Typically, domestic and commercial properties require completely different heating and hot water systems to match their respective footprints and meet the needs of their occupants.

However, for thousands of businesses operating out of commercial spaces across the UK, a commercial boiler may not be necessary, leaving installers with a chance to offer a more fitting and cost effective alternative.

Spot the difference 

Commercial properties usually require a much larger, more powerful boiler to ensure the larger spaces they normally occupy are adequately heated and all hot water outlets can be used with ease. 

Traditionally, the size or output of a commercial boiler is 70kW or more to provide enough power for greater reach throughout the property. Comparatively, the output of domestic boilers will typically range from 24kW to 42kW, but can in fact extend to anywhere between 50kW and 70kW for larger homes. These tend to have six or fewer occupants living on the premises, and more than 12 radiators to heat the building.

One of the key differences between domestic and commercial boilers is their lifespan. The lifespan can differ depending entirely on how much it is used and how often it is serviced and maintained. Domestic boilers usually have an expected lifespan of 10 to 15 years, while commercial boilers can last anywhere between five to 15 years, as these systems will typically work harder to service a much a higher demand.

Finding the right fit

While most commercial properties in the UK require these larger systems, there are many businesses that have the same, if not fewer, requirements than a small to medium-sized home. This would include smaller high street stores, corner shops, and local cafes, as these types of businesses would typically only use one or two hot water outlets and have a much smaller space for central heating to cover.

This can be applied to a whole host of commercial premises, but the factors will differ from business to business. For example, a high street travel agent and a hair salon will operate out of similar spaces but will require different appliances because of the service they provide. As a travel agent may only have two or three rooms to heat, with a hot water outlet in both the staff kitchen and bathroom, the business would benefit from a combi boiler designed for a medium-sized home, such as the Navien NCB500 ON Combi Crossover, for example, which provides up to 41kW of hot water output. 

However, while a hair salon would also benefit from this system, it would require an additional hot water heater, like the Navien NPE Water Heater, for customer-facing hot water outlets, as they require instant hot water consistently throughout the day to meet the demands of the business.

Other businesses, such as small offices or office blocks, would benefit from a domestic boiler made for a larger home, for example the Navien NCB700 ON Combi Crossover, which provides a 54kW hot water output. These larger, more powerful systems can heat 20-30 radiators, depending on heating design temperatures, making it a great choice for smaller businesses looking to heat their premises for a lower cost.

Furthermore, price points for a commercial boiler typically start at around £2,000 and can be in the tens of thousands of pounds for more powerful units, which are commonly used for much larger properties. For domestic applications, however, many units cost around £1,000.

As many business owners are looking to significantly reduce their overheads, installers have an real opportunity to offer these cost effective domestic alternatives.