All About Central Heating & Installation

How much does it cost to install central heating? Everything you need to know to ensure
you get a good deal.



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All About Central Heating & Installation

Witten by Bernard Morgan (Engineer) & Adam Apperley (Marketing). Published: July 30, 2022. Updated: May 22, 2024

Our team of experienced heating engineers are able to install a new central heating system in 2-3 days.

Our quotes are fixed for 7 days, and we don’t need to come to your home to do a survey – saving you money. Instead, we use photos and video chats to ensure the quote is correct. So if you need a new central heating system installed, or want to upgrade your current one, get a quote online now.

What’s included when installing a new central heating system?

boiler

The boiler provides hot water for your radiators and any underfloor heating. The cost of the new boiler is important, but first, you need to decide on a combi, system or regular boiler setup, then you can decide on the best boiler for you.

Combi boiler

The average price for a gas combi boiler is between £550 and £3,200.

Combi boilers heat water from the mains supply on-demand, removing the need for a separate hot water tank or cylinder. Combi boilers are well-suited for homes with one or two bathrooms. There are many brands and models available, see our list of the best here. Combi boilers are generally more efficient than system or regular boilers because they don’t require stored hot water.

Reasons not to get a combi boiler? The hot water flow rate is limited by either the incoming cold flow or the boiler’s maximum heating power, whichever is smaller. This means the hot water demand in properties with more than two bathrooms could be too high.

System boiler

full system set up

The average price of a system boiler is between £750 to £2,600.

A system boiler requires a separate cylinder for hot water storage. The heating is provided through the boiler directly to the radiators. These systems are are often known as closed-vent or sealed system boilers because they use mains water pressure for efficiency.

System boilers can provide a high volume of hot water to many taps or showers. Turning on a cold water tap shouldn’t affect the hot water. They can be integrated with solar systems to save money.

Reasons not to get a system boiler. System boilers need a hot water cylinder which takes up space in your home. They can also run out of hot water if the demand is too high, as no hot water is created outside of the scheduled times.

Regular boiler

regular boiler

Regular boilers are available on average for £650 to £2,100.

A conventional heating system includes a boiler unit, a pump, a hot water cylinder, and a feed and expansion tank in the loft. The system draws cold water from the tank, which the boiler then heats. This heated water is directed to the radiators for heating or used to heat water in your hot water cylinder.

Regular boilers, with their uncomplicated design and fewer internal parts, can efficiently heat large properties and provide ample hot water.

Reasons not to get a regular boiler? Regular boilers need tanks and pumps. They can also run out of hot water during high-demand times.

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Heat pump

The average cost of an air source heat pump is between £8,000 and £12,000.

Heat pumps, like an air source or ground source system, use refrigerant to create heat. They’re like a reverse fridge. They feed hot water into radiators like other boilers but at a lower temperature than gas-fired boilers. Like system and regular boilers, they will also need a hot water cylinder.

The government are currently offering a £7,500 grant for heat pump installations. They are very efficient and, as the main unit is outside, very quiet.

There are reasons not to get a heat pump. Retrofitting larger pipework and radiators can be expensive. Gas is currently three or four times cheaper than electricity, meaning there are likely no savings on energy bills. To qualify for the government grant, homes must meet specific heat loss requirements.

radiators

Almost every room will require a radiator. The size of the room will dictate the best size and type of radiator. All but one radiator are required to have thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs). This is so your system meets current building regulations. Pipework must be laid throughout the home to feed each radiator with hot water.

controls

Building regulations require temperature-controlled boiler controls. Many are available, including wireless ‘dumb’ units that allow daily timed schedules and ‘smart’ controls such as the Tado, which allow control from an app. For example, the wireless EPH Combipack4 is a great product with a long warranty.

extras

As well as the boilers, pipes and radiators, there are a few extras that are required. They include; filters, chemical flushes, tundish (where required), boiler commissioning, warranty registration, building regulations and expert handover.

New central heating installation process

1. Map out the heating plan

You will need to consider the location of the boiler, any tanks and radiators. Boilers need a gas supply, a flue to bring fresh air in and vent exhaust gasses outside and a condensate pipe leading to a drain.

The radiators need to be connected to a loop of pipework from and back to the boiler. There tends to be a loop per floor, with underfloor heating on its own loop as well.

Will you need a cold water tank for a regular boiler or a hot water tank for a regular or system boiler? If you do, then placing the boiler close to the tank can be beneficial. If you want a combi boiler, you will need a cold water supply into the boiler and a hot water pipe out to your taps and showers.

2. Installation of the radiators in rooms around the property

First, radiators are installed. Ensure there is enough space below the radiator to connect to the pipework loop, which tends to be 10-15cm. The radiators will be fixed using brackets drilled into the wall.

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3. Lay the pipework

Lay the pipework on the ground and start installing. We always use and recommend copper over plastic. Pipes should run in pairs so that each radiator can connect to the loop independently.

If this isn’t done, each radiator in line will get cooler water to heat the room. Also, if a radiator was turned off (manually or by the valve), the following radiators won’t get heat. It could also cause a build-up of pressure, damaging the boiler.

You can hide pipework in floors and ceilings but this adds complexity to the installation. With concrete or solid flooring, you may need to run pipes along ceilings and drop the radiator connections down the wall.

4. Installing the boiler

Be careful – Gas Safe registered and competent heating engineers need to install boilers.

The boiler will need a gas pipe. This can run outside the house and come in through a wall or under floors. An electrical connection will also need to be available.

Boiler installation should be carried out according to the manufacturer’s strict instructions. This will ensure any out-of-the-box warranty is valid.

5. Fitting the controls

Whether it’s a wireless thermostat or a smart device like a Tado. You can now fit the heating controls to ensure correct operation.

6. Commissioning

The system will need to be filled with water and air removed in closed combi or system boiler setups. The boiler can now be turned on. Each radiator’s lockshield (the valve on the ‘out’ side of the radiator) needs to be balanced. This ensures a good flow to each radiator as water will try to flow through the easiest path, which may include missing a radiator.

How long will it take to install a new central heating system?

On average, it will take 2 heating engineers between 2-5 days to install a full central heating system. Installation times will vary depending on the size of your property and whether or not you are currently living in the property. If you are living in the property, the heating engineers will need to work around you so the installation will take longer.

Below you will find the typical installation times for various installation scenarios:

  • 1 Bed Flat

    Installation of a combi boiler and five radiators into a one-bedroom flat with one bathroom.
    Average installation time: 2 days

  • 3 Bed Semi-Detached Property

    Installation of a combi boiler and eight radiators into a three-bedroom semi-detached house with one bathroom.
    Average installation time: 2 – 3 days

  • 3 Bed, 3-Storey Terrace Property

    Installation of a combi boiler and 10 radiators into a three-bedroom three-story terrace house with two bathrooms
    Average installation time: 2 – 3 days

  • 4 Bed Detached Property

    Installation of a system boiler and 15 radiators into a four-bedroom detached house with two bathrooms
    Average installation time: 3 – 4 days

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Cost of central heating installation

The average cost of central heating installation in a 3-4 bedroom house is £6,500 – £7,900. For a 2-bedroom house, the average is £5,200 – £5,900. This is an approximate whole-house central heating installation price. This is NOT just a boiler replacement or installation.

BathroomsRadiatorsBedroomsAverage cost
1Up to 101-2£5,900
1-2Up to 153-4£7,900
2+Up to 204+£9,800

➔ 1 bathroom, up to 10 radiators, 1-2 bedrooms: average cost £5,900.

➔ 1-2 bathrooms, up to 15 radiators, 3-4 bedrooms: average cost £7,900.

➔ 2+ bathrooms, up to 20 radiators, 4+ bedrooms: average cost £9,800.

These costs are estimates. The final cost will depend on a number of factors, including boiler location, brand, fuel type, pipework, heating controls, required flue or pump, system economy and whether you are converting to natural gas from LPG to oil.

To get the most accurate quote please fill in an online quote and we’ll call you back to go through a couple more questions and your preferences to give you a full and final price. Or please feel free to call: 029 2009 9898.

Considerations for installing central heating

  • Your boiler budget

    The price of boilers varies depending on the make and model. This will have the greatest impact on your budget. We’re an approved Viessmann partner and will recommend them when they suit the new central heating system. We love their super high efficiency, great customer service and patented stainless steel heat exchanger.

  • Where will your boiler be installed?

    Typical installation locations include kitchens, utility rooms, airing cupboards, lofts and garages.

  • The most suitable boiler type for your property

    Will a combi, storage combi, system or a conventional boiler be best suited to your heating and hot water needs? If you’re not sure, give us a ring, and we’ll go through the different options available to you for your home or property.

  • The flooring you have in your property

    To install pipework, we may need to take up the flooring in your property. Depending on the flooring type, this can impact the time it takes to complete the installation. For instance, laying pipework underneath solid flooring which has already been laid is not advised. It should be noted that taking up laminate flooring can be damaging to the panels and these may not go back down in the same way.

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Case Study: Central heating installation by Boilerhut

In the video, you will be able to see a recent full central heating installation that we undertook in a property development in Cyncoed, Cardiff.

See the full case study here >

The property which was formerly a doctors surgery was being redeveloped into a day nursery and required an upgraded heating system to meet building regulations.

To this property, we installed the complete pipework, all new radiators, and an Ariston Clas ONE combi boiler.

Frequently asked questions

Central heating is the system that heats your home and hot water. It includes the boiler, radiators, any tanks and all the pipework that heats your home.

Planning permission is not usually required for central heating installation, provided the installation isn’t being undertaken in a listed building. If your property is listed and you are unsure whether you will need permission, it is worth checking with your local planning authority.

A sealed heating system means it works under pressure, normally 1-1.5bar. Your boiler will have a pressure gauge on it if your system is sealed. Sealed systems reduce common issues like airlocks and contamination. Combi boilers work on a sealed system.

Traditional open vent systems are open to the atmosphere and not pressurised. They use a feed and expansion tank to regulate pressure and accommodate system expansion.

  • For a 1-2 bedroom, 1 bathroom, 10 radiator house or flat, a 20-28kW boiler is generally recommended.
  • For a 3-4 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 10+ radiator property a 28-35kW boiler is recommended.
  • For a larger home a 35-45kW boiler is probably needed.

Remember, a bigger boiler isn’t always the best choice. If the power, measured in kW (kilowatts), is too high, you’ll be using more fuel to do the same job a smaller boiler could handle just as well. This means you would pay more than necessary for gas.

Magnetic filters are crucial for a clean heating system. They trap magnetic (rust, steel) particles, thus protecting the whole system, including the boiler’s heat exchanger. This will help improve the lifespan of your boiler.

Fitting a new central heating system or updating an existing one typically involves a certain level of upheaval.

Expect this short-term inconvenience to last for several days. During this period, you may need to remove or lift carpets and be prepared for some dust and debris on your floors and surfaces.

Yes. A central heating system will affect every room in your home and requires pipes, radiators, tanks, and the boiler. The installation process is quite labour-intensive and involves integrating these elements into your home’s infrastructure.

Yes. It’s complicated and requires an understanding of the boiler and the property. You also need to understand many legal regulations to ensure the system is safe and installed correctly.

Please be aware that only Gas Safe registered engineers are allowed to work with gas pipes and boilers.

Heating systems aren’t a single ‘thing’, they’re boilers, radiators, piping, hot water tanks (sometimes), filters and controllers.

The best central heating installations are systems that work well for you. They heat your home well and provide the perfect hot water flow to your taps and showers.

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