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Does anyone know anything about combi boilers and just why i can't have one? just th topic for a sunny Sunday I know.

(47 Posts)
oranges Sun 19-Apr-09 16:14:44

We have an ancient hot water cyclinder and boiler combo that is forever breaking down, and want it replaced.

The plumber who gave a quote said I'd still have to have the cylinder and boiler, as I have two bathrooms (one with a bath and an en suite shower room).

I cant see why that's correct. My parents have a combi boiler with a much bigger house and as many bathrooms. Is it really not possible? It would be significantly cheaper than having a separate cylinder, and save loads of space.

rubyslippers Sun 19-Apr-09 16:16:02

we have a new condensing boiler - these are much more energy efficient and don't need a tank/cylinder thingie

we have 2 bathrooms

tiggerlovestobounce Sun 19-Apr-09 16:18:31

There are some showers that you cant have with a combi boiler - I think that power showers dont work with them, so if that is what you have in your ensuite that might be why you cant have one.

oranges Sun 19-Apr-09 16:19:20

does it work? the plumber seemed to suggest that with a family, you need a cyclinder combo to have enough hot water for washing machines, showers etc all on the go. Though I must say we rarely ALL have showers at once while simultaneously doing the laundry.

rubyslippers Sun 19-Apr-09 16:21:03

we always have hot water - 2 showers after each other in the morning

face washing etc for DS

and washing machine on at the same time

we don't have a power shower as we have good water pressure

tiggerlovestobounce Sun 19-Apr-09 16:21:19

I have a combi boiler, and we have enough hot water for our house (big house, 2 adults 3 children). A combi means that your dont have the problem of running out of hot water.

oranges Sun 19-Apr-09 16:23:39

not sure if ours is a power shower. how do you tell? it seems like a normal one to me, with good pressure.

rubyslippers Sun 19-Apr-09 16:24:45

i think power showers have a pump

tiggerlovestobounce Sun 19-Apr-09 16:26:03

You would probably know if you had a power shower - if you cant tell then its probably not doing a great job!
If you really wanted a combi and that was the only thing stopping you you could get a new shower.

oranges Sun 19-Apr-09 16:27:38

no, there's no pump. so i can go for a combi? Yay! I am tempted to go do a plumbing course just so I can understand what plumbers are going on about!

tiggerlovestobounce Sun 19-Apr-09 16:31:33

Some plumbers arent keen on combis because they used to be pretty useless, so they have a low opinion of them, but aparently modern combi boilers are actually pretty good

CarGirl Sun 19-Apr-09 16:36:04

washing machines only use cold water fill anyway! The only problem may be if you have low water pressure where you live because if you have 2 showers on at the same time an the water pressure is unusually low then your shower may be pathetic!

oranges Sun 19-Apr-09 16:37:15

I've neverhad a problem with water pressure as far as I can tell. All problems have been with the blasted boiler/tank. We moved in four months ago and its broken down twice.

oranges Sun 19-Apr-09 16:47:39

oh, and thank you, thank you for addressing such a dull question with me. I knew mumsnet would know. grin

JiminyCricket Sun 19-Apr-09 16:52:23

why not get a big company round like British Gas, just so you can work out what would do the job. We had three quotes and the guy from British Gas was definitely trying to problem solve more than the others. They all said to go for a combi though (2 bathrooms). Works great.

Homebird8 Sun 19-Apr-09 17:03:06

I've never met a combi boiler (and I'm in the building services industry) which could actually do what it says on the packet. ie. supply more than one hot water demand satisfactorily at a time.

Most modern washing machines are cold fill as they only then heat the water they need and a combi boiler is recommended on the same principle. You're not heating and storing loads of water you don't actually need.

Having said that, if the system constantly annoys you by not providing plentiful, multi-demand, hot water as you need it (this does not include the yell downstairs of "please don't do the washing up, I'm taking a shower") then I'd rather stick with a very well insulated cylinder as we have done. An absolute must though, is a condensing boiler. This will save you loads of money!

Ponders Sun 19-Apr-09 17:41:10

If someone runs the hot water downstairs while you are in the shower upstairs you will scream & do a war dance grin

That's the only issue we have so anyone having a shower announces it first & if someone then runs the kitchen hot tap they get a drubbing afterwards.

Ponders Sun 19-Apr-09 17:43:07

But having said that your own mains water pressure has to be considered - if you are on an old water main away from a main road it could be too low; you wouldn't notice normally because only your kitchen cold tap will be at mains pressure, the rest is on gravity feed, so what's your kitchen cold tap like at full pelt?

lalalonglegs Sun 19-Apr-09 18:36:05

You can get thermostatic taps that will cut out the problem of scalding water out of shower/bath if someone runs taps in other part of house.

Having said that, I am kind of with your plumber - you do lose a lot of pressure someone is using a water-appliance at the same time as you and you end up having very frustrating showers that go from full pressure to a dribble back to full pressure with tiresome frequency. When we bought our current home and decided to create a second bathroom, we definitely felt it was best to go for a modern cylincer system (Megaflo) because I had had enough of combis in my previous homes.

JHKE Sun 19-Apr-09 18:53:11

We have a combi boiler, we had to change our shower from a power shower to a thermostatic. If I run the water downstairs for washing up then it does go cold in the shower if someone is in it. However, I am happy with it. Depends if this would annoy you or not.

sherby Sun 19-Apr-09 18:56:00

Just asked DH (gas/heating enginner) he said your plumber is right, you would be lucky to run a power shower off one and if you did you can forget the washing machine/another bath being on.

He said they do have a crap rep because the old ones were rubbish but some of the new ones are good and might do the job

SoupDragon Sun 19-Apr-09 18:58:57

I have 2 full bathrooms, a downstairs power shower and a combi boiler. The pressure is cr*p if you try to run too many hot taps at once but, TBH, how often do you run more than one at a time? The knowledge that we have unlimited hotwater more than makes up for that (extremely rare) occurrance.

We used to have a tank of hot water at home and if you were in the shower when someone ran the tap elsewhere you either got scalded or frozen so it's not a problem limited to combi boilers.

SoupDragon Sun 19-Apr-09 19:00:10

Actually, the downstairs shower isn't a power one, it's just thermostatic. And cr*p.

oranges Sun 19-Apr-09 19:54:45

Hmm. We don't have a power shower. Cold tap at full pelt seems pretty strong. It's not an old house - only about 11 years old. I do remember those eek! moments in the shower if someone brushes their teeth. It was only ever a monir hindrance. British GAs are coming round tomorrow for a quote so I'll ask. THough they seemed very keen on the phone to sell me solar panel heaters hmm

Homebird8 Mon 20-Apr-09 18:07:00

I'd ask them the predicted payback period for anything to do with solar. All very worthy but if the kit wears out (or you peg out) before it's paid for itself it doesn't make much sense. If it was a truly economic option then the energy firms would be using it.
(Now sitting with tin hat on waiting for solar rays to blast me down [adrenaline emoticon])

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