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Posted on 8 June 2020

Types of Boiler and Fuels Explained

With so many different terms used and so many options, it’s difficult to know what type of boiler you have, what the different in the fuel types are and which can be covered under a home emergency insurance policy.

At Home Emergency Assist, we can cover a variety of boiler types and fuels as long as it’s not over 15 years of age, has no preexisting faults and doesn’t have an output in excess of 70kw/hr. Read on to find out more about the types of boiler and fuels we cover:

Combi Boiler

A combination or ‘combi’ boiler is a water heater and central heating boiler in one unit. These boilers heat water directly from the mains when you turn on a tap, so you don’t need a storage tank in your attic.

This type of boiler is both cost-effective and energy efficient as the water is heated instantly rather than being heated and stored in a tank.


  • Ideal for smaller properties and where there is little or no loft space
  • You only heat the water you need


  • Better for small households as hot water can only be used for one task at a time; e.g. one person can’t shower while another uses hot water to wash up with

Traditional Boiler

These are also sometimes known as conventional boilers and hot water is stored in a hot water cylinder or storage tank. Often, there’ll be an on/off switch so you can heat the water in the tank when you know you’re going to neet it and switch it off when it’s not in use.


  • Best suited to larger households where several people need to use hot water at the same time on a frequent basis
  • Good option for low mains water pressure areas


  • Hot water is not on demand, so once the storage tank has run out of hot water, you’ll have to wait for more to be heated
  • Less efficient than a combi boiler

Condensing Boiler

A standard gas boiler works by burning natural gas in order to heat your water. When you burn natural gas, water vapour and carbon dioxide are created as a by-product; these will travel through a flue and escape into the outside atmosphere, taking heat with them. A condensing boiler can capture some of the heat that would be otherwise lost from these by-products, cooling and condensing them back into condensate. This is then used to warm up the cool water that returns from your radiators.

Since 2015, all new boiler installations are condensing boilers as they’re at least 25% more efficient than older models. If your flue is made of plastic rather than metal, you most likely have a condensing boiler.


  • These are extremely efficient (a good condensing boiler can achieve efficiency of over 90%) meaning they make the fuel you’re burning go further and are much more eco-friendly.
  • Safer than non-condensing boilers


  • A straightforward gas boiler replacement can typically cost around £2,300
  • Require an extra pipe to drain away the condensate liquid.

Types of Fuel

Most UK households are connected to mains gas for their heating and hot water however, properties that aren’t connected to the mains grid will have to find an alternative solution. There are approximately 4 million people in the UK currently not connected to the mains grid for gas.

Unlike some insurers/service providers, we cover boilers that run on two types of fuel:

  • Gas: this is the most common type of fuel for homes connected to mains gas. This is still generally the cheapest fuel type and isn’t reliant on being delivered by road. You also don’t have to rent/buy a storage tank.
  • LPG: Liquid Petroleum Gas is delivered to your door and stored in a gas tank on the property. Like natural gas, it’s very efficient and when used in tandem with a condensing boiler can save you money on your heating bills.


To find out more about how we’re here to solve your emergency breakdowns with our boiler and central heating cover and other types of home emergency cover including plumbing and drainage and home appliances cover contact our friendly team on 0330 09 48 301 or request a call back online and get a free quote in minutes!

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