Written by Neil Marsh MCIPHE RP RHP EngTech
Given a boilers important role in your home, it is essential that you ensure that your boiler is working correctly and at its highest efficiency possible… It is also advisable to know when is the best time to undertake a boiler replacement to save you hassle, discomfort and money.
Modern condensing boilers, when correctly installed, are highly efficient in comparison to older non-condensing boilers that were used not so long ago. At the same time, advancements have been made with thermostats and other temperature regulating devices which have allowed for greater levels of efficiency and control with new boiler installations. Further advancements in technology and regulations, like those made from Boiler Plus from this year, have brought along new technology, like weather compensation, which can also increase efficiencies further.
If your boiler is non-condensing and you have decided for a boiler replacement, you can use far less gas and save a lot more money as a result. Before making a decision, there are a number of factors to consider.
Most energy suppliers are estimating a potential savings of around £200-£400 each year with a new boiler installation in the average home. These figures are obtainable, including figures beyond this, however the boiler needs to be carefully installed in conjunction with the right controls, which need to be utilized correctly, to ensure that you achieve such savings. Key factors on ensuring maximum efficiency include:
- A system free from debris/sludge/scale – When retro fitting a boiler to an existing system, always power flush the heating system, not only for efficiency matters, but also for warranty and maintenance issues.
- The radiators are adequately sized – For boilers to condense fully they need to work at lower operating temperatures. When operating temperatures are reduced, so are radiator outputs.
- Thermostatic radiator valves (TRV’s) are installed and set correctly – TRV’s are excellent devices for controlling the temperature within a room and are great energy savers as they prevent spaces from over heating and wasting energy.
- Programmable thermostat/programmer & room stats are installed and set correctly – When installed correctly, operated accordingly and the room stat is set to regulate the maximum overall temperature, energy waste can be prevented and further savings made.
- The right type of boiler is installed – An example is fitting a combi boiler to a high hot water use/demand property. It is not advisable due to poorer efficiencies at producing hot water from a combi boiler over a storage based system. Fitting the wrong boiler for the wrong situation can increase your energy consumption!
It is important to note that The Energy Saving Trust, who is responsible for calculating potential savings figures, base this on a household with the least efficient boiler type for a semi-detached, three bedroom house.
A typical new boiler installation costs around £2,300 from independent installers, with larger national and energy companies quoting in the region of £3,500 to £4,000 for the same work. Over the long term you can save a significant amount of money with a boiler replacement, although the short term savings are not likely to impress most.
Boilers themselves typically cost between £500 and £2000 to purchase depending on the make and model, plus installer fees are generally between £250-450 a day per installer depending on who you use. In addition to this there are other materials, such as copper pipe, controls and fittings which are part of every job and further costs for such things as:
- Power Flushing
- Magnetic Filtration
- Condensate Pumps
- Radiator Installations
- Gas Pipework Runs
- Thermostatic Radiator Valves
- Other Heating Controls
Prices can increase very quickly, however a good and honest installer will always give rational advice based around what will work out best for you in the long run.
At present, the average lifespan of a boiler is around 14-15 years. As your boiler approaches 10 years of age, if you have not already, it is a good idea to save for a replacement. Boilers generally need replacing because either the parts required to repair the boiler are no longer available or that the cost to repair the boiler outweighs a boiler replacement, which is often referred to as being beyond economical repair. Boilers that have been serviced regularly last longer on average than those that are not. It is advisable to undertake a regular servicing routine from an early age with a new boiler installation.
A yearly/annual boiler service offered by independent installers, large companies and energy providers can range in cost between £60 and £150. Yearly service plans or “care plans” are available with monthly payments which will possibly give you some extra benefits, however they include a range of exclusions which often catch people out. It is important to note that an annual boiler service not only decreases the chance of expensive repairs and extends boiler lifespans on average, but preserves the manufacturer’s warranty, of which can be as much as 10 year parts and labor at present!
We would always advise people, unless their boiler is grossly inefficient which is leading to excessive energy bills, to maintain their existing boiler until the point where the boiler can no longer be repaired or the cost to do so does not warrant spending that sum of money on a boiler of that age. It is also important to note that once the boiler is of a certain age, faults can occur more frequently and this should be considered before making a repair. For example; a boiler is 15 years old and requires £75 to fix it, then we suggest you fix it, but start to plan to replace in the near future or when it next fails depending on your circumstances. However, a boiler of the same age requires £450 to repair, then where possible, it would be a good idea to replace it.
If you have decided to replace your old boiler then you need to figure out what type of boiler you need. Combi boilers are most commonly used, however they are commonly miss-sold and properties throughout the country suffer with performance and/or loss of fuel efficiency as a result. According to the Heating and Hot Water Council, you should take a number of factors into consideration and look into the possibility of investing in a hot water storage system where you are likely to use increased volumes of hot water. Only a respectful and experienced installer, such as Forthright Bromyard, can advise you best on what heating system to install to meet the needs of your property, and are best contacted for advice.
Once you have made the decision to get a new boiler installation you can contact your energy supplier or larger national companies for quotes, however they will often be far more expensive and not provide as good as service as a reputable and professional local installer such as Forthright Bromyard. Forthright install new and replace old boilers in Worcester, Hereford, Bromyard and the surrounding areas. If you would like to get a free and no obligation quotation from Forthright, contact us by one of the contact methods at the top and bottom of this page.