Purchasing a new combi boiler is pretty easy – you simply have to make sure the type and quality of model you choose is suited to the size of your home and that the unit is within your budget. Then comes the hard part – installing your new combi boiler. This can be a lot trickier; do you choose a fitter separate from the boiler retailer or manufacturer, for instance, or do you opt for an all-in-one purchase to save on time and effort? Does this affect your final warranty, if you even have one? And what about replacing an older storage tank heating system – does this need to be ripped out beforehand?
Should I install a combination boiler myself?
All of these things need to be considered before you have even thought about how long it might take and how much space the installation company will need. If you think this sounds like a lot of unnecessary hassle, you’re not alone – which is why so many homeowners are now choosing to install their new combi boiler themselves.
Of course, installing a combi boiler is no ordinary DIY job, so you need to think carefully about whether or not you’re up to the task; if you lack the skills or confidence, you are always better off leaving it to a professional. In particular, if you are installing a new gas combi boiler, you’ll need to hire a Gas Safe engineer to do the job for you; it’s a legal requirement that anyone who installs, repairs or services gas appliances in the UK must be Gas Safe registered.
If you decide to go ahead with the installation yourself, you need to be aware that an older storage-tank heating system might need to be ripped out before you begin (although if you’re really daring and/or prepared and skilled you can do this yourself too). Additionally, you need to make sure you have the time to get the job done; installing a new combi boiler can take at least a couple of twelve-hour days, so make sure you can get (and afford!) the time off work before taking up such a lengthy DIY job. Having these parts laying around your home for a couple of weeks will involve a lot of clutter and no heating! As long as none of these factors have put you off, you’re more or less ready to get started!
How To Install a Combi Boiler
Firstly, you need to get acquainted with all the necessary laws and regulations regarding combi boiler installation, including the Part P of the UK Building Regulations. These do outline the best ways to avoid risks such as fire or physical injury, but also reference more specific areas of concern such as how to handle electrical wiring.
Study your boiler’s instruction manual
Read over the instruction manual as thoroughly as possible (twice if necessary), making sure you know exactly what needs doing and figuring out if you are really up to the task. It’s also a good idea to lay out and list all the materials before you begin too; count out the unit, flue, all the necessary copper-piping and new radiators and you are ready to go!
Figure out placement and spacing
The best way to start installation is to figure out where all your materials need to be placed; that includes a place for the boiler unit (which contains the hot water storage cylinder, pump, feed/expansion tanks and controls all in one); positioning your new radiators for optimum heat exposure and ensuring each item is surrounded by enough space for air circulation and follow-up maintenance.
When installing new radiators, figure out pipe routes
If you are installing new radiators, you will then need to figure out your pipe routes. This usually involves setting out a two-pipe (parallel) system, which includes an initial flow-line and a secondary return pipe. When laying these out it’s a good idea to use coloured tape or something similar to define just which pieces needs connecting to each other.
Fitting the boiler to the wall
Then comes the real task; fitting your boiler to the wall and setting up all the necessary pipe work. This task will obviously take the longest, as you need to take extra caution in making sure everything is exactly where it should be, and then properly fitted and secured too. Be sure to switch off water and electrics too before you start!
If you have new radiators, you will also need to do a little air venting once everything is installed and in place ready to begin – just bleed each one by turning the valve or key at the bottom until a small amount of water spills over the top (have a cloth ready to catch any overflow too).
As you can see, it’s a lot simpler to install a combi boiler yourself than you might have originally thought – but that doesn’t mean precautions shouldn’t still be taken during installation. As long as you keep safe and take your time, your heating should be up and running within a matter of days!