What is a Condensing Boiler?

What is a condensing boiler?

What is a condensing boiler?  As opposed to being a specific type or brand of boiler, the name ‘condensing boiler’ is rather in reference to the process, which includes condensing waste water vapour, in order to retain its latent heat.

This method was first championed in the UK in April 2005, when the government passed a law insisting that all gas-fired boilers, installed into new builds or as a replacement for old boilers, were condensing; later, in 2007, this became applicable, too, to oil-fired boilers.

This move was made as part on an initiative to make energy use in the UK more efficient, and it has recently been further supplemented by a Europe-wide gas boiler efficiency standards.  This new development has introduced a ranking system, in which only condensing boilers will be awarded the top ‘A’ grade.

Level of Efficiency

It is claimed by many leading manufacturers that thermal efficiency levels of up to 98% can be achieved.  This is in comparison to traditional designs, which can commonly  only achieve between 70-80%.  At the very least, condensing boilers are able to achieve 90% efficiency.

Conventional boilers in the UK, which still make up four fifths of the total UK market, produce ⅙ of the nation’s CO² emissions.  The new Eco-Design Directive, which runs concurrently with the recently introduced European boiler standards, is said to be capable of cutting emissions by up to 400 million tonnes, annually, in the EU.

Ultimately this is part of the EU’s focus of achieving a 20% improvement in energy efficiency, in the 15 years between 2005 and 2020.

How Do They Work?

The increased efficiency achievable is really quite simple:

  • Conventional boilers lose energy through water vapour,
  • By condensing this vapour the boilers reacquire its latent heat,
  • Such boilers are, thus, capable of increasing the energy efficiency by a considerable amount,

The success of this conversion is, however, dependent on a number of different variables, which include; design, materials and installation.  Thus, new technologies are constantly being developed to improve efficiency, reliability, cost, and durability.  This potential level of improvement is also outlined within the new EU standards, which will evolve once more in 2019 to include a new ‘AAA+’ level, which will only include ‘super-efficient’ boilers.

How Does This Benefit Me?

Fundamentally, efficiency is directly proportional to price.  In other words, the more efficient your boiler, the cheaper your energy bills.  This is, of course, also reliant on reliability and access to services, so this must also be considered when purchasing your boiler.  Above all else, in addition to saving money, by cutting your household CO² emissions, you also do your own little bit to protect the planet.

Choosing the Right Boiler

There a wide variety of boilers available on the market and the right one for you is dependent on a number of factors, including – home size, loft space, budget, number of bathrooms etc.

There are Back Boilers, Combi Boilers and System Boilers, all of which have their own unique advantages and disadvantages.  In addition to this, there are a range of different manufacturers of condensing boilers, including; Baxi, Valliant, Potterton, Worcester Bosch and Glow Worm.

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