Central Heating Installation Edinburgh

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Read on to find out the essentials for Central Heating Installation in Edinburgh Properties.


Let’s first define what we mean by Central Heating. It is where heat is generated in one Central place and then distributed around a property.

This article primarily relates to boilers (predominantly gas) and wet central heating systems rather than warm air systems.

New builds will, pretty much always, have central heating installed as part of the build. Therefore, in this article we have in mind older Edinburgh properties. Ones that may have an electric heating system (for example, night store heaters), a back boiler or an existing central heating system in need of an upgrade.

Reasons to Install Central Heating

The primary reasons to install central heating / replace decentralised space heaters are:

  • Cheaper to run / lower energy consumption. Savings can be up to £1,000 or per year.
  • Controllable: – From timed settings to central or localised thermostats and even smart controls central heating’s controllability is unmatched.
  • Comfort: – It’s a really easy way to achieve and maintain comfortable and balanced temperature within a home.

For Edinburgh landlords one can add “The need to improve energy efficiency because from March 2022 all rental properties must meet or exceed a D energy efficiency rating. By March 2025 rental properties must meet or exceed a C energy efficiency rating. (Read More Here)

Boiler Options for Central Heating in Edinburgh Properties

There are three types of boiler used:

Combi Boiler

  • For both heating & hot water
  • Efficient because water heated on demand (not left to cool in a tank)
  • Compact with no need for storage tank
  • Mains pressure hot water because water heated straight from mains
  • Not suited to properties with more than one bathroom / shower room.

System Boiler

  • Requires a hot water cylinder for storage of hot water
  • No need for a header tank as fed straight from mains cold water
  • May still need cold water storage tank if a vented cylinder
  • Compatible with solar water heating systems
  • Ideal for homes with more than one bathroom / shower

Regular Boiler

  • Often found in the central heating systems of older Edinburgh properties.
  • Requires cold water storage, hot water cylinder AND header tank (cold-water storage tank that maintains the water level of Central Heating System)
  • Not usually installed from scratch these days but might be used if old pipe work could not, for some reason, be replaced. This is due to higher pressure water in “sealed / unvented systems” putting a strain on pipes and potentially causing leaks.
  • It is more common that a regular boiler would be replaced with a system boiler or combi boiler. (Read more about Boiler Replacement)

What about Electric Boilers?

Recent Scottish government policy focuses on moving away from gas as the primary heating fuel for homes (Read More here). This has led to conversation about “electric boilers”; boilers that heat water on demand like a gas boiler. We would argue that their time has not yet come.

The primary reason for this is that a unit (1 Kw hr) of electricity is currently around five times more expensive than a unit of gas. Although electric boilers are more efficient than gas boilers (99 – 100% Efficient v’s 85 – 95% Efficient) this still means it is around four times cheaper to run a gas boiler.

Additionally, a very high proportion (circa 30%) of electricity in the UK is still produced by burning gas at power stations. The “global” efficiency of then transporting this electricity to heat a home is questionable, when that could have been done by the gas in the first place.

Manufacturers such as Worcester-Bosch are developing hydrogen fuelled domestic boilers that can use the existing gas infrastructure. Boilers produced, even today, have the potential to burn a hydrogen / natural gas mix. (A longer article about electric boilers will be coming to our site soon)

What if I don’t have gas in my property?

Electric boilers are still an option for central heating systems. Heatraesadie are considered by many to be the market leaders. Aside from running costs, the downside is usually the size of the units compared to equivalent gas boilers.

It is always worth investigating if there is gas to the building. Many Edinburgh tenement flats are in buildings with gas supplies. Although not every flat will have gas piped directly into it.

What’s the cost of Central Heating Installation in Edinburgh?

Every situation is different but the following will provide price guidance

Example 1Example 2Example 3Example 4
One- or two-bedroom, one bathroom flat in Edinburgh tenement.Three- or four-bedroom Edinburgh tenement flat with two bathrooms.Replacing an old vented regular boiler with unvented system boiler Back Boiler to Combi Boiler, 2 – 3 Bed House
o Combi Boiler
o Three – four radiators plus heated towel rail
o Thermostatic radiator valves
o Smart controls
o Mains fed system Boiler
o Hot water cylinder
o Six to seven radiators plus towel rails in Bathrooms
o Zoned controls
o Mains fed system boiler
o Removing water tanks, convert to mains
o Retaining but flushing out existing radiators
o Retain pipe-work (note potential for leaks!)
o Combi Boiler
o Convert water storage to mains
o Replace 6 - 10 radiators
£3,500 to £5,000 (Ex VAT)£4,500 to £6,500 (Ex VAT)£2,500 - £4,500 (Ex VAT)£3,500 to £4,500 (Ex VAT)

What things affect the total cost?

The answer most installers will give is “The ease (or otherwise) with which pipes can be run”. The harder it is to run pipes – under floors, in walls or even around ceilings – the longer it takes and therefore the more the installation costs.

Edinburgh basement flats quite often have solid concrete floors and tenement flats can have deafening packed to right underneath floor boards. Both of these make installing central heating more time consuming / costly. Tiles and hardwood flooring are harder to get under than carpets or bare floorboards.

There are also a number of elements affecting costs that come down to customer’s choice:

  • The Boiler – size, make, model power rating of the boiler (See New Boiler Costs for more).
  • The position / location of the boiler also has an impact on costs.
  • The Radiators – ornamental or column radiators cost significantly more than standard panel radiators.
  • The Controls – smart controls make running the system more cost effective but add a layer of cost to installation.

What else should be considered?

Besides a heating / gas engineer other trades will often be required. Sometimes the installer will arrange these but don’t take that for granted. It’s always best to check.


  • To remove & make safe old electric heaters.
  • Provide power to boiler and control panels. Earth bond pipe work.

Floor Fitters

  • For rolling back and refitting carpets and vinyl.


  • For boxing in boilers or flues or securing battens to Edinburgh’s crumbly lath & plaster walls.

Plasterers & / or Decorators

  • To make good any wraggles or channels cut in to walls or just touch up areas of wall.


  • Why go to the expense of installing an expensive Central Heating system if drafty old single glazed, sash and case windows allow all the heat to escape? Radiators in Edinburgh flats are often positioned directly under windows …so the heat has an easy escape route to the outside world!

You also might like to read “New Boiler? – Your Questions Answered

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