You probably don’t need us to tell you that your boiler uses natural gas in order to power itself and heat your home. However, what if we told you that could soon be a thing of the past?

With the news that the UK has announced plans to be a ‘world-leading hydrogen economy’, as well as plans to incentivise ‘clean heat’, talks of the move to hydrogen boilers has become a growing topic for all.

But just what exactly is a hydrogen boiler – and what does this change mean for you?

What is a hydrogen boiler?

Much like a standard gas boiler burns natural gas to heat water, a hydrogen boiler instead burns hydrogen to achieve the same effect. While similar to a standard boiler, a hydrogen boiler does still require different flame detectors and burners in order to burn the hydrogen properly. 

Here in the UK, hydrogen boilers are still a fairly new invention, with names like Worcester Bosch introducing their first prototype hydrogen boiler back in 2020, with work to begin introducing them starting in March 2021

How do hydrogen boilers work?

Hydrogen boilers operate similarly to your standard boilers, albeit with some slight differences:

Hydrogen is introduced

When the boiler is turned on, hydrogen will enter the boiler through the main gas supply. During this time, oxygen will also enter the boiler through the air. 

The gases are burned

Once the hydrogen and oxygen enter the boiler, they are burned together using a flame inside. As previously mentioned, a different flame detector is used in hydrogen boilers to limit how much is burned due to hydrogen being a far more flammable gas than natural gas. 

The pipes are heated

As the hydrogen and oxygen are heated, they pass through a series of pipes. These pipes contain cold water which then warms up rapidly as the gas passes through them creating hot water which can then be used around the home.

Byproducts are removed

Water is created through the burning of hydrogen and oxygen, which is then removed from the boiler via the flue. Any excess hydrogen and oxygen can also exit the system this way. 

How efficient are hydrogen boilers?

One of the main advantages of hydrogen boilers over standard ones is that they are far more efficient when it comes to heating your home. Just 1kg of hydrogen creates as much energy to power your boiler as 2.8kg of gas would, meaning less gas is needed to achieve the same effect.

Hydrogen boilers are also seen as efficient when it comes to helping the environment as they don’t need to use fossil fuels. Households are actually one of the highest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, so the possibility to introduce hydrogen, a fuel that produces zero emissions, is seen as very welcome indeed.

Can gas boilers be converted to hydrogen?

Due to hydrogen boilers working in a similar way to standard boilers, only a few components need to be changed in order to change one into a hydrogen boiler, namely the flame detector.

Changing a boiler

Of course, you’ll need your gas supply to be changed to hydrogen in order to reap the benefits. The rollout for this in the UK is proposed to begin in 2023, although it is likely to be introduced slowly through a process known as hydrogen blending. Instead of converting to hydrogen overnight, hydrogen blending involves slowly introducing hydrogen into the mix over time, with a proposed 20% blend to begin with. 

Are hydrogen boilers cheaper than gas?

When it comes to price, the good news is that hydrogen boilers should cost around the same price as a standard combi boiler, so you can expect a price range of around £500 to £3000, depending on brand and size.

As for running costs, that’s a little harder to determine. While increasing energy costs could theoretically mean running a hydrogen boiler could be cheaper in the long run, uncertainty about the price of hydrogen compared to natural gas should hydrogen boilers become mainstream, remains to be seen.

Do Aquaheat sell hydrogen boilers?

Here at Aquaheat, we believe hydrogen boilers will be the future when it comes to heating your home. That’s why we’re proud to already sell Worcester Bosch Hydrogen ready boilers so you can take advantage of their benefits right away.

For more information, contact a member of our experienced team today. 

Nest thermostats are becoming incredibly popular across the globe as people move to more ‘smart’ ways of living. From lighting to music, and, of course, heating, the modern-day homeowner is now looking to control all aspects of their home from their smartphone. Fortunately, there are plenty of gadgets to help. 

However, you may find yourself wondering if your existing Worcester Bosch boiler is going to allow you to use all of this modern technology – or if you’re likely to find yourself facing a potentially costly upgrade. Well, we’re here to get to the bottom of that, starting with what exactly Nest is, and whether or not it can partner with your Worcester Bosch heating system.

What is Nest?

The Nest Thermostat works with most HVAC systems, letting you program and control it with your phone. 

Thanks to eco modes and the way it self programs, it can also save you money. In fact, Google estimates that since 2011, the Nest thermostat has saved “over 39 billion kWh of energy in millions of homes worldwide” – thanks to the way it learns from you and your home usage over time. 

If your thermostat is connected to heating wires found in the wall, then the Nest can be installed in the same position. Or, if your thermostat is wireless, then the Nest thermostat can do the same.

Heat Link is a device that comes with your Google Nest thermostat when you buy it. This technology is what connects to your heating system, and allows you to start and stop your heating through the Nest thermostat.

So, do I need a new boiler to use Nest?

Fortunately, it’s unlikely you’ll need to replace your Worcester Bosch boiler if you’re looking to use a Nest thermostat. Nest thermostats are compatible with many different types of heating systems, including a variety of boilers. As Worcester Bosch boilers come in gas, propane (LPG), and oil fuel types – there’s plenty of variety – meaning that you’ll likely have no issue partnering a Nest thermostat with your Worcester Bosch heating system.

If you have any concerns and want to confirm compatibility before you buy, Google Nest has a handy compatibility checker tool online, which you can use to determine if your heating system will work with the thermostat.

If you’re not sure if you need a new boiler, Nest compatibility aside, then don’t panic – check out our guide to the most common signs that you might need a new boiler. Or, if you’re not sure, contact one of our friendly team members for advice.

So, you’ve bought a new gas boiler but don’t know where to put it? Luckily for you, we’ve written a handy guide to swiftly navigate the do’s and don’ts of gas boiler installation to keep your home heated, stylish, and safe.

Safety Regulations

First and foremost, the position of your gas boiler must abide by UK building regulations. There’s no point installing your boiler somewhere because it looks nice, only to find it’s a hazard and having to take it down again. 

The main regulations for the location of your boiler are as follows:

There are also a number of regulations for the process of boiler installation. For example, the engineer you hire must be Gas Safe registered, the boiler you choose must be A-rated (or have a 92% ErP), and all gas boilers must be installed with time and temperature controls like a smart thermostat. 

Other things to consider

Alongside the legal and recommended requirements, you may want to consider the following factors to help you further down the line:

Servicing

When positioning your gas boiler, make sure you leave enough space surrounding it for ease of access. If a problem arises, you’ll need to be able to access it quickly and without obstruction for servicing. AQUAHEAT are always on hand to help in this instance.

Space

Although not the most important factor, the aesthetics and layout of your home do play a role in deciding where to locate your gas boiler. 

If your home has a notable lack of storage, consider locating the boiler in a more peripheral location (like the utility room or airing cupboard) to conserve space in the main kitchen and bathroom areas. You might also consider your home’s design, building the boiler into a cabinet or pre-existing structure. 

Temperature

If your gas boiler is located in a peripheral space like an annexe or garage, you may want to consider adding extra frost protection. These areas get colder than the inside of your home which leaves the system pipework at risk, threatening the boiler’s performance. 

Typical boiler placement 

Most commonly, boilers are positioned in close proximity to the kitchen or the bathroom because these areas demand the most water. But there are other options available too:

Kitchen/Bathroom 

Having your boiler in the bathroom or kitchen is undoubtedly the most convenient location. Not only will the water from your sink or shower, and bath be heated quickly, but the condensate pipe can be plumbed in alongside your bathroom waste. 

Many people have their airing cupboard and linen storage near their bathroom, which is always a viable option.

Another benefit of installing your gas boiler in your kitchen or utility room is the muffling of any noise the boiler may make. Other appliances like fridges and washing machines usually make continuous sounds, so the boiler will blend in well.  That being said, most boilers are fairly quiet nowadays.

Bedrooms

For homeowners whose bathrooms and kitchens are on the smaller side, bedrooms are another viable option. 

Often installed in built-in wardrobes or cupboards, boilers in the bedroom are hidden away and do not take up valuable cupboard space in the busiest rooms in the house. If you’re opting for a bedroom boiler, make sure to consider the safety requirements above too.

Loft Space

If you’re really limited on inside space, think upwards. Homeowners often banish their boilers to the loft to save wall space downstairs. 

While this is convenient for many, it comes with a caveat. Lofts aren’t always accessible, so if you’re planning to install your boiler up there, you’ll need to make provisions for it to be easily serviced. 

Another downside to locating your boiler in the loft is the distance from the rest of the house’s water supply. Having the boiler up in the rafters may slow down the rate at which your water is heated.

Loft installations also require a fixed loft ladder, loft light with switch and boarding to the boiler and 1m squared in front of it.

Garage 

Similarly to the loft location, the garage is often a longer run from the bathroom and kitchen, this does not affect regular boilers only combinations.

Conclusions 

So what have we learnt? Well, you can place your gas boiler pretty much anywhere (within reason). But there are definitely places in your home that work better than others. The bathroom, kitchen, or utility room are probably your best bet, while more peripheral spaces like the garage and loft are less efficient. 

As always, refer to the UK safety guidelines and contact AQUAHEAT today with any questions you might have about gas boiler installation. Alternatively, head over to our website for more information. 

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