Factors to Consider When Choosing How to Update Your Central Heating Installation

05 July 2023


Upgrading your central heating system can feel like a huge home improvement project, with countless elements from underfloor heating to radiators and, of course, your boiler. There is now a wider choice of energy-efficient and high-performance boilers than ever before, and the right options can depend on several variables.

In this article, Gas Worx runs through some of the factors that will help make your choice of central heating installation more straightforward, and we’ve explained some aspects of your property that could influence the ideal new heating system.

Our advice is never to feel rushed, or to impulse buy, since your boiler and the other components within your central heating can be a big expense. Making informed choices now may reduce the costs of running your home and mean you won’t need to consider any further upgrades for many years.

Mapping Out Your Central Heating Requirements

Step one is to pinpoint what you need to replace since, as we’ve intimated, a central heating system is about far more than solely the boiler! You might be looking to replace like-for-like, need to upgrade a specific part of your system that isn’t functioning properly or could be evaluating the central heating installation cost of a complete overhaul and adding new features.

Installing central heating systems can include:

  • A new boiler installation and connecting pipework with various potential fuel sources.
  • Radiators and underfloor heating controls.
  • Accessories like radiator valves and thermostats.
  • Optional additions like pumps, fan heaters, programmers and water tanks.

    At this stage, you can consider the available storage space, which may inform the boiler and fuel type you select. For example, a combi boiler may be better suited to more compact properties since it doesn’t need a separate water tank.

    However, your priorities might also mean you’re interested in sustainable heating systems powered by renewables, in which case an air source heat pump may be better aligned.

    Factors to Consider Before Arranging a New Central Heating System Installation

    There are several practicalities of upgrading or renewing your central heating, and while it’s good to have a baseline idea of what you’d like your system to look like or which fuel sources make the most sense for your lifestyle and property location, the size of your home may also affect your choices.

    Space capacity is important. If you have limited space to fit a boiler or live in a flat or house without room for a water tank, you can quickly narrow down the appropriate options.

    Before any Gas Worx engineer recommends a boiler or a central heating set-up, we look at a few aspects, such as the climate in your region. Most properties in Southampton and around the south have fairly mild temperatures. Still, if your home is exposed to coastal winds, this may make a difference to the performance outputs your boiler and central heating need to deliver.

    Next, we’ll explain some other factors and why they might be vital considerations.

    Property Orientation and Insulation

    More and more homeowners are looking at ways to make their properties more sustainable and climate-friendly, as well as reducing the costs of central heating. There are various options, but you could look into a heat pump or a highly rated, modern energy-efficient boiler.

    The suitability of these central heating solutions may depend on how well your property is insulated and its EPC rating. For example, if you have a period home with single glazing, draughty walls and significant heat loss, it can be advisable to address these issues beforehand. Doing so avoids continual spending on heating costs where the property cannot retain the warmth or requiring a boiler that has to work overtime during the winter, reducing its usable lifespan.

    Orientation matters for homeowners looking for solar thermal panelling systems, which work most effectively where the roof aspect and size of the home are appropriate to install the right specification and configuration of solar panels to replace a conventional boiler.

    Room Sizes and the Number of Occupants

    We’d also ask about the size of your rooms, where larger homes with higher ceilings need a boiler that can keep the property to the appropriate temperature, depending on your preferences, and provide the right heating and hot water levels to cater to the number of occupants.

    Generally, a central heating system will provide heating for both the home and hot water. However, this may differ if you have a separate hot water system or already have electrical heaters to maintain a comfortable room temperature.

    Either way, you should think about how many bathrooms, living spaces and hot water taps you have. If you have one bathroom and a sink in the kitchen, a small, efficient and compact boiler may be more than up to the task. However, you will need a much more powerful boiler to keep pace if you have multiple rooms, each with two or more radiators and two or more bathrooms.

    Budget and Fuel Preferences

    We’ve linked budget and fuel considerations together because they are often connected. The priority is to have the best possible central heating system within your budget and to ensure you don’t overspend on a boiler or other components which are far larger than you require.

    Homeowners might often look at renewable energy sources such as air source heat pumps and solar panels because, post-installation, these options run fairly autonomously and can substantially reduce your heating costs, if not remove the reliance on mains gas and electricity altogether.

    Properties in more rural areas may naturally be more inclined to use renewable energy since the lack of connections to mains gas typically means these homes use oil-based central heating, which can be costly.

    There are multiple options, from biomass boilers to heat pumps, solar energy to conventional gas and electricity-powered storage heaters, so we’d always advise booking a no-obligation heating engineer consultation to discuss which may be most suitable and what benefits each respective alternative offers in terms of efficiency, cost and reliability.

    Independent Central Heating Installation Advice

    We recognise that there are many options and variables, which can make it confusing for any homeowner to know which boiler, central heating system, or fuel type will best meet their needs, and installation costs.

    If you’d like further information about anything discussed within this guide or to arrange a consultation with our heating engineers to evaluate the right solutions for your home, please get in touch or book a visit at your convenience.

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