Boiler system advice please

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Hoping someone here can provide a bit of advice.

We’ve just moved house and the heating and water are both operated through a single channel conventional boiler. That’s ok when we’re having the heating on, as we get hot water as a bonus, but with spring (hopefully) coming soon, I’ll want to turn the heating off. The previous owners have told us they used the immersion everyday in summer for their hot water which sounds expensive and not particularly green.

So far the suggestions we’ve had are:

- turn all radiators to off so we’re just getting the hot water. I’m worried that will be expensive and if we get temperatures like last summer the header(?) rad will be making the house unbearable 

- pop an electric shower in the bathroom to only heat what is needed. Just a bit worried about washing hands etc in cold water water for 6months+ of the year

- fit a combi boiler. Ideally we wouldn’t be spending this kind of money right now, and I’m also not sure if they’re tough enough to handle the L shaped three storey house (the boiler is currently at the end of the kitchen (tip of the L) and will need to hot water to the top

Is there something we’re missing? Will be ever so grateful for any advice. 


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  • Apodemus
    Apodemus Posts: 3,384 Forumite
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    edited 10 March 2023 at 12:32PM
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    I would have thought it might be possible to fit a motorised valve to the CH loop so that you can shut that off through the summer months, but still run the boiler for a short time to heat the HW cylinder.  Depending on the lay-out there may be a need for additional plumbing alterations to make that feasible. 

    This would be like your "turn all radiators off" option, but mean that you were no longer heating the whole pipe-run unneccessarily.  Your heat-dump always-on radiator would still get hot though, if that was a concern.
  • oldagetraveller1
    oldagetraveller1 Posts: 1,275 Forumite
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    edited 10 March 2023 at 12:45PM
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    I would have thought that, like Apodemus, the best option would be to update the system.
    A three port motorised valve or motorised zone valves installed in a suitable place with a thermostat attached to the hot water tank.
    This will entail pipework alterations along with different controls/timer probably.
    Far cheaper than a new combination boiler with associated controls and pipework changes.
    Isolating all the radiators would work with the boiler only on sufficiently long enough to heat the h.w.cylinder contents.
  • badger09
    badger09 Posts: 11,247 Forumite
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    Sorry, can’t help with your question but on your point about washing hands in cold water - we & many others on here do that all the time. 
    You get used to it after a surprisingly short time. 
    If we waited for our hot water to come through some of our lengthy pipes, we’d be waiting a very long time and wasting huge amounts of energy & water at the same time. 
  • Reed_Richards
    Reed_Richards Posts: 4,205 Forumite
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    How do you control the boiler?  If you can program boiler times and room temperature then there is every possibility that that programmer could be used to control the valve necessary to give you separate control over your heating and hot water.  Or if not it should be easily replaced by one that can.  In fact the whole thing is so easy and so routine for a plumber that it's quite odd that it was never done that way in the first place.

    If you don't have a programmer you could probably save yourself quite a bit in running costs if you had one fitted.   
    Reed
  • Mstty
    Mstty Posts: 4,209 Forumite
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    edited 10 March 2023 at 4:45PM
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    Get a local plumber, two of three with good reputations round, tell them what you want to do and hey presto options and prices.
  • SianB1234
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    How do you control the boiler?  If you can program boiler times and room temperature then there is every possibility that that programmer could be used to control the valve necessary to give you separate control over your heating and hot water.  Or if not it should be easily replaced by one that can.  In fact the whole thing is so easy and so routine for a plumber that it's quite odd that it was never done that way in the first place.

    If you don't have a programmer you could probably save yourself quite a bit in running costs if you had one fitted.   
    Thanks - so there was a programmer/ timer that could only go on and off once a day when we first moved in (and no thermostat) We’ve replaced that with a hive so that we’ve got a bit more functionality and the potential to save a few quid too! 

    We bought a dual channel hive so that it could hopefully control the water too one day, but just not really sure what the most thrifty/ best long term option is to resolve that. 

    The whole system is bizarre - there’s a pump up in the airing cupboard that loops back round on itself - was supposedly for the shower pressure, but isn’t attached to anything so not really sure what the previous plumbers aim was… 

  • markin
    markin Posts: 3,854 Forumite
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    edited 12 March 2023 at 9:49AM
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    As Grid power is 40% wind and in the summer will be solar its very Green, just not cheap to use the immersion heater, If you fit solar it would be cheaper.

    If your on E7 tariff just for hot water your likely better off switching to single rate tariff.
     

    In a large house with many people and bathrooms its still recorded to keep the tank and use a standard heat only or system boiler, Not a Combi.
  • matelodave
    matelodave Posts: 8,620 Forumite
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    Many years ago we moved into a place that had a four pipe system with gravity hot water and just a crude programmer to call for hot water or run the pump to circulate hot water around the heating loop when the timer called for heat.

    No thermostat except the one in the boiler. You could not have heating without hot water and even worse was that there was reverse circulation when the boiler wasn't running so the hot water tank got cold overnight.

    Without too much effort I fitted a couple of motorised valves, one for hot water, controlled by a tank stat and another to zone upstairs and down stairs heating controlled by an upstairs and downstairs stat. A new programmer to control the heating independently from the hot water and interlocking so the boiler only ran when heating or hot water was called for using the auxiliary contacts on the valves. I did it my self, You dont actually need to rip out what you've got to make it better
    Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large numbers
  • nadsat
    nadsat Posts: 106 Forumite
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    Odd that a system boiler with a hot water tank would be installed without valves to control the heating and hot water separately. 

    As said it shouldn't be too costly to turn it into a basic S plan system with two 2-port valves, one for the heating circuit and one for the tank, with a controller. Presumably the tank already has a thermostat. You'd need a patch panel for the electrics as well as the valves and controller. The cost of the kit shouldn't be more than about £300. 
  • Lorian
    Lorian Posts: 5,710 Forumite
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    Maybe it's Y plan and already has a diverter valve which is just stuck mid way.
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