How much does it cost to install central heating?

One of the most common questions that people ask is how much it costs to install central heating in a home. This is one question that doesn’t have a very straight forward answer because the cost of a central heating system is dependant on many different factors, with each individual factor influencing the cost, sometimes significantly.

Firstly, the most important question is whether you are looking to install a brand new central heating system, in a home that has never had it before or are you replacing the existing set up. Most homes (in the UK at least) have central heating installed, but occasionally you will find an older home that does not have it, or this can also be consideration if you are planning on renovating, converting, or building your own property.

In these situations, there is a lot to consider and the overall expense increases due to the number of different things that need to be purchased, but equally importantly installed, which normally involves a professional central heating engineer at the very least.

Alternatively, perhaps you already have a central heating system and are just looking to replace one part of it, such as the boiler. In these instances, if all the pipework and other items are already in place then the cost is dramatically reduced. In addition to this, perhaps you are looking to upgrade your system to a more modern style of heating. Again, some items will need to be replaced, whilst other items can be retained from the existing system. All these different aspects can influence the cost of the central heating system.

Some of the main factors that influence the cost of a central heating system are broken down as follows. Determining which ones apply to your own situation can help guide you in the process of replacing or installing central heating.

For example, the following types of products and equipment may be all, or partly required in a central heating system:


The central heating boiler, whether that is a combi boiler, a system boiler or on an older system a conventional boiler that requires a water storage tank all vary in cost. Older boilers can be replaced, but often are upgraded to a more modern system. The types of fuel that the boiler uses can also have an influence on the cost of the boiler. In addition to this, the size of your home or building also is a major factor in terms of the cost of installation. For instance, a small flat does not require the same-sized boiler as a five-bedroom home.

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Heat Emitters

These are the radiators, or even the underfloor heating that supplies heat to individual rooms and locations around the building. Sometimes these are already installed and can be re-used, but on a new build, this is another factor that will significantly influence the cost of the heating system. Radiators will also need to factor in things like valves into the cost of the device too.

designer radiators

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Ancillary Items

This can cover water tanks, pumps valves and all the other items that a central heating system needs to work correctly. Some boilers will require certain items, whilst others will require other items for correct functionality.

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Again, if this is installed then this can normally be re-used, but if new pipework is required then the purchase and fitting can be expensive- especially if you’re looking to install the pipework under floors, or behind walls. This is another factor that should be considered.

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Heating Controls

Heating Controls

These can be quite simple in terms of a simple thermostat. Alternatively, for those who like modern-technology Smart Home systems offer excellent control over the heating system, although these can involve a substantial investment. Again, this is another factor that needs to be considered if an existing system is not in place or it is going to be replaced.

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Finally, one of the most expensive parts of a central heating system is getting it installed in the first place. Those that are handy at DIY may be able install radiators and pipework easily enough, but the central heating boiler system must be installed by a certified professional. In some cases, in the UK it is also worth checking whether planning permission is required (listing buildings, for example) and if it does then this is another added expense. Replacing a boiler with a similar system will require a lot less installation costs when compared to having to change the type, or worst case relocate it within a building since this normally requires quite a bit of fettling and alteration of pipes and fittings.

When all the factors are considered then it is clear that answering the question as to how much a central heating system costs is a difficult one to answer sufficiently. The best recommendation we can offer is if you are looking to find out the cost of either a new system, or replacing an older system is to get a quote from a reputable company. We suggest discussing your requirements with a professional and then obtaining at least three quotes from three different companies to see what they offer. Ensure they provide you with a full breakdown of what is included in the installation and the cost and with this information to hand you can then work from there, in terms of overall cost and value.

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