What does gas fired combi boiler mean?
The title gas fired combi boiler can easily be explained. Lets break it down bit by bit.
Gas fired refers to the energy source. In the UK, there are four main sources of energy that can be combusted to create the heat: gas, oil, solid fuel and renewable energies. There is of course electricity, but, unlike mainland Europe, it has never really caught on as a way of heating water (think of the now infamous immersion heater), because of the cost.
Gas is the predominant fuel source. And a gas fired combi boiler is the most common type of heating device now used in the UK. Gas used to be comparatively cheap and plentiful in the UK, as North sea gas fields gave up abundant supplies, but as they are now dwindling, it is being imported from other countries and the price is steadily rising. A new gas line from Norway is helping – as are imports brought by sea from the Middle East – but soon the UK will be a net importer of gas and the cheap days are long gone. There is also LPG where mains gas is not available, but this has always been very expensive.
Another fuel which tends to be used where gas mains is not available is oil. This fuel has a chequered history and goes on a roller coaster ride from cheap and plentiful, to scarce and expensive. Once again, North sea oil fields are running out and this, added to increasing demand from the emerging markets, means it is now very expensive. The problem with oil, is that it can be made into so many things. So apart from heating oil (kerosene), it can be made into jet engine fuel (another form of kerosene), petrol, diesel and plastics. This increases its demand. It is fortunate that a gas fired combi boiler does not need oil to work.
Solid fuel (coal, wood) used to be king of the jungle when fires were open and the high efficiency boiler was just a glint in the heating engineer’s eye. But, although coal is unlikely to make a major comeback unless it can clean up its act, solid fuel in the shape of carbon neutral wood, is making a comeback. Biomass fuels are now the in thing, given that wood pellets for example, are carbon friendly, comparatively cheap and are highly efficient (up there with SEDBUK Band A boilers).
Renewables stroll into the biomass area, but in this case, they tend to mean things like solar, wind, or even wave power. Dismissed as a hippie dream for many years, many European nations have embraced the renewable concepts and outbid each other to look ‘cool’.
So, remember, a gas fired combi boiler is run of that stuff that you can’t see and hisses a lot!