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Boiler, water heater or immersion heater: which is best for your home?

You need hot water fast, without breakdowns and paying as little as possible. This makes it essential to choose your system carefully. We’ll tell you which one suits you best.

Heating is only used in winter, but we need hot water all year long and there are broadly three ways to achieve this. It is only natural to be unsure which to choose: boiler, water heater or immersion heater , the three most common types of equipment.

We help you understand in which situations each of them is most recommended.

  • Boilers: they can be natural gas or fuel oil. They serve both for heating the house and for hot water.
  • Water heaters: can be natural gas, butane or propane. They provide hot water only.
  • Immersion heaters: they work with electricity and provide hot water only.

 

Boiler: if in addition to hot water you need heating

If you need hot water and heating, your best option is a regular gas boiler .

If you are thinking of installing radiators or underfloor heating, a boiler is also the best solution, since it will provide you with water and heat practically instantaneously.

The boilers most commonly used are natural gas with condensation technology. They are able to make use of the latent heat in the combustion gases to achieve yields greater than 100%. What does this mean? It means you’ll save up to 30% on your gas bill.

If you want to install a boiler in your home remember that you’ll need a natural gas outlet and you’ll have to have it installed. If you’re not prepared for the expense and disruption this inevitably involves, you’d better opt for another heating system.

Another aspect to consider is the output of the boiler. You don’t need as much for an apartment with a single bathroom and a kitchen as for an apartment with several bathrooms, a large kitchen and many rooms. Reckon on 115 W per square metre .

To give you an idea, the most common outputs are 23-25 kW, enough for a standard home. But if your house is very large or you live in a cold area you can increase the margin and opt for 30-35 kW.

“Multiply the square metre area of your house by 115. The result is the capacity that your boiler must have.”

Water heater: only for water and if you already have a gas outlet

If you only need domestic hot water, the gas water heater is a recommended option.  Smaller in size than boilers and immersion heaters, they can heat all the water that enters the system as long as their capacity is not exceeded .

In other words they heat cold water by means of a gas combustion circuit (normally natural gas, butane or propane). There are also electric heaters , but they are not particularly efficient.

But water heaters are not all-powerful: they have a production limit which is measured in litres per minute. The most common capacities are 5, 10 and 15 litres per minute , but there are models with much greater capacities. If you want to know how much you need, you must take into account the number of people living in the house and the number of consumption points (bathrooms, kitchens and appliances).

If you already have a gas outlet, or if you don't mind switching to butane or propane, a water heater is your best choice. It is very simple to install and its fuel costs less than electricity.

“The key in a gas heater is its production limit. Whether it can heat 5, 10, 15 or more litres per minute.”

Immersion heater: if there is no gas outlet and/or for second homes

If you cannot install gas in your home, or if it is a second home, we advise you to consider the option of the electric immersion heater.  

It is very simple to operate: it accumulates a certain amount of water inside, heats it and keeps it at the temperature indicated.

The disadvantage is that when this volume is finished, there is no other option but to wait for it to fill up with water again and heat it to be able to use it. How much time are we talking about? It depends on the model and the quantity, but we’d say between one and three hours, more or less.

That’s why it’s crucial to determine how much water you’re going to need. Otherwise you’ll end up showering with cold water. Information for your calculations: each shower uses about 30 litres of water.

So if there are two people living in the apartment, you’ll need an immersion heater of at least 80 litres. With four inhabitants it will be better to opt for one of 100 litres and, if you are a large family, one of 250 litres.

Apart from its limited capacity, its greatest drawback is  electricity consumption , which is more expensive than gas.  The good thing is that you can solve this with the Endesa Tempo Happy Rate.You will have two hours of free electricity per day . So you can programme the heater for that interval.

Its greatest advantage is its versatility : fast, clean and cheap installation, it fits in any corner (both horizontally and vertically) and hardly needs any maintenance.

“Each shower uses about 30 litres of water. This information is essential when you go to choose an immersion heater.”

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