How much does a central heating system cost? (£££)

A central heating system, including radiators, with a mid-range combi boiler will cost around £3,500 for a 1 bed flat, £4,250 for a 3 bed house and £5,500 for a 5 bed house. Costs for heat-only and system boiler heating systems, including the cost of a hot water cylinder, range between £4,000 – £6,000. Get a full breakdown of cost for installing a combi, regular or system boilers in 1-5 bedroom properties. The biggest variable is the cost of the central heating boiler.

What are the components of a central heating system?

A modern central heating system comprises a boiler, radiators, thermostatic radiator valves, heating control (i.e. a thermostat and programmer) and, depending on the boiler type, possibly an external central heating pump and hot water cylinder.

How much does central heating cost for 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 bed houses?

The tables below a breakdown of costs for a full central heating installation for a combi, heat only and system boiler. Under each boiler type you can review costs for 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 bedroom properties.

Cost scenarios for a combi boiler

Combi boiler

The table below sets out the costs of the component parts of a full central heating system installation with a mid range combi boiler, radiators, heating controls and standard materials costs, including labour and VAT. We have given total costs for a range of property sizes. Prices may increase if less common works are required, for example, an extra long gas pipe run or building/electrical works.

Central Heating Cost Breakdown1-2 bed flat 6 radiators2 bed house 7 radiators3 bed house 8 radiators4 bed house 9 radiators5 bed house 10 radiators
Central Heating Combi Boiler£750£850£975£1,050£1,200
Radiators/pipework/gas pipe£792£924£1,056£1,248£1,380
Standard TRVs£75£87£100£112£125
Programmable room thermostat£110£110£110£110£110
Inhibitor£25£25£25£50£50
Labour/VAT£1,650£1,650£1,980£2,640£2,640
Total incl VAT£3,402£3,646£4,246£5,120£5,505

Heat only boiler & vented copper hot water cylinder

The table below shows central heating installation costs for a mid range heat only boiler with copper hot water cylinder, radiators, heating controls and standard materials costs, including labour and VAT. The costs assume a standard installation set up for a range of property sizes.

Central Heating Cost Breakdown1-2 bed flat 6 radiators2 bed house 7 radiators3 bed house 8 radiators4 bed house 9 radiators5 bed house 10 radiators
Central Heating Heat Only Boiler£600£700£750£850£950
Copper/foam hot water cylinder/pipework£312£336-£360£372£408
Radiators/pipework/gas pipe£792£924£1,056£1,248£1,380
Standard TRVs£75£87£100£112£125
Programmable room thermostat£200£200£200£200£200
Inhibitor£25£25£25£50£50
Labour/VAT£1,980£1,980£2,310£2,970£2,970
Total incl VAT£3,984£4,252£4,801£5,802£6,083

System boiler & unvented hot water cylinder

The table below gives a breakdown of the component costs of a full central heating installation including radiators, mid range system boiler, unvented hot water cylinder, heating controls and standard materials costs, including labour and VAT. We have calculated the cost for a range of property sizes assuming a standard installation set up.

Central Heating Cost Breakdown1-2 bed flat 6 radiators2 bed house 7 radiators3 bed house 8 radiators4 bed house 9 radiators5 bed house 10 radiators
Central Heating System Boiler£725£825£900£975£1,000
Copper/foam hot water cylinder/pipework£1,032£1,032£1,092£1,212£1,322
Radiators/pipework/gas pipe£792£924£1,056£1,248£1,380
Standard TRVs£75£87.50£100£112.50£125
Programmable room thermostat£200£200£200£200£200
Inhibitor£25£25£25£50£50
Labour/VAT£1,980£1,980£2,310£2,970£2,970
Total incl VAT£4,829£5,073£5,683£6,767£7,057

Cost for replacing common central heating components

If you need radiators replacing, thermostatic radiator valves adding, new heating controls or a new hot water cylinder then these can be done at any time but its usually cheaper if done with a new boiler installation. The table below gives a guide to upgrading system component costs (they include VAT). NB the prices are based on ‘stand alone’ jobs, if they are undertaken as part of a new boiler installations they will likely be cheaper.

Work undertakenMaterialsLabour
Installing thermostatic radiator valvesFrom £12.50 per valve
(see our Guide to Thermostatic Radiator Valves for our review of 32 types/style of valve and prices)
• Usually about £50 -£75 per hour.
• For one TRV allow approx one hour.
• For more than one TRV, the engineer will probably have to drain down.
• ​It’s usually worth doing all the radiators at the same time. Approx ½ day to do 8 TRVs.
Work undertakenMaterialsLabour
Installing a new radiator• Radiator prices vary according to whether they are single or double panel and the width.
• It is less work to choose a width that fits the gap, however that may take up a lot of room.
•  If you go with a narrower radiator then the installer will need to adjust the pipework.
• This can be done under the floor if you have timber floors but above if they are concrete.
• Usually about £50 -£75 per hour.
• A single radiator can probably be done without draining down the system and that will take around 2 hours.
• Changing more than one will require a drain down.
• Changing 8 radiators: 1 day at £400 – £500.
Work undertakenMaterialsLabour
Central heating controls• Prices vary according the boiler you have and manufacturer.
• New systems must have a programmer and thermostat (for more on types of programmer and thermostats see our Guide to Thermostats and Central Heating Controls).
• Combined units start around £90 and go upto around £220 for smart thermostats that you can control from your phone
• £50 – £75 per hour,
• 1-3 hours depending on whether its hard wired or remote.
Work undertakenMaterialsLabour
Hot water
​cylinders
• Copper cylinders costs as little as £130 but unvented cylinders (used with system boilers) are more expensive.
• For more on cylinder costs and products view our Guide to Hot Water Cylinders.
• ​Allow ½ -1 day at £450 – £600 perday.

Central heating boiler costs

There are three types of central heating boiler: combi, heat only and regular. If you need more help deciding which boiler type you need, try our Guide to boiler types where we review all the pros and cons of each. The tables below show our pick of the best combi, heat only and system boilers.

Guidance on picking the right heat only boiler

The average UK home requires 6-8kW of heat on a very cold day, much less the rest of the year. The smallest heat only boilers available to buy are 11-13kW – easily big enough to heat the vast majority of homes. The important factor here is hot water production. If your cylinder requires 12kW of heat, a 12kW heat only boiler will be sufficient for your home. If it needs 25kW then you’ll need a 25kW boiler. Your heating engineer will be able to help you. NB the most important consideration is how low the boiler will go on the heating side. Some boilers are manufacturers to give up 30kW of heat – vastly too big for most homes – but they will reduce down to very low outputs of say 3kW. These are also good boilers for smaller homes as a 30kW boiler that goes down to 3kW will be more efficient all year round than a 12kW boiler that goes down to 5kW.

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