The Common Sense Approach to When to Replace your Boiler

26 Apr. 2019

Written by Neil Marsh MCIPHE RP RHP EngTech

Many people get confused when they should replace their central heating boiler. Here is our no-nonsense guide to when to replace your boiler should it brake down and fail you or should it be ageing …

Our Advice

If your boiler fails fully or partially, following your initial call out from an engineer, it is best to use a logical approach to determine the next course of action. We would always advise you fix your boiler until the repair cost outweighs the cost of replacing the boiler, unless the boiler has had a string of faults prior to your current failure, then a replacement may be the best course of action. If the boiler has not had a string of faults in recent years, then it is best to compare how old the boiler is in comparison to the cost of the repair.

So for example:

  • The boiler is 18 years old and is going to cost £100.00 to repair it. We would advise you fix it but prepare to replace it.
  • The boiler is 10 years old and is going to cost you £150.00 to repair it. We would advise you fix it.
  • The boiler is 5 years old and is going to cost you £350.00 to repair it. We would advise you fix it.
  • The boiler is 15 years old and is going to cost you £500.00 to repair it. We would advise you replace it.
  • The boiler is 10 years old and is going to cost you £500.00 to repair it. We would lean to a replacement.
  • The boiler is 5 years old and is going to cost you £1000.00 to repair it. We would usually advise you to replace it.

Boilers Then Need Fixing Regularly: 

If you have had a string of faults and the boiler is 8 years or older, then it may work out best to consider a replacement. If it is under 8 years but there have been several expensive part failures, it may be worth considering replacing the boiler. Strings of faults usually only occur when the boiler is aged (12> years) and /or is suffering from scale/sludge/sediment issues. Sometimes components can fail prematurely from installation defects which often should be rectified where reasonably possible as they will often cause problems even with a new boiler.

For more information about what failing to flush a central heating system correctly can do to a boiler and heating system, click here. 

A higher build quality boiler (depending on system water quality and the quality of the installation) will usually last longer on average than one of lower quality. Brands such as Worcester, Baxi, & Vaillant tend to produce better quality boiler products on average than brands like Sime, Halstead and Ravenheat, although, this is not set in stone.

A boilers price does not always determine its durability, sometimes cheaper boilers can end up being far more reliable and robust than more premium counterparts. 

When issues like sludge, scale and other sediment are causing components to fail within the boiler or heating system it is best to make sure that you deal with these issues as well as replacing defective components. In an instance where the boiler is old (15> years) and/or in poor condition and the system requires a power flush, it may be best to replace the boiler and power flush at the same time as the power flushing process could remove sediment holding parts of the boiler together causing further failures with the boiler.

For more information about power flushing click here!

Obviously, your financial position at the time will be an important factor in your decision. However, where a boiler is failing repeatedly and/or where you spending a large sums of money repairing and ageing boiler, it will more than likely cost you more money in the long run than replacing the boiler in a proactive manor.

Based on our experience:

Modern boilers (<10 years)  will last 12-15 years on average and have 3-4 repairs over their lifespan before becoming beyond economical to repair or the parts being no longer available.

Back boilers, excluding the modern Baxi condensing version, would often go 25-35 years with 2-3 repairs over their lifespan before becoming beyond economical to repair or the parts being no longer available.

Many older wall/floor mounted boilers (15> years) still in operation will often go as many as 25-30 years with 3-4 repairs over their lifespan before becoming beyond economical to repair or the parts being no longer available.

Please note:

A modern condensing boilers efficiency can make significant reductions in fuel consumption when compared to non-condensing versions, but the amount of savings made, if any, will depend on how the boiler performs when in use. The choice of boiler and system, aspects of the system it is fitted to (such as radiator sizes), how it is installed, its intended use, how it is used and other aspects of the property will have a significant effect on the boilers efficiency.  Savings made will vary from situation to situation, sometimes savings can negligible, and with the wrong advice/choices, fuel costs can actually increase. 

Call FORTHRIGHT for a professional and quality boiler repair service in Cheltenham, Gloucester and the surrounding areas.