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Hi folks, after many months of obsessively following the housing market I took the plunge and got a decent 3 bed semi in Belfast for 155k.

At the moment I am busy getting it tidied up, but I am stuck as to what to do about heating.

Currently the house has oil in it, but I was tempted to get gas in as we are in a phoenix gas area.

I like the idea of getting rid of the boiler house, oil & water tanks, flue etc. but is it overkill if the oil is working ok? The downside of gas might be that the boiler takes up some space in the kitchen.

I like the convenience of gas, and it seems we can convert for about £1,200 as phoenix are giving you £400 in a boiler scrapage scheme.

The house is quite well insulated, and me and the wife don’t like a lot of heat, we tend to only put it on for an hour or two when it’s really cold.

Has anyone any views on which heating system is better, or is it 6 of one half a dozen of the other?

All opinions welcome.



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Its coming into the summer now so you are not going to get a feel for what you will spend on heating. If you can wait I would see what next winter costs you and then speak to someone else around you, who has Gas and see if there is much difference. Updating your oil boiler to a more efficient one may well be the cheapest option.

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Cost wise I think there is not much in it, too hard to compare houses really.

Gas has the benefits of space as you say, + no smells/leaks etc, but the disadvantages are typically the heat exchangers seem to go quite regularly. It also seems to be able to throttle more efficiently, were as oil systems need to run a full tilt all the time.

Make sure you get one (gas) with a stainless steel heat exchanger. I got a really good Viessman with a 10 year guarantee on the exchanger, was only about £1,200 and was a complete system boiler with pump and expansion tank. Sounds like the scrappage scheme is just a marketing ploy.

I would also avoid a combi system, there are more complicated and always seem to have trouble keeping up in winter. The system in this rented house is miles away from the bathroom, *boiler fitted where most convenient for the fitter!* takes about 1 minute to get hot water through, and seems to have replaced a hot water tank beside the bathroom. If you have a tank you can still have hot water with the immersion if the boiler fails. The whole system is just less stressed. I'm pretty sure an insulated tank would be more efficient than a combi in this case.

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I take the view that costwise some of the time one will have the advantage and at other times the other one will. One thing you can be sure of is that both will be going up. In my experience gas fired systems have given much less trouble than oil fired systems. As Ride On says, don't touch a combi. They do seem to five trouble.

If you already have a basic gas system you could of course add an oil fired boiler. The rads and the rest of the system are not going to change. Then you wuld be able to use whichever fuel is cheapest at the time.

But remember, insulation, insulation, insulation.

Edited by Rare Bear
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  • 439 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

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      • down 5% +
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