Four Reasons to Consider a Combi Boiler

Most of us do our best to save water. We fill up our dishwashers; wait for a full load of clothes; and sprinkle our lawn at designated times. It’s frustrating, then, to see gallons of water flow down the drain as we await hot water for our daily shower.

The good news is, alternative appliances like tankless water heaters are making headway in the US, offering on-demand hot water, higher efficiency and a much smaller physical footprint in your home. For smaller households with an existing boiler, a combi boiler may be just what you need to save water, money and space.

What is a combi boiler?
A combination boiler (also called a combi boiler) combines a water heater and central heating boiler into one compact unit. It provides both heating and hot water on demand without requiring a big hot water tank.

There are many pros and few cons to combi boilers…Here are four reasons to ponder when considering whether a combi boiler is right for you.

Advantage #1 – Save Space
Combi boilers are ideal for smaller spaces. In addition to replacing both a boiler and a water heater, combi boilers do not have a large tank. Sizes range from 24-40 kW, and are based on the size of your home, number of radiators, number of bathrooms, etc. For properties with a higher demand of hot water, a combi boiler with higher kW will deliver a better flow of hot water. In any case, the physical size of a combi boiler is similar to a large suitcase, and units can fit in spaces not much larger than a broom closet. For this reason, combi boilers are popular with apartment and condominium owners, and homes without basements.

Advantage #2 – Avoid the ‘cold water sandwich”
Cute name aside, a cold-water sandwich can be quite a jarring experience in an otherwise relaxing shower. A cold-water sandwich happens when the water from the heater is warm for the first few minutes but is followed by a burst of cold water before turning warm again. With combi boilers, hot water is ready on-demand, and won’t run out as long as you don’t exceed demand, typically 4-5 gallons per minute.

Advantage #3 – Save money
The upfront cost of combi boiler installation is competitive with the alternatives, especially when you consider the combined cost of a separate boiler and water heater. For the same reason, the labor and materials required to install a combi unit is usually less as well. Cost savings also comes with the change of seasons. During cold winter months, the combi boiler runs as needed to heat your space and provide hot water. But during the summer months, the combi boiler only fires when you call for hot water. So in the summer, when space heating isn’t needed, you only pay to heat the hot water you need and not a whole tank.

Advantage #4 – Increase efficiency
In addition to saving gallons of cold water from running down the drain, combi boilers run very efficiently in their own right. As boilers heat your home, whether it be a combi or standard boiler, they produce waste gases that are dispersed out via a flue. However, when a flue gas heat recovery system is fitted to the combi boiler, it becomes a condensing unit as well, operating at up to 96% efficiency. This means only 4% of the gas is lost via the flue.

Like all major appliance purchases, speaking with an expert is the recommended first step, especially when considering a switch from boiler and water heater to a centralized combi boiler system. The team at Front Range HVAC can advise on the best solution for your unique space. Schedule a free consultation with us today – live or virtual.