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Although around 23 million UK homes have a boiler installed, not that many people actually know what type they have. Often we move into homes that already have a functioning unit, or it tends to be old enough that a replacement has never been made. When it comes to care, servicing, or even buying a newer model, knowing what boiler you have or want can be important. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the types of boilers to help you identify yours.

Different boiler types

Most homes will have either a regular boiler, a combi boiler, or a system boiler. These can use gas, oil, or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). In many cases, identifying the fuel your unit uses will be easier than discerning the boiler itself; if you have gas, you will receive a bill or have a payment meter, whereas a tank on the outside of your property that can be filled with either gas or LPG will often be separately charged. As regular and combi units are the most common, we’ll be focusing on them.

The good news is that the components that comprise your boiler can help tell you what one it is. A boiler Installation boilerguide can be helpful when identifying or even simply installing a new unit.

Quick checks

Is it a regular boiler?

Homes that feature a hot water cylinder, a cold water storage tank and a pump typically have a regular boiler (some professionals may refer to them as conventional or open vent boilers). These also typically feature two pipes coming from the top of the unit, and one from the bottom. They tend to be larger than alternative systems, so if your installation takes up a lot of space or is found in an airing cupboard next to the main bathroom, it’s likely to be a regular boiler. Combi units aren’t generally big enough to supply hot water to multiple bathrooms, so this may be worth considering, too.

Is it a combi boiler?

As mentioned above, a combi unit won’t have any of the typical components like a hot water cylinder or a cold water storage tank, but it’s important to remember that these may still be in your home if a switch has been made at some point (as professionals don’t always remove them, favouring shutting them off instead). If you are unsure if these are defunct, it can be a worthwhile idea to check if there are copper pipes coming out of your unit. If there are five, it’s likely that they are, and your unit is a combi boiler.

Another factor to consider is that smaller homes tend to have combi over regular installations, especially if there’s only one bathroom. These are the most common types in the UK too, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to discern.

Additional information

If it’s still not clear what type of boiler you have (or you have another type that we haven’t mentioned, like a back boiler for example), it can be a good idea to reach out to a professional heating specialist to arrange servicing, and they can generally help. In cases where a replacement may be needed, a new boiler price boilerguide can be useful, so be sure to take a look at your options.