When it comes to keeping our homes warm in winter and cutting down on the heating bills, it seems everyone’s got an opinion. There are plenty of tips and tricks out there when it comes to heating systems, but which ones are true?
There’s actually a lot of unsolicited heating advice that we hear pretty often, a lot of it plain wrong – so we’ve pulled together some of the most common misconceptions about heating, boilers and boiler ban on new builds and debunked them in this guide.
Myth #1 - It's cheaper to leave the heating on low all day
While this is a hotly-debated topic, it certainly is a myth.
In fact, turning on the heating only when you need it will reduce your energy bills, simply because you’ll only pay for the energy you’ve used.
To reduce your heating bills, the two key elements to consider are the boiler’s energy efficiency rating and how well-insulated your house is.
That being said, if you have an old, non-condensing boiler that has an efficiency rating of 85% (which would be a C-rated energy efficient boiler), for every £1 you spend on energy to heat your home, 15p of that £1 is being wasted. To put that into context, new boilers can run with as much as 99% heat efficiency!
While 15p may not seem like much, when you start to notice that for every £100 that you spend on energy to start with, you’d lose £15. Over the years that would become £30 (at 70% efficiency), and £50 (at 50% efficiency) – all lost simply due to a boiler operating at low efficiency, which adds up.
If you’re looking for ways to maximise the energy efficiency of your boiler, be sure to check out our blog on the subject.
Additionally, insulation plays a part in deciding your kW boiler requirements. A poorly insulated property suffers from poor heat retention and your boiler needs to work harder to keep the house at the same temperature.
Improving your cavity/loft insulation or upgrading your windows from single to double glazed will have an impact on heat retention. Thermal leak detectors can help identify areas of your home where heat is escaping.
Generally speaking, new builds are more efficient in terms of insulation.
Myth #2 - It's cheaper to heat a house with an electric heater instead of a radiator
This myth is not only untrue, but according to the Energy Saving Trust, electric heaters are one of the most expensive and inefficient ways to heat your home.
Put into perspective, using an eclectic heater to heat a certain spot in your house will cost you around three times more than using a radiator.
Myth #3 - Painting your radiator black can reduce energy bills
Although it might look trendy, painting your radiator black won’t reduce your energy bills.
The focus should be on insulating the walls instead to prevent the heat from escaping out of the house altogether. That’s why we advise putting reflective panels behind radiators, which will help reflect heat from the radiator back into the room. By doing that, you’ll prevent the heat from escaping through external walls and save money.
Alternatively, if you want to find out other ways to save money on your heating bills, we’ve got you covered in our blog.
Myth #4 - You should turn off the heating if you’re going away
While this makes sense in terms of not wishing to waste energy, the problem lies in the British weather. In very cold conditions, your house pipes can freeze, with a burst causing hundreds of pounds worth of damages not to mention the inconvenience of getting it fixed!
We advise you to leave the heating on at a minimum of 12 degrees when you’re going away rather than switching it off completely. Don’t forget to read our blog on how to unfreeze a condensate pipe.
Myth #5 - It is always better to oversize your boiler
Two-fifths of Brits believe that having a large boiler will help to save money. This popular myth is untrue, however.
The story behind this whopper is that back in the old days, where home insulation was so inefficient that much of the boiler heat was lost (and boilers had an energy efficiency of 70% or less), engineers would often advise oversizing the kW of your boiler to compensate.
That has changed nowadays, with efficient insulation and A-rated boilers operating on a 90%+ energy efficiency, so there is no need to oversize your boiler.
The only time you would think about oversizing your boiler was if you were considering an extension, converting a room into an en-suite, adding another shower or adding additional radiators into your property. Basically, anything that would increase the hot water or heating demand from your boiler.
There really is no need to oversize your boiler anymore, you would just be wasting energy – bad for your bank account and the environment.
If you’re wondering what boiler size do you need to heat your home, take a look at our blog.
Now that we’ve debunked those energy-related myths, let’s move on to some combi boiler myths…
Combi boiler myths
A combination or ‘combi’ boiler is a water heater and a central heating unit, all in one neat little package. Combi boilers don’t require hot water storage cylinders as system boilers do, nor do they require the cold water storage tank that a regular (conventional) boiler requires.
Combi boilers heat water on demand as you turn a hot water tap on, they do this by directly heating water from the mains water supply.
While there are only fewer boiler myths out there about combi boilers, we are here to help you to know what’s true and what’s not so you can decide if a combi boiler is the best option for your home.
Myth #1 - It takes an eternity for a combi boiler to fill a bath
This myth was only true over a decade ago, but luckily not anymore!
Nowadays, most homes in the UK have a combi boiler installed as they offer the most convenience in terms of being able to heat your hot water and your home without the need for a separate storage tank in your loft to heat water.
Modern combis can easily meet your demand for heating and hot water. All you need to do is make sure to find the right boiler size that will give you an optimal flow rate of hot water.
Myth #2 - Combis won’t heat a large home
That’s not true. Modern combi’s come in various sizes, which mean they can provide heating and hot water for different-size homes.
Nowadays, combi’s are powerful enough to supply multiple taps effortlessly. These types of boilers heat and store water ready for when you need it. Here you’ll find our size guide, which will give an overview of combi boiler sizes based on your house’s insulation.
Combi Boiler kW Size Guide
No of bedrooms and bathrooms
1 bed + 1 bath
2 bed + 1 bath
2 bed + 2 bath
3 bed + 1 bath
3 bed + 2 bath
4 bed + 1 bath
4 bed + 2 bath
5 bed + 2 bath
Myth #3 - There’s no backup if your combi boiler fails
This is true, you won’t get heat or hot water if a combi boiler fails. However, new combis are built to last, hence, they come with a lengthy warranty (5-10 year range). This means you’re covered if your boiler is no longer working.
It’s also with mentioning that, any combi boiler sold by WarmZilla comes with Gas Safe installation, system filter, system cleanse, inhibitor, wireless thermostat, up to 12 years guarantee, any flues or extension kits you may need; plus if your condensate or gas pipes require upgrading – that’s included in your fixed price combi boiler quote too!
Myth #4 - You can install a combi boiler by yourself
This is utterly false!
In order to follow building and safety regulations, a new gas combi boiler is only to be installed by a Gas Safe Engineer.
A Gas Safe Registered heating engineer is certified to work safely and legally on your boiler, ensuring safety and quality. For a boiler quote in 90 seconds, click here!
Now that we’ve wrapped up the combi boiler myths, it’s time to talk about myths regarding the so-called gas boiler ban…
Gas boiler ban myths
Many of you will have heard by now of the ‘Gas boiler ban’ taking place in 2025, meaning you may be worried about what will happen with your gas boiler.
For a bit of context, the Committee for Climate Change called for a ban on gas boilers in new build domestic homes by 2025, to reduce carbon emissions. It’s worth noting that this policy only applies to new builds, not to older properties.
The aim of this policy is to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels in the construction and heating industry, but with 85% of UK homes connected to the gas grid, there is a lot of work to do ahead of the ban and a lot of innovation required to achieve it.
By 2050, the UK has a goal to reduce carbon emissions by 80%, a difficult challenge to say the least. Whilst attempts to deal with climate change and protect the environment are widely welcome, this has raised a lot of questions and confusion amongst the public.
In this blog, we’ll help answer any questions you may have and debunk some common myths – as always!
Myth #1 - I must get rid of my current boiler before the ban
Worried about having to ditch your existing oil or gas boiler? Well, we’re here to tell you that you don’t need to be!
The ban in 2025 only applies to new-build homes. There are no plans to phase out gas boilers in existing homes.
That being said, the government may encourage more of us to ditch gas in favour of alternatives, using grants or incentives for insulating our homes or installing low-carbon heating such as the current Renewable Heat Incentive scheme.
Myth #2 - I’ll be fined if I don’t replace my boiler by 2021
That’s currently not true. The International Energy Agency (IEA) announcement has led to a misconception that people who still have gas boilers by 2025 will be fined, with some misinformed outlets stating the fines could be as much as £10,000.
However, the UK Government has not currently committed to the IEA’s recommendations, and there are no fines in place for people who don’t replace their gas boilers by a certain point.
This doesn’t guarantee that fines won’t be introduced in the future, but currently, the UK Government is focusing on offering incentives to homeowners who switch to greener heating solutions rather than punishments for those who don’t.
Myth #3 - Replacing my boiler with an eco-friendly option is expensive
This depends on the chosen heating option.
If you’re looking to install a heat pump, the cost of buying and installing heat pumps is much higher than that of a gas boiler, at least at the present time.
The average price of a heat pump installation is between £8.5k – £12k for an air source heat pump, and over £18k for a ground source heat pump – that’s almost 5 all-inclusive trips to the Maldives for a couple!
If you are wondering about the additional cost for the ground source heat pump installation, it comes from the external and disruptive work in the garden.
It’s fair to say that heat pumps are still not affordable for the vast majority of homeowners in the UK at current prices. By way of comparison, the average price of a conventional gas combi boiler is between £1.5k – £3k (including installation).
On the other hand, if you’re looking to get a hydrogen boiler, the cost of switching to hydrogen from a consumer point of view would be minimal. Hydrogen boilers are basically adapted gas boilers. So we would hope that engineers would be trained in how to switch over a gas boiler but beyond a certain point, only hybrid boilers would be sold in readiness for the switch.
For more about the future of the heating industry and the gas boiler ban 2025, visit our blog where we discuss all the green heating options, their costs and pros and cons.
No. Instead, turn on the heating only when you need it, this will reduce your energy bills.
The answer is no. Electric heaters are one of the most expensive ways to heat your home. It costs around three times more than using a radiator.
Painting your radiator black won’t reduce your energy bills. Try insulating the walls instead to prevent the heat from escaping out of the house altogether. That’s why we advise putting reflective panels behind radiators, which will help reflect heat from the radiator back into the room. By doing that, you’ll prevent the heat from escaping through external walls and save money.
The answer is no because your house pipes might freeze during the cold winter, causing hundreds of pounds worth of damages not to mention the inconvenience of getting it fixed! Just leave the heating on at a minimum of 12 degrees when you’re going away rather than switching it off completely.
The only time you would oversize your boiler was if you were considering an extension, converting a room into an en-suite, adding another shower or adding additional radiators into your property. Basically, anything that would increase the hot water or heating demand from your boiler.
Not anymore as modern combis can easily meet your demand for heating and hot water. All you need to do is make sure to find the right boiler size that will give you an optimal flow rate of hot water.
Yes, as modern combi’s come in various sizes, which mean they can provide heating and hot water for different-size homes.
Please don’t attempt that! In order to follow building and safety regulations, a new gas combi boiler is only to be installed by a Gas Safe Engineer.
The ban in 2025 only applies to new-build homes. Currently, there are no plans to phase out gas boilers in existing homes.
That’s currently not true. The IEA announcement has led to a misconception that people who still have gas boilers by 2025 will be fined, with some outlets stating the fines could be as much as £10,000. This doesn’t guarantee that fines won’t be introduced in the future, but currently, the UK Government is focusing on offering incentives to homeowners who switch to greener heating solutions rather than punishments for those who don’t.