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Do You Know the Type of Boiler You Have?

You’ll know that you have a boiler in your home because you have central heating and hot water. However, if you have only lived in your home for a short period of time or you have never had to replace your heating system, then you might not have any idea of what type of boiler you have. You might have seen it in the airing cupboard or in the kitchen but even then, you probably haven’t thought about the type of boiler it might be. With this in mind, the boiler you have is likely to be one of these:

  • Combi boiler
  • Regular boiler
  • System boiler

At this point, it is important to recognise that there is a difference between the type of boiler you have and the kind of fuel it uses as these are two different things. When it comes to the fuel source, your system will more than likely use gas, LPG or oil.

If you are wondering what fuel it uses, then you will be able to determine this as you will more than likely receive a gas bill or you will have an oil or LPG tank located outside of your property.

As far as the boiler type goes, there are clear differences between the way in which they work and the type of home that they are suitable for. So, to help you understand the kind of boiler you have and what you will require should you replace it, we have created this useful guide for you to consider.

Identifying the Type of Boiler You Have

The simplest way to determine the kind of boiler that you have is to look at the components that make up the system. The things to consider are:

  • Whether you have a hot water cylinder tank installed in your airing cupboard
  • Whether there is a cold water storage tank located in the loft
  • Whether you have an external pump

A Quick Glance at the Boiler You Have

We have created a quick table that will enable you to determine the kind of boiler you have installed based on some simple questions.

Do you have a hot water cylinder installed in your airing cupboard?

Do you have a cold water storage tank located in the loft?

Is there an external pump?

The boiler you are likely to have




Combi Boiler




System Boiler




Regular Boiler

If you have answered no to all of the questions, then it is almost certain that your boiler is a combi boiler. This means that you won’t have a hot water cylinder tank or a cold water storage tank as a combi boiler contains all of the components required to deliver heating and hot water.

It is worth noting that you might still have these components and still have a combi boiler installed. If this is the case, then you should check to see whether they are still being used as part of your heating system as they might have been left from a previous heating system and no longer required.

If you are unable to determine whether you have external components, there is a way of checking and that is to see what pipes you have coming from your boiler. If you have five copper pipes coming from your boiler, then you are likely to have a combi boiler

The type of property that you have might also help to determine whether you have a combi boiler. This is because they are often installed in smaller properties that only have one bathroom as they will allow water to be sent to one shower or tap at a time.

Where combi systems are installed, the cold water comes from the mains supply while hot water is heated within the boiler and is done so when you need it.

Identifying Whether You Have a System Boiler

If you have answered yes to having a hot water cylinder but have said that you don’t have a cold water storage tank and an external pump then you have a system boiler. You should make sure that you check whether the hot water cylinder is still being used and hasn’t remained in place after the old system was removed.

One other way of finding out if you have a system boiler is to look at the number of pipes that are coming out of the boiler. If there are three copper pipes, then you probably have a system boiler. With this system, you won’t have access to instant hot water like a combi boiler. The hot water will come from the hot water cylinder which is often located in the airing cupboard. This kind of system is often found in larger properties with multiple bathrooms as this makes it possible to have hot water sent to different outlets at the same time.

Identifying Whether You Have a Regular Boiler

If you have answered yes to all of the questions in our table then this is likely to indicate that you have a regular boiler which is often known as a conventional boiler. Much like other types of boilers, you should also check the components to make sure that they are still being used to supply heating and hot water.

You can always check the pipes at the top and bottom of the boiler as regular boilers will have two pipes exiting the top of the boiler and one exiting the bottom of the boiler.

Regular boilers are known to take up a lot of space when compared with other systems although they do have the ability to deliver hot water to several outlets, which is why they are commonly found in larger properties.

Identifying Whether You Have a Back Boiler

If you have a boiler located behind your fireplace then this is a back boiler. These were installed between the 1960s and 1980s and are designed to be space saving while providing heating and hot water. However, they are highly inefficient and dangerous in some cases which is why they are no longer installed. If you are looking to replace one then we would recommend installing a combi boiler.

If you are looking to change your boiler or your current boiler has developed faults, then the time might come to change it. If you are unable to identify the type of boiler that you have from the information we have provided above then you should call on the experts. This will ensure that you identify your system and choose a suitable replacement that fits your needs.

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