Posted by: Vincent Wilkins: 27/02/2013
New boiler, Big Savings
To replace or not to replace that is the question? How do you know if it’s time to replace
your current boiler if it still seems to be working just fine? Is it better to just let it live out its life till it dies a natural death? Confused about which boiler to choose when there is so much choice and is a new boiler really going to cut your heating bill? I’m going to make it a little bit easier for you with some helpful advice that will take the pain out of making the right decision.
New boiler, no time like the present
There is no better time like the present to consider your home comfort and energy savings with winter now upon us, especially if you suspect your boiler may not be able to limp through. Sometimes it is simply a case of knowing that your 15 year + boiler is past its best. But sadly even a boiler that’s been in a handful of years can be troublesome particularly with the cheaper models with a questionable reputation. Though it might seem quite obvious that all is not well with your boiler most of us will probably try and get a bit more life out of it, at the risk of being left cold and unclean when it finally packs up. This scenario can leave you pretty fed up as you begin the tiresome task of finding a reliable, efficient trustworthy company when you are at your most desperate. So here a list of the things to look out for that could indicate it’s a case of out with the old and in with the new. Is your boiler becoming noisy and unreliable, perhaps you’ve had to call an engineer out once too often, maybe your property just doesn’t seem to be getting warm enough or maybe you’ve extended your property and your current boiler is simply not up to the job. No doubt you are keen to reduce your heating bill. If this sounds familiar it’s time to consider your options whilst you have the luxury of time on your side thus you can avoid making a bad and potentially costly decision through sheer desperation when you are cold and without heat. Planning ahead definitely has its benefits. When you possibly can, do this in the heat of summer when most heating engineers have a bit more time on their hands; that way you can have your pick of installer as it tends to get extremely busy during the winter months when through desperate times you might make a decision you come to later regret.
How to decide
The most important question is the age of your current boiler. Is it proving too costly to repair and are parts still available? Is it a huge outdated model that’s taking up space which could be better utilised? As a boiler ages, especially those that are not well maintained, they become less efficient. The combination of outdated technology and age means it’s likely to have significantly higher running costs to a modern highly efficient model, as much as £300 a year in a typical semi. Incredibly it’s now possible to buy a modern condensing boiler that carries a 7 year warranty, so no more costly breakdown fees for a good few years and lower heating bills that have got to be worth thinking about. There was a time when I would do my utmost to repair and save my customers boilers regardless thinking I was doing them a favour. But I’ve come to realise this does not always make good economic sense. If repair bills start running into the hundreds and they’ve had to call me out one too many times they could be well on their way to a new boiler.
What type of boiler to choose?
So once you have made the decision to have a new boiler you now have to choose from either a system/regular boiler with a cylinder to store hot water or a combi boiler that does not require a cylinder and provides hot water directly from the boiler. A system boiler is actually more efficient than a combi at producing hot water but then some heat is lost from the hot water cylinder so it’s a question of weighing up the pros and cons. All modern boilers are condensing ones, so how do you decide which type of boiler is right for you, your lifestyle, your home and your family; in a lot of cases this will be determined for you. If space is limited, your only option might be a combi boiler. If space is not an issue a system boiler will be best suited. There was a time when combis were all the rage and everyone seemed to be ripping out system boilers. In fact there is still a mentality that pervades with some installers who will try and sell you a combi regardless. Why? Quite simply it’s a whole lot easier and quicker for them. Be very wary about being talked into having a combi simply to make life easier for the installer. (Read our finding the right installer blog). My personal preference, if space allows, is a system boiler. Why? Well if your boiler does break down you might be cold but at least you’ll be clean, as an immersion fitted to your cylinder will ensure a plentiful supply of hot water. I’d rather be cold but clean than both cold and dirty.
Lots of options
It’s worth knowing that there are other options apart from the more conventional type of boilers. The biomass boiler is certainly worth considering no matter what form of heating fuel you use, but especially if you are on Oil or LPG. With Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) due to begin for homeowners in 2013 when they install renewable heating technologies you will get paid for the renewable heat you generate. Let’s face it, who wouldn’t want their heating bill paid for them. Visit our RHI page, RHI Blog and Biomass page for further information.
So if you’ve decided not to postpone the inevitable any longer you should now be better able to make an informed choice about replacing your boiler. You can download our free heating guide for essential information that will help you discover all you need to know about heating and reducing your heating bill. If you are looking for advice on finding the right installer visit our blog.
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