Because we have a relatively cool climate, one of the biggest uses of gas in the UK is for heating domestic homes. There is a lot of old and fairly energy inefficient housing stock in the UK (when compared to other countries in Western Europe) which means there is a high demand for gas to raise the temperature of the water in our heating systems, which is ultimately where we derive our heat from. In 2005 there were important changes to Government policy and in the Building Regulations which have had a direct impact on the amount of energy used to heat our homes. There were programmes to encourage people to install cavity wall and loft insulation that helps greatly in stopping heat escaping and being wasted. New regulations also stated that any boilers being installed in new builds, or replacement boilers going into existing houses, must be condensing boilers. Condensing boilers are now favoured over conventional boilers because of their higher rate of energy efficiency which is typically around 90%+, compared to 70 - 80% of conventional boilers. Whereas a conventional boiler will burn fuel, heat gases and transfer heat from a heat transfer into water, condensing boilers will also capture the steam produced from the burning hydrogen, condense it into liquid water and utilise this extra heat. It basically means that condensing boilers are making use of what would normally be wasted to create more heat with less energy expended. In the decade since the installation of condensing boilers has become mandatory, they have gained a good reputation for being very efficient, reliable, and easy to install and maintain. Of course, for maximum efficiency and longevity, condensing boilers should be serviced once a year, but this is not an expensive process and definitely helps to keep heating bills down in the long term. An additional benefit is that they reduce carbon monoxide emissions, which is incredibly important if the UK is to reduce its emissions by 80% by 2050 to be in line with EU expectations. More and more people who have not yet upgraded to a condensing boiler should be encouraged by installers and the benefits made clear. Many conventional boilers will be coming to the end of their natural lives and installers should be at the forefront of promoting condensing boilers and explaining to homeowners that it’s usually better in the long term to install a new energy efficient boiler rather than the ongoing costs needed to prop up an old and inefficient one. Article by Benjamin Clarke RELATED ARTICLES • A new boiler. To get or not to get? 26th Mar 2015 • How do combination boilers make water hot? 20th May 2015 • What size boiler do I need? 26th Jun 2013
Why have condensing boilers become so popular in the UK?
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