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New homeowner (UK based) and getting to grips with all that comes with that. I previously only lived in a flat with a standard combi boiler, my new home seems to have an older system in place consisting of boiler + cylinder, but I would really like to understand how all of this works.

Now, I believe this system was upgraded throughout the years, as it includes a thermostat and a continuous flow of hot water (hot water is on demand, even when the timers are off, pictures to follow and questions at the end).

Boiler in the kitchen: enter image description here

Thermostat, downstairs and central in the property: enter image description here

Airing cupboard upstairs: enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

enter image description here

Behind the above I found this scary thing: enter image description here What the heck is that and should I be worried?

Based on the above I suspect I have either system 2 or 3 of the video provided in the comments, but I'd like to confirm this.

Some things to note:

  • I seem to have hot water on demand, I thought I would depend on the timers, or setting it up via the "switchmaster", but we have hot water at any time of the day!

  • Once heating comes on, it will shut off automatically once temperature on the thermostat as been reached.

Considering this, I seem to have all the benefits of a combi boiler, just with a lot more stuff taking up space and more energy?

I also noticed the shower could use a bit more water pressure, a new shower hose and head helped a bit, but not quite there yet, is there anything on this system that I could do to increase water pressure in my shower? Would switching to a modern combi system help at all with this?

  • Video reference for different types of heating systems: youtube.com/watch?v=OTkpaY38vTU – joao Oct 15 at 14:02
  • When you moved, did you take your old shower head with you? – Harper - Reinstate Monica Oct 15 at 14:28
  • No I didn’t, my old one was in a bad shape. Did buy a new hose and head today which helped quite a bit (previous owners also had some old kit) – joao Oct 15 at 14:31
  • Yeah, what you did there was reduce flow by using a shower head optimized for lower flow. When there are constrictions upstream, flow and pressure are different things, but tightly related. You could improve pressure further by reducing flow further. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Oct 15 at 14:55
  • I don't understand this - the new shower head we acquired today has helped considerably, whereas before I could not properly shower, now I can, albeit not in optimal conditions - it got way better, but still missing an "oomph". – joao Oct 15 at 15:02
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The small water tank (header per Owain) looks like it has no water in it. If that is the case, then it's likely your central heating system will have air in it, and so not work effectively. Try wiggling the ball valve to see if you can get some water in the tank.

  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Thanks for the answer; keep 'em coming. And, you should probably take our tour so you'll know how best to contribute here. – Daniel Griscom Oct 18 at 11:50
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  1. Please check that the immersion heater (the "Backer" on top of the cylinder) is switched off, as if that's left on it will cost a fortune in electricity.

  2. The cylinder stores hot water until it's needed, and it will keep warm for several days. As far as I can see you have a Potterton Suprima and it is not a combi boiler.

  3. The "scary thing" is a header tank in the loft holding cold water - you should have two, one for cold water to taps (and for the hot water) and one for the water round the boiler and radiators. It is normal for the radiator header to be 'scummy' but if that one tank is used for your tap water I'd be looking to get it cleaned out.

  • Thanks for the tip on the “backer”, that explains the electricity bill on the smart meter. – joao Oct 16 at 20:05

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