Replacing an old boiler with a combi-boiler

Many families just replace an existing system boiler with another similar boiler and don’t consider the options which are available to them. Your boiler may be limping along, or you may have moved and are considering a replacement.

Combi-boilers can make a huge difference providing hot water on demand and giving you more space in the home. You can get rid of the immersion heater and your tanks. 

First, establish if your existing heating system is working well and whether a combi-boiler is right for your home and lifestyle. Combi boilers provide hot water without the need for a hot or cold water tank. Instant hot water is available the moment you turn on the hot taps as the boiler with fire up and heat the water in the pipes. As there is no hot water tank, this heating is considered much more efficient.

Reasons for installing a combi-boiler

The main reason is to do away with the water tanks, which will free up a lot of space. This is very important if you want to extend into your loft or if you have a small house or apartment where space is at a premium. Freeing up an airing cupboard for additional storage space is a real bonus. 

You will still need space for the boiler, but as this is typically similar in size to a standard heat-only boiler, it can fit in where the old one was sited.

With a standard boiler, the heat is usually produced twice a day regardless of whether it gets used or not – generally in the morning and evening. If the water doesn’t get used, it simply cools down and is a waste of energy. Combi boilers will produce the hot water when you need it – as soon as you turn on the shower or a tap. For many families, this will amount to substantial energy savings. If your family all shower in the morning, then a heat-only boiler may be the most suitable option. Once the first tank of water has been used, you need to wait until the boiler fires up or, reset your programme, to produce further hot water.

Changing your heating system

If you plan to replace a heat-only boiler with a combi boiler, then bear in mind that you may need additional pipe-work especially if replacing radiators or pipes under floorboards. Consider undertaking this project before fitting a new carpet, for example.

Condensing combi boilers are relatively standard and, whether you fit a combi or a heat-only boiler, it is likely to be condensing because they offer greater efficiency. There is an additional condensing pipe which will allow the condensed vapours to be drained away as the boiler is working and this is fitted usually to an outside drain.

When is the best time to change your boiler? 

We would always say before winter so that you can get the most out of your boiler when the weather changes. There is still time to do that before this winter sets in though. 

Should I swap to a combi-boiler?

We would say that if you have a small house and are looking to utilize space, then a combi-boiler is the best solution. We would also recommend combi-boilers if you are moving properties and thinking about refurbishment. This is the perfect time to consider a new heating system. 

If you have a large house with a considerable demand for hot water at any one time of the day, a system or regular boiler may suit you better. 

And, if your budget is tight yet your boiler needs replacing, then a system conversion will add to your overall costs. It may, therefore, be best to replace like with like.

What should I do next?

At Kemco, we are very happy to visit your home and have a look at your existing system. Our gas-safe engineers can give you the benefit of their experience and talk about the latest makes and models of boilers, their efficiency ratings and what would be best for your home.

We have gas fitters and engineers cover London, Surrey, West Sussex – particularly the Worthing area and parts of East Sussex. Please contact us through the website form or give us a ring on 020 3196 1963

Bathroom Planning for busy families

Bathroom planning is key as our lives become busier and, there is nothing more relaxing than returning from a day at work to your luxury bathroom. 

Ensuite bathroom designs – 5-star luxury at home

If you’re planning to make some improvements to your home this spring, you may well have considered making some changes to your master bedroom.

Double-basin vanity units and the new double showers, ‘his and her showers’, are becoming a favourite addition to busy homes for professionals and families alike and maintains harmony in the home.

When it comes to designing an ensuite for two people it is all about considering what you want to store, will you want a bath as well as a shower? Of course, if space and money are ample, you could even splash out on twin baths – possibilities are endless.

Showers and spa-baths

New shower units, or cabins, can give you the full steam and sauna experience and large baths can offer integrated body jets that provide a full spa experience. 

Double basin vanity units and wall-hung WCs

These are all the fashion and ideal for couples who have less space but want to make the daily routine a little easier. Short of space? Why not consider wall-hung WCs and slim-lined basins?

Free-standing baths for a touch of glamour

Adding a free-standing bath to your home creates interest in the room and an illusion of more space.

Chic but compact bathroom designs 

If you are wondering if your master bedroom could fit in a compact bathroom/shower design, then think back to the last few hotels in which you stayed. Hotel bathrooms are very chic and compact, often with double hand basins, storage units and counter options plus wall-hung sanitaryware and storage to keep everything out-of-site.

Once you have planned your room consider whether your bedroom colours should complement your ensuite or whether you would prefer a contrasting colour scheme. If you consider the finish, at this stage, it will help guide you with the choice of surfaces and also the fittings that will enhance your overall theme. Don’t forget the mood lighting, re-charging points for shavers and toothbrushes and even the mirrors.

Family-friendly bathrooms

Family homes have become more multi-generational over the past decade and designing a bathroom to meet the needs of many, rather than the few, can be practical, affordable and look fantastic.

There is so much choice nowadays that finding the right storage solutions, basins, WCs and hard-wearing surfaces has never been easier. A family bathroom needs to feel welcoming for all and using a wood finish and led sensor lighting can be hugely beneficial for older and young family members. 

If there are young children in the family, then avoid angular edges and opt instead for rounder-shaped basins with more organic lines. Non-slip surfaces are essential on the floors, for both bath and shower areas and, compact baths, will help reduce water usage and be safer for smaller children. There are some excellent design choices which aid children’s independence as they grow. 

Installing underfloor heating

Are you renovating your home, planning a new bathroom or disposing of radiators or looking at an alternative way to heat an extension to your home? Have you considered underfloor heating?

Underfloor heating is an ideal solution to heat a wetroom as tiles are a good conductor of heat and, its invisibility ensures that tiling on walls and floors are continuous. Your wetroom drainage will need to be adequate, and the walls and floor tanked. Another popular area for installing underfloor heating is below a large open plan kitchen/dining room. Underfloor heating is an extremely effective way to heat your home or, part of your home. Underfloor heating is growing in popularity and can effectively heat any size room. Not only is underfloor heating invisible, but its compatibility with most types of flooring provides an even heat. You can also zone different areas and control each area through a central thermostat.

Types of underfloor heating

There are two systems to choose from: a wet system or a dry system, water or electric. Every underfloor heating project is different, and we would always recommend the most efficient and cost-effective system for your project.

Wet underfloor heating system (water)

The wet system is when water is heated and pumped through pipes embedded below the floor. A wet system is generally cheaper to run than electric heating and cheaper to install in new builds and full refurbishments. A water underfloor heating system can be run using low energy usage heat pumps, and the system can be remotely controlled via PC, iPad or mobile phone. This system is the best system for a large area or multiple rooms.

Dry underfloor heating (electric)

Electric underfloor heating is relatively easy to install and cheaper in smaller areas such as a bathroom or small kitchen. It can be retrofitted in an existing home without too much disruption, and the floor height increase can be as little as 3 mm. There is a choice of different wattage options. If you are installing a wet system – ask about pipe guarantees. You should be looking at a guaranteed 50-year lifespan in accordance with industry standard DIN 4726, but it is possible to get a 100-year guarantee if this is important to you.

Best floor coverings for underfloor heating

Warm water underfloor heating works well with many floor coverings including wood, types of vinyl and carpet. Tiles are the most thermally conductive and transfer heat to the floor surface quickly and efficiently. Tiled floors are a very popular choice in kitchens and bathrooms. Engineered wood floors can be laid directly over underfloor heating systems – as a floating floor, or nailed to battens or joists.

When laying carpets, use an underlay that is not a good thermal insulator as this will allow the heat to pass easily through the layer and into the carpet. Felt and polyurethane underlays should be avoided as they affect the transfer of heat.

What’s new this spring when it comes to bathrooms?

If you are looking at revamping your bathroom this year, the new bathroom designs reflect on space as a haven in which to escape and relax.

Beautiful bathroom designs for 2018

If you are lucky enough to have a large bathroom or even a spare bedroom that you could turn into a spacious new bathroom, this would be an ideal solution. Alternatively, you can use design and colour to give the illusion of more space with large tile flooring and strategically placed mirrors.

Nothing feels more luxurious than a freestanding bath. It is a superb way to make a statement and to add a dynamic focal point to your new bathroom. Do consider that if you are going to site your bath in the centre of your new bathroom, you will almost certainly need to budget for new pipes.

Another way to indulge the senses is to fit a whirlpool bath. Specially fitted jets can improve a long list of aches and pains from circulation problems to joint relief and sore muscles after your favourite exercise leaves you needing more than just a relaxing soak.

So what do you choose when it comes to style?

Are you thinking traditional to go with a Victorian or Georgian styled home or contemporary?

The traditional classic tubs of yesteryear are popular with either claw or dragon feet and add a definite vintage appeal which can be matched with more conventional fixtures.

On the other hand, a contemporary bath with its angular lines and less conventional shape can make your bathroom a real talking point. Add modern bathroom fixtures such as a square sink basin and minimalist taps such as a waterfall or chrome mixer and you will become the envy of your neighbours.

Shower baths are practical and space-saving

Not everyone is blessed with space so do consider a ‘back to wall’ shower bath which will fit close to a wall to maximise space. Alternatively, an L-shaped bath is a good solution for combining both shower and bath space as is a P-Shaped bath providing that extra space at one end for family members who prefer to shower rather than bath. Some examples of the shower baths that we install can be seen here.

Mix materials, colours and textures

Granite is out, and quartz is in, and it is available in many different hues, surfaces and patterns. Quartz will work on your floors, counters, vanities and walls – not only is it environmentally friendly but it has a slightly lower price tag than granite.

When it comes to choosing a sink, porcelain is taking a back seat, and hand-carved stone is the preferred material for 2018.

Bold brass hardware is also making a return emitting warm tones and complementing some new spring paint colours.

Industrial is becoming the new trend

The influence of trendy industrial loft conversions is transferring to a new bathroom trend with exposed pipes, metal tubs and sinks, use of concrete and raw brick walls. This is not everyone’s ideal image of a relaxing and indulgent space but it is purposeful and a trend we feel is sure to continue in the right properties and for fashionistas in home improvements.

Lighting and technology becomes a strong element of bathroom design

Just remember that technology is accessible to everyone nowadays so don’t neglect it when planning your inner sanctuary. Consider fitting hi-tech shower jets and controls, motion-detecting lights, speakers that are voice activated and led mirrors that demist by sensor control.

These are just a few of the latest innovations that we can install when planning your new bathroom refit.

If you are looking for further inspiration, let us guide you to a few more ideas as mentioned in Ideal Home last month. If you see something you like, we can install any make or model of your choice as long as it is the right size to fit your room and … that is where we can come into our own. If you would like to use the services of our creative designer, just fill out our enquiry form or ring us for more details on 020 3196 1963 to make a splash in 2018.

Bathroom makeover

Make the most of your bathroom by using a professional designer

If you are not too sure what you would like your bathroom to look like and would like to see some designs to start off with, we work with a professional designer who can create a stunning bathroom from your original ideas and wishes or present you with a completely fresh concept.

Claire is featured in the September edition of House Beautiful and talks about how she designed a small space into a modern, streamlined bathroom in a Victorian terraced house.
The bathroom, plumbing, and underfloor heating were installed by Kemco, and Claire’s ideas certainly made this small bathroom a real feature of the property.

The owners were looking for a contemporary bathroom which was simple and unfussy. They didn’t want to spend too much money. Their existing bathroom had no storage and was cold and draughty.

Claire’s project plan included the removal of the old suite, a re-route of the plumbing, the installation of new floor tiles and the suite. Plastering Interiors finished the walls in a polished cement which looked great, and we got the chrome taps powder coated black to match the dramatic black matt wall radiator.

We fitted an elegant white bath sourced by Claire which had a slim profile and was free standing with double ends. Having installed the underfloor heating and laid the encaustic hexagonal tiles, the bath looked beautifully at home and was complemented by a wall-hung vanity unit and clever recessed shelving for storage.

If you would like to know more about our designer service, please don’t hesitate to ask.