The term condensing boilers is a little bit of a misnomer these days, as now nearly all boilers manufactured for the UK market utilise this technology.
So if you see manufacturers banging on about how good their condensing technology is, well, yes it might be, but it’s like an engine in cars, all of them have one. There are nuances of course – different degrees of effectiveness, but it all comes down to the same theory.
And if you purchase a new boiler for your house, then by law, it should be a condensing boiler (or high efficiency which is their less scientific title) which returns maximum efficiency, which means it should ideally be rated within the A band (that’s 90% efficiency, or above), or sometime B band of the SEDBUK scale. Anything less cannot be fitted unless, and this is specified within the building regulations, the property won’t allow the physical fitting of a high efficiency boiler. This might be in a country cottage, or terrace house that cannot accommodate the ancillary equipment needed by a condensing boiler.
Back boilers in ‘traditional’ style properties get the most exceptions, because architecturally they cannot also accommodate the flue, or drain pipe to the outside that a high efficiency boiler needs. Although Baxi manufacture their Bermuda boiler which is A rated SEDBUK and therefore high efficiency.
Just a quick note on SEDBUK. It stands for Seasonal Efficiency of Domestic Boilers in the UK and is the body for assessing manufacturer’s products performance when compared across a standard criteria. So, all you need to know when buying a boiler, or having one recommended to you, is that it should be A rated. If it’s B ask yourself why it can’t be A, and if it’s less than B, walk away, unless your installer so that your house cannot accommodate a high efficiency boiler.
It’s not just a Government whim of course. A high efficiency boiler will mean you burn less gas, spend less money on your bills and create less emissions for the asthmatic global environment.
So, in short, yes, be impressed when you read condensing technology, but don’t get too excited. It’s nowadays basically a legal requirement and you want any further brownie points for choosing such a model.
And for anyone out there who doesn’t exactly know what a condensing boiler is, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised to hear that it’s very efficient because it has two grabs at the combusted energy. One at the point of combustion and one at the point of the collection of the exhaust gases. And to this it requires two heat exchangers a fan in the flue and a drain pipe to remove the resulting liquid (condensate) which is produced.
Everyone’s a winner.