Boilers are a technological wonder we all too often take for granted. They sit there quietly, providing
us with warmth and piping hot water on demand. In fact, the only time we ever really pay any
attention to them is when they don’t work – and that’s when Great British Heating engineers can
step in to help.
Most of us will rarely think about our boiler, but if you have ever wondered how a boiler works at
the most basic level, here’s a handy guide:
Water and Fire
Simply put, boilers heat water or make steam that is then used to warm the property.
In the case of a gas boiler, a valve is opened when you switch it on. Gas enters a sealed combustion
chamber via small jets and is ignited by an electric ignition system.
These jets of gas jets are directed onto a heat exchanger linked to a pipe carrying cold water.
The heat exchanger, using the heat from the gas jets heats the water to around 60°C. The hot water
then circulates around your home – circulated by an electric pump – and passes through radiators in
each room. It then returns to the boiler, where it is heated once again.
What Other Types Of Fuel Are Used In Boilers?
While gas boilers are the most common, not all boilers use gas. Many use an alternative fuel, like
Electric boilers are generally used in homes where natural gas is not available. More than two million
homes in the UK are without access to a mains gas supply. Instead of burning fuel, they use electrical
power to heat elements which then transfer the heat directly to water.
Electric boilers are generally more expensive to operate than oil or gas boilers.
Oil boilers are similar to gas boilers. Instead of gas, oil burns inside the combustion chamber and
powers the heat exchanger.
But oil boilers need a storage tank, there is no oil ‘mains supply’ like there is with gas. The oil is
delivered to the home and stored in the tank until it’s required.
Oil boilers on the whole are more expensive to operate than gas boilers and are at the mercy of
price volatility in oil market.
There are some other fuels, such as renewable energy systems including biomass boilers and stoves,
heat pumps, and solar hot water. There are also some financial incentives to be energy efficient and
have renewable energy technology.
Whatever fuel your home uses, a well-maintained boiler is of peak importance for a comfortable
If you’re looking for a reliable and qualified heating engineer to repair or replace your boiler,
call Great British Heating on 0800 131 0275. We’re open 24/7! Our Gas Safe engineers are here to
help you with all your heating needs.