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What kind of heating and hot water system do I have?

In order to troubleshoot and maintain your heating system, you need to know exactly what kind of system you have.

Recognising your boiler

Your gas boiler will most likely be located in the kitchen, utility room or integral garage. It will have a flue at the top or side that passes through the outside wall of your home to vent waste gases outside.

Conventional boiler system

If you have a boiler and an airing cupboard containing a hot water cylinder that looks a bit like the one to the left, then you have a conventional boiler.

This type of boiler heats water and stores it in the cylinder in your airing cupboard, ready for when you need it. This means that it is possible to run out of hot water (for instance if the shower is being used a lot). It also means that you have an immersion heater.

This is an electric heater built into the cylinder that can give you a boost of hot water if you run out, or if your boiler is not working. This should only be used as a back-up system and run for short periods.

Conventional boiler

Combi boiler system

If you have a boiler but no airing cupboard, you have what is known as a combi boiler. This type of system produces hot water on demand, directly heating mains cold water and piping it to your bath or shower when you need it. With this system if your boiler stops working you’ll lose both heating and hot water.


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