What Is a Combination Heating Boiler & Why Would You Want One?

Heating Boiler Confused Man

When you look at how much you spend on energy to run your household appliances each year, you may notice two important trends.

According to a recent national survey, as much as 62 percent of the energy you purchase each year is allocated to running your heating system (furnace, boiler, heat pump, space heater, etc.).

An additional 19 percent of that energy is allocated to heating the water you use for showering, washing clothes and dishes, and for other similar uses.

This adds up to a whopping 81 percent of your annual energy use! The remaining 19 percent goes to running other appliances, lighting and cooling.

We can’t do anything about the Canadian climate, which delivers more cold weather than hot in an average calendar year. But what if you could do something to control how much you have to spend to heat your home and your water?

For this, you may want to learn more about a nifty new appliance called a combination heating boiler!

What Is a Combination Heating Boiler?

A “combi,” or combination heating boiler, is an appliance that can do two things well: heat your home space and provide you with hot water.

Not only is this type of appliance highly efficient — up to 95 percent AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) with some Energy Star-certified models — at converting energy into usable heat or hot water, but it is also quite compact in terms of size. Modern units can free up more valuable space (up to 80 percent more!) inside your home for other uses.

In the past, combination heating boilers were typically recommended only for installation in smaller spaces with just one bathroom, modest hot water demand and no overlapping hot water usage.

Today, the combination heating boiler has evolved to the point at which it can accommodate heating and hot water needs in larger spaces as well.

Best of all, a combination heating boiler can often be linked to an additional stand-alone hot water heater for homes and workplaces with high-demand hot water output needs.

What Makes a Combi Boiler High Efficiency?

A high-efficiency combination boiler—one that can achieve 95 percent AFUE or higher—uses a heating method called “condensing.”

Instead of venting excess heat energy to the outside as “waste,” a condensing combi boiler recycles that heat energy and uses it to pre-heat water coming into the unit from the mains. This achieves energy efficiency on two levels:

  1. It means your boiler uses less energy overall to perform its work.
  2. It means your boiler recycles energy that would otherwise have been wasted.

How a Combination Heating Boiler Works

In essence, a combination heating boiler is a high-efficiency appliance that uses condensing technology to heat water and distribute it for heating and hot water as needed.

A combination heating boiler uses tankless hot water technology to provide heated water on demand. This removes the requirement for a space-intensive hot water storage tank. It also speeds up hot water output and improves water pressure at output, since the water being heated is flowing in directly from the mains.

Some combi boilers now have the option to store excess heat energy in an internal heat exchanger and reuse it later.

How a Combi Boiler Can Save You Money, Starting Now

Here are four key ways a combi boiler can start saving you money right now!

Upgrade to a higher AFUE unit

According to Consumer Reports, upgrading from an older boiler unit with a 65 percent AFUE to a new high-efficiency boiler system delivering 95 percent AFUE can net you an annual energy savings of around $364.

When you choose to link your combi boiler to a programmable thermostat (or simply use the one that comes with your appliance), you can save an additional 10 percent off the top of your annual heating and hot water-related energy bills.

Reduce your home’s heat loss

One cool way to save money from the get-go is to make sure the rest of your home is as energy efficient at conserving heat as possible before you even buy your new boiler! An energy-tight home can reduce your home’s heating load, allowing you to buy a smaller unit that takes less energy to operate.

Weatherstripping, caulking and sealing, and adding extra insulation around pipes and in between walls, ceilings and floors can help retain heat and lower energy costs.

Run your ceiling fan on “winter” mode

Switching your ceiling fans to the “winter” setting so they blow warm air down into the center of the room can also help you feel warmer and run your boiler less frequently, saving energy and money.

Schedule your boiler’s annual inspection and maintenance service

A well-maintained combi boiler will be more energy efficient to operate. It will also last longer!

You don’t need to schedule an inspection and maintenance service more than once per year. But making sure to do this annually can improve your energy efficiency, lower your heating and hot water bills and ensure your boiler does not present any home fire risks!

Will a Combi Boiler Work in a Space of Any Size?

There is a reason half of all home heating and hot water units in the UK are combi boilers! They are more efficient, cheaper to purchase, simpler to install and operate and cost less to run!

Combi boilers are becoming much more popular throughout Canada for all of the same reasons.

But what many homeowners and business owners don’t realize is that there is a new combi boiler called the Navien that can also handle the increased demands for larger homes and workplaces.

Here at Shipton’s, we proudly carry the Navien NCB-180, NCB-210 and NCB-240 to handle the heating and hot water needs for all size spaces.

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Contact us online or give us a call at 905-549-4616

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