What is Central Heating? Different Home Heating System Types

James Elston
Written by James Elston
Updated on 22nd February 2024
Posted on 6th February 2024
What is Central Heating? Different Home Heating System Types

What is Central Heating in your home?

house - central heating warms your home

Central heating is the system to provide you warmth in the whole interior of your building or a proportion of the building to every room in the home from a heating source or a central point. 

It can also be used combined with other systems to control the temperature of the building.

More often, it is seen used in a colder climate to heat a group of buildings or building rooms. In a domestic setting, the central heating system is your boiler, the radiators, and pipework that is all connected around your home to keep it warm

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What kind of fuel does your boiler use?

What is a central heating system?

hot water - central heating can warm your water

The main type of central heating system that heats a home in the UK is a gas boiler. This is because most homes in the UK are connected to the gas network. it is the cheapest and most efficient way currently to keep homes warm.

Not only that, but it is also used in most commercial buildings like high-rise residential, office buildings, shopping malls, and hotels providing some form of central heating.

There are several ways to manage your central heating cost, as most people will want to get the most efficiency whilst paying as little as they can.

The most common way a central heating system works is known as a wet system. Warm water distributes heat evenly to every area of our home through a piece of network pipes.

You can connect the pipe network to the radiators in every room, or you can loop under the floor for having underfloor heating, both of the systems provide you with heating by releasing gentle heat in your room.

However, there are several various central heating systems available now on the market.

Our Expert Gas Safe Engineer Says:

Central heating is at the heart of pretty much every home in the UK. The size of your home will likely decide what type of boiler and central heating system is best for you.

James Murfin

Gas Safe Registered Heating Engineer

Central heating boiler systems

You will likely be fully aware that the most common types in the UK include a central heating boiler, which is an energy-efficient heat producer that helps keep energy bills down.

The cost of a boiler is around £1,500 to £6,000 dependent on the system chosen.

This will get your hot water and central heating, which peaks at 70-90 degrees, so the water is not boiled within your system, causing too much pressure or your boiler to explode!

It uses pipes for distributing heat water or furnace heat water and the help of heat exchangers or radiators to conduct the heat to the air. The best radiators do this more efficiently.

Hot water is usually produced to distribute the heat around your wet central heating system.

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There is no such system that is considered the standard central heating system. 

Each of the projects requires different types of demand, and that needs to be fulfilled by meeting up all the requirements from several aspects. The most common type of boiler you will see on a central heating system in the UK is the combi boiler.

Check out the best combi boilers here if you are considering replacing your central heating.

For this, you may need a well-controlled and advanced programmed central heating system which will be able to constantly monitor the system and adjust it according to the environment and its internal optimisation.

There are also some differences between central heating and local heating.

In central heating, the heat generates in one place such as a mechanical room in a large building or the allocated boiler room in a house.

The most common method is the combustion of fossil fuel to generate heat in the right size gas boiler for your home.

After that, the resultant heat starts getting distributed, typically forced by air through ductwork, steam fed through pipes, or water circulating through pipes.

How to drain a central heating system?

There are 6 easy-to-follow steps when draining a central heating system, this can be for whatever reason but is good for removing central heating sludge build up. Anyway, the professionals recommend the following:

Turn the boiler off.

As a precaution, we suggest that you turn off your boiler before taking any action. This will reduce the possibility of any unintentional injury by allowing the potentially hot water to cool significantly.

The water intake valve should be closed.

As you work diligently to drain the central heating system, you may ensure that no water enters the system by closing the water intake valve.

Find the drain-off valve and place a bucket underneath it or attach a hosepipe to it.

The drain-off valve for your central heating system must be found. After doing so, attach a hosepipe to it. Use a jubilee clip to tighten your hose pipe’s fit around the drain-off valve if you discover it is slack. This will prevent it from coming loose and contaminating your floor with unclean water.

Put a bucket beneath the drain-off valve if you don’t have a hosepipe. After it is filled with water, briefly turn off the valve, empty the bucket, and then repeat the procedure.

Pump out the radiators

First, make sure that all of the radiator valves on the property are open. After that, go back to the drain-off valve where you hooked the hose or set the bucket, and turn it on. The water in your central heating system will start to drain.

To quicken the procedure, open the bleed valves.

Open the bleed valves on your radiators to quickly drain the water out. When you do this, you will audibly hear air being drawn into the system. To prevent water from spilling, don’t forget to arrange containers beneath the radiators.

Finish the draining procedure

Close the bleed valves back up once you are certain that all the liquid has been released from the system and there is no longer any water filling your bucket or flowing out of the hose line.

Once every valve has been shut, go back to the drain-off valve with the hose tubing attached and shut it as well. There could still be some water in the hose when you remove it, so take caution.

There are several different types of central heating systems. 

There are many different types of central heating systems, such as:

Connected to Gas central heating Boiler, Electric central heating Boiler, Condensing Boiler/ Combi Boiler, Regular Boiler, System Boiler and Geothermal heat pump and air to water the heat pump.


Here are the Key features of Central heatingdraining heating system 

  • It doesn’t require any forced air movement, no hot and cold spots, no draughts, or noisy fans to contend with. The heat comes out unobtrusive and passive way. It warms both fabrics and objects within the room.
  • Heated water is pumped out from the hot water cylinder via underfloor pipes or into the radiators. It then releases the heat gently into the room.
  • In New Zealand, diesel-fired, and natural gas boilers are the most commonly used systems by people. Many models can also produce on-demand hot water for domestic tap use. Some of them also heat wet systems such as a spa or swimming pool at the same time supplying domestic hot water and a central heating system. To know further, you will need to gather a rough idea about the boilers.
  • The overall process is immensely good and efficient. There will be no water consumed, and when the water arises to the temperature, then it gets switched off. At the same time heat continues emitting from the radiators or the pipe.
  •  Every system is fitted with a time controller or a thermostat which allows warmth to deliver only when it is required. Additionally, individual radiators can also be used to fit with the thermostat allowing you superb control over the heating supplied in different parts of the house.
  • Central heating systems are quite easy to maintain, and draining a heating system with a boiler can be done with a bit of information from the Internet and some tools yourself if you feel confident enough.


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What kind of fuel does your boiler use?

The central heating system utilises underfloor pipes and can be installed in a renovation or new home to deliver heat on demand before the floor slab becomes laid.


A well-mounted radiator utilised in a system can use and install in existing homes or new homes.

The radiator requires a high temperature, which can be achieved by any central heating system and can be managed by a thermostatic radiator valve or TRV.

If you need a new boiler central or heating system, please fill in our contact form, and somebody will contact you as soon as possible to advise you on the best system to suit your needs. 


What type of central heating do I have?

When attempting to decide which of these you presently have installed and which you should get in the future, it’s simple to become confused because there are just a few primary types of home heating systems and replacement gas boilers available.

How your house is heated and the expense of doing so can be significantly impacted by the water system you choose and the boiler that is most suited to supply the hot water it needs.

Even though the variations might not be immediately noticeable, it’s simple to recognise your system by looking at a few important components and where they are located in your home.

The types of central heating systems you probably have are:

  • Conventional Central Heating – Two high-up water tanks are needed for this system, and a boiler is used to heat the water before it is stored in a hot water cylinder.
  • Combi Boiler Heating Systems – There is no need for a water storage tank elsewhere in the home because they run on pressurised water from the main supply.
  • Sealed System Heating -Both sealed (or vented) systems employ a hot water cylinder to store water until it is required by showers and faucets, and they both call for a hot water supply tank high in your home, often found in the loft.

What temperature should my boiler be set for central heating?

Set your boiler to at least 65°C if you want a decent combination of comfort and effectiveness. It won’t harm to increase the temperature a little. However, it’s important to not lower it than that. This prevents germs from growing in the water.

Written by
James Elston
James Elston Director Of Boiler Central
Posted on: 6th February 2024

James Elston is our resident boiler replacement and heating expert here at Boiler Central. With over 20 years experience in the boiler installation industry, James ensures that he knows everything there is about our Gas Safe boiler installations, energy saving and home heating solutions. This can be from simply procuring the latest best combi boilers, to reviewing and ensuring that Boiler Central maintains the highest standards across our boiler installation company.

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