A boiler’s life span can be roughly ten years, I’m sure that some are run for longer than that, but safety concerns suggest that this would be unwise to do so.
Most boilers come with a one year guarantee or you may get a two year guarantee however it is worth knowing that one third of boilers break down within the first six years of their life, not good odds for avoiding repair bills.
Maintaining your boiler over the relatively quiet summer period by running them for an hour every month can ensure that the water pump does not become clogged and reduces the chances of having to call out an engineer on a cold Christmas evening.
One good reason for investing in a new boiler, particularly if you have just purchased an older property could be that the new generation of boilers are much more energy efficient which over the years can make a considerable saving. The costs to buy and install a new boiler are considerable however with yearly savings this can offset your installation expenses. The energy savings trust (2007) states that costs can be cut by up to 40% by installing an energy saving and environmentally friendly new boiler.
Information about boilers
It is always best to shop around for a new boiler before your old one breaks down this way you are taking your time to weigh up which boiler is best for you and your family and not making your purchase under pressure, thereby spending more than you have to.
Shop around for boiler installation and repair companies. The two main companies are British Gas and E.ON however you may get a better deal and better service from a smaller independent company. It pays to shop around. Again this is easier if you do this before your boiler needs replacing.
An A grade high efficiency boiler carries an Energy Saving Recommended logo which means that this boiler will convert at least 90% of energy into heat, so look for this. Don’t forget that one of the major costs of installation can be your labour costs so do take this into account. One of the ways of minimising these costs is to buy your boiler through the installation and maintenance company who may also offer you an extended warranty and maintenance plan.
Never use an unregistered company or engineer (there are an estimated 20,000 unregistered engineers operating in the UK) so do insist on seeing their Corgi registration for gas fitters. Engineers will carry their registration with them on the job.
Which boiler do I chose?
Boilers account for over 60% of domestic CO2 emissions and because of this the only boilers that are allowed to be installed in the UK must be energy efficient boilers. Buying a second hand boiler to save money can often be a false economy as a registered engineer will more than likely refuse to fit it because of the inherent liability with regards to health and safety. While these boilers cost more due to the technology involved they have a benefit of saving up to £200 a year and even more if you install heating controls as well. One way of finding out about different boilers is to visit www.boilers.org.uk. This site can also give you an estimate of the heating costs of your home. Consider your fuel type, the size of your home and how much you expect to use the boiler when making your decision on which boiler to purchase.
When choosing which boiler is right for your home, remember that there are three different types of condensing boilers.
System boiler- Also known as a sealed system boiler may be kept in an airing cupboard rather than in the loft as no ventilation is required. These are suited to larger homes with space in bathrooms or hallways that need to run more than one bath or shower at a time. The water from this boiler is pre- heated and so when the hot water runs the tank must be heated again.
Open vent/ heating-only- This boiler is stored in the loft and is good for larger homes that wish to run more than one bath or shower at once. They take up quite a lot of space and are quite a dated system and so many are now being replaced.
Combination boiler- These boilers are good for smaller homes as they provide much less space and heat hot water and also radiators with hot water ‘on demand’. You will not be able to run more than one bath or shower at a time with this system because of the low flow rate.
How good are the new boilers?
A new generation boiler will not only be more energy efficient, saving you money, but also will help reduce CO2 emissions. It is likely that a household would be able to save approximately £200 per annum by installing a new condensing boiler as A grade boilers work at over 90% efficiency and you will be no longer losing a lot of heat through your flu.
New, green, energy saving technologies are constantly being developed and solar panels are already available from British Gas, N Power , EDF and other major suppliers. New boilers are designed to adapt to these new technologies whereas older boilers are not.
A new boiler costs between £700 and £1,200 for the boiler alone, but this price can be extremely varied and of course labour costs will vary too depending on where your boiler is situated. Generally a gas boiler will cost less to run than an oil boiler and if you need to upgrade your heating system and controls this will also add to the cost.
It is worthwhile to check whether you are eligible for any grants which you can check by going to The Energy Saving Trust online and checking against your postcode. There are also government funded initiatives available to vulnerable and low income families whether you own your own property or rent from a landlord. The Warm Front scheme offers heating and insulation solutions worth £3,500 (or £6,000 if oil central heating is recommended) and you can check your eligibility through your local council.
If this is not available to you some installers will offer a payment plan at low or no interest which will make investing in a new boiler more affordable. You may also like to approach your bank for a loan and also to compare interest rates to those offered by the gas company.
In addition to these offers you can also look at what the company provides in terms of service warranties which can be from one to two years. Don’t forget to also consider breakdown insurance at this time as any additional costs could become unmanageable when a boiler is being paid off. Look for a company that does good follow up and shop around for the best back up service you can get.
Your engineer should also offer you free advice with regards to placement of your boiler, energy efficiency and help you to choose the most appropriate boiler for your home.