Agrestic Tue 12-May-15 22:32:26

So I'm about to do it!

The gas will be connected early next month, it's costing us about £500.

Then the CH will be put in during an extention/refurbishment which will start at the same time. Not 100% of the cost for CH alone as the builder is sorting it out... Could tell you in a week or so!

I'm having radiators, just going to put them where the SHs are positioned. Combi boiler in a neat cupboard in the kitchen...

Hope that helps somewhat! I can report back once everything installed - give me about 6 months!

Teacuptravells Tue 12-May-15 22:35:32

OOoh a real person doing it!!! OUr connection is about that too - I keep meaning to get on and get that done. That's direct with the gas supply isnt it?

We're just doing the CH so I was thinking we want some kind of heating engineer/plumber/electrician rather than builder but I cant exactly ask friends for recommendations as they all have CH.

I'm not convinced our SH are best placed at the moment. I assumed the combi boiler would have to go in a cupboard in the kitchen.... Our house is TINY so wont be ideal at all but needs must!

Do you have a tank elsewhere with a combi? What sort of shower do you/will you have?

I was going to ask about level of disruption but I guess in your case thats a bit different if youre renovating! We've not got a lot of money either so need to get it right.....

PigletJohn Tue 12-May-15 22:50:36

What made you choose a combi?

How many people live in the house?

How many baths and showers are there?

Run the cold kitchen tap into a bucket. Time it to full. How many litres per minute does it give? Is it the same in your garden tap and utility room (if any?)

How many come from the hot bath tap, and from the cold bath tap?

Teacuptravells Tue 12-May-15 23:03:49

Hi PigletJohn (Oooh I've seen you post elsewhere!)

There are 2 adults, 2 small children.
It is a tiny tiny ex HA 1980s 3 bed end terrace house - 1 double bedroom, one technically double, actually small single and a box room. No utility. Downstairs is a small living room and small kitchen diner. Currenly there are only 2 SH in the whole house (hall and living room) but theyy seem to do the job!(we moved to a tarif with an afternoon boost which stopped the cold evenings). I'm expecting we'd need radiators in each room?

1 bathroom with loo, sink and bath in it. Currently has rubbish electric shower over the bath but we were told by an electrician(or was it plumber?) it was the best we could get for the wiring or something?

I haven't yet found people to get quotes from as I wanted to look like I knew something of what I was asking. Google tells me there are a few "heating engineers" in the area. Is that what I am looking for? I'm not quite sure what I'm after. Its a modern house but no piping at all for gas so it needs all the radiators, boiler, pipes etc. In an ideal world we'd like a gas hob too....

Do I need to know a little more before I invite them in....?

I will run the water in the morning.......


Teacuptravells Tue 12-May-15 23:04:49

Will I have pipes running up my walls... can they be concealed?

PigletJohn Tue 12-May-15 23:19:31

concrete floors or wood?

Teacuptravells Tue 12-May-15 23:25:00

I think its concrete.

Agrestic Tue 12-May-15 23:40:12

Yup. British Gas is coming out to do it. Do you know where the gas is exactly? In the road or a few roads over? And are you on a main road? We have to close the busyish road we're on to connect us up. It's too narrow for the guy's to work on and have cars driving past. That's something that never even crossed my mind!

I've always assumed a/a few plumbers will be putting it in!

No I won't have a tank. I've got a tiny cottage, there's two of us and we'll be here for the next decade at least. I'm going to knock through where our water tank is now to make the bathroom bigger!

I'm going to go for digital mixer shower.

I'm umming and arring about a gas hob... I really fancy an induction hob because they look so fancy but gas is better to cook with! Decisions!

Teacuptravells Wed 13-May-15 10:04:00

Hi Piglet John. I've just filled the bucket (10litre)

Cold kitchen - 1min 48 to full - 5.56 litres per minute (divide by 108 x 60?)

Hot bath tap - 1min 21 to full - 7.41 litres per minute
Cold tap - 19 seconds to full - 31.58 litres per minute

Garden tap - 37 seconds to full - 16.22 litres per minute

Currently a Triton T80 electric shower.

Thankyou :D

PigletJohn Wed 13-May-15 12:24:44

the cold bath tap is surprisingly fast compared the to hot. A 22mm unobstructed pipe from a tank feeding a British bath tap can be very fast, but to check, if you put your thumb over the cold bath tap spout, can you stop the flow?

The garden tap is a lot faster than the kitchen tap. I will guess that it comes straight off the incoming main and is a traditional British bib-tap, with a screw-down "T" head, which is very simple and unrestricting. The kitchen tap, being slower, I will guess is an imported mixer, possibly Italian design, perhaps with ceramic disks or a joystick (quarter-turn knob or lever on/off). I am expecting that the 16 litres is the maximum flow you will get if you have a combi, total of all or fewer of your taps at any one time, it is reasonably good. You may need to remove restrictions such as service valves with cut down flow through the pipes. I suspect there is something obstructing the hot bathroom pipe.

A bath holds about 100 litres, so you must get quite bored waiting for it to fill with hot water.

Teacuptravells Wed 13-May-15 12:31:34

We rarely use the bathroom hot tap. I preusme it comes from the hot water tank thats in the airing cuboard next door? It is ridiculously slow though and hte cold one ridiculously fast - it spurted out the bucket quite powerfully as I tried to fill it!

We dont tend to use it though as we dont always bother heating the hotwater tank as we have a dishwasher etc So we fill the bath from the electric shower for the kids and we only use a shower - it takes ages however we do it.

The kitchen tap is a turney hot/cold mixer one. No idea about the spec.

Is a combi the right thing (to be honest I dont know about other options!)

Do I call a plumber/heating engineer at random? Presumably I say we are looking at installing central heating and shower and they do the rest?

PigletJohn Wed 13-May-15 12:51:02

can you stop the bathroom hot tap spout with your thumb?

PigletJohn Wed 13-May-15 12:51:21

cold, I mean.

tenderbuttons Wed 13-May-15 12:55:37

We did this, had gas installed and got a plumber to do all the fitting. We built the system from scratch, as the house had previously been two flats

Teacuptravells Wed 13-May-15 16:59:08

PigetJohn - I've just tried and I cant! It spurts everywhere :D

tender - did you just look for any plumber - or is it a special heating one? Was it straightforward... how much mess and how long did it take?

samsonagonistes Wed 13-May-15 17:07:21

Our plumber was better at heating than installing bathrooms wish I had known that before he did the bathroom too. I found him by interviewing three plumbers and getting quotes. He wasn't the cheapest, but came back twice to look at the house and to make sure he was recommending the right kind of system for what we needed. He'd thought it through and was recommending we had a hot water tank rather than a combi.

I can't really say about the mess - we bought a wreck and so didn't move in for three months while the heating was installed and the place rewired. Having said that, the plumbing was mostly taking floors up - it was the rewiring that really made a mess of things.

Teacuptravells Wed 13-May-15 17:09:56

I think we have the additional problem of not having floorboards. No idea how they get around that.

Do I just look for local plumbers then? I kind of think in our area most of them might never have installed central heating before as we live in a town where most people have it....

Teacuptravells Wed 13-May-15 17:12:07

(Piglet JOhn - I take it you have a plumbing company... are you on the south coast....?)

PigletJohn Wed 13-May-15 18:14:57

no plumbing co

As you can't stop the cold bath tap, it will be mains fed. So I deduce you have excellent flow and pressure. Have a combi if you want, but if you can afford it, I would recommend a conventional or system boiler, and a new white (unvented) cylinder, which will be at mains pressure or thereabouts and will give you unsurpassed hot water, and a better shower than your electric piddler. Mention to the installer that you insist on full-bore stopcocks and service valves. Not all heating engineers have the extra qualification required for unvented cylinders, so ask.

Have an immersion heater in the cylinder (or preferably two, one at the top and one at the bottom) and you will have hot water even when your boiler is out of action. You will not need a cold water tank as the unvented cylinder is fed from the incoming watermain.

Choose your installer by personal recommendation, or go to the websites of good boiler manufacturers and see what Approved Installers they have in your area. I would look at Viessmann and Vaillant. If you want a good laugh, get British Gas to quote.

If you have floorboards, they can be lifted to run the pipes beneath. If concrete floors, the pipes will show (don't accept microbore pipes, which are a source of many tears). If you have too much money, you can have underfloor heating on the ground floor. It is a lot of work if installed after the house has been built.

PigletJohn Wed 13-May-15 18:17:23


Energy from electricity costs about three times as much as energy from gas.

Teacuptravells Wed 13-May-15 21:09:15

Not much money at all (hence ha house with SH!).... but have saved towards it as it kind of needs to be done.

Much of your post doesn't make that much sense to me (yet) but I'll print it out and show my dad!

It does worry me spending so much money when I truly have no idea anout it - I am prime fodder for being ripped off/ job done badly.

A conventional boiler and cylinder - does that mean like when I was growing up ,a boiler in the kitchen/therabours and a tank in the loft? Is it a LOT more than a combi?

We currently have a water tank in a rom near the bathroom but its not against an external wall. Would we still use that/replace that or is that nt part of the system....

Thanks ever so much for all your help. I really do want to be a bit more prepared when I ring a random plumber! No personal recommendations as dont know anyone whose installed CH.

price wise- we seem to pay a lot less than friends on CH (although our house is smaller...) does that mean we will actually save money? We dont currentl ]y have any maintenance costs and we pay about £80 a month for the one bill. Night storage and a boost and its warm all day!

PigletJohn Wed 13-May-15 23:28:06

An unvented cylinder does not need a cold water tank in the loft, it is fed directly from the incoming water main. It gives a powerful shower and fills a bath quickly. Unlike a combi, it should not give fluctuations in temperature when other people turn taps on and off. You seem to be unusually lucky to have good flow and pressure, so it sounds suitable for you, but an installer will test your flow and dynamic pressure to be sure.

You may have heard of a Megaflo, this is a brand name for an unvented cylinder, there are other makes. They always seem to be white (this is just the outer casing, inside is efficient insulation and a stainless steel cylinder for example. People who have them tend to be very pleased. The boiler is less complicated than a combi and I some people say that combis are less reliable and have a shorter life than a conventional boiler of equal quality.

I will confess I am not a combi enthusiast.

In summer, using a modern conventional boiler and a cylinder, I use about half a cubic metre of gas a day for hot water and cooking, which costs me about £8 a month, plus another £8 standing charge for gas. Older boilers and less efficient systems will cost more. In winter, heating by gas is usually cheaper than by electricity, but your bill seems about the same as a small or modern medium house might cost for gas and electricity combined. However it will vary according to how hot you like to be in winter.

Your old cylinder is not likely to be suitable.

I wouldn't choose installers at random nor from trader websites where the company may pay to advertise be listed and may or may not have written their own user reviews. Look at the Approved Installers on boiler manufacturers' websites. Also look at the length of the guarantee. You may be surprised.

Teacuptravells Thu 14-May-15 20:27:41

Ah thanks. An unvented one sounds good. So its a boiler and water tank as combared to just one "thing" when its a combi?

I've contacted 2 people who are sort of recommended from friends.

Also I had someone over today who can do free loft insulation and cavilty wall top up. Our loft is 3 inches and should be 12inches - some sort of govt grant?

Hopefully we'll get our house up together this year (lots of painting and carpets to sort too...!!)

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