A new boiler is likely to be one of the most expensive household purchases you will make, but it can save you a lot of money if you invest in the right one. This guide provides information about the type of boiler you should get, how much they are and how to make it more efficient.
Why is it important to get the right type of boiler?
Each home is different, so the best boiler for you depends on your home. Investing in the right type of boiler will keep your home warm and supplied with hot water. You can also save money by reducing the amount you spend on gas and electricity bills with an effective boiler. Many people stick with the boiler that their home came with but replacing it with a more modern one can improve your boiler’s efficiency by more than 30%, which both saves you money and reduces your carbon footprint.
What type of boiler do I need?
If you have a gas heating system with a gas boiler, which most UK households do, you must choose between these types of boiler:
Combination (combi) boiler – these provide heat for your radiators and hot water on demand and are ideal for small homes. If your home has one bathroom, or you live on your own or with one other person, this is often the best choice.
Heat-only (conventional) boiler – this will have a hot water storage cylinder and a large cold water feed tank, so it is best if you have space. This is the ideal choice for a four-bedroom house. For a two or three-bedroom home, the best option is between a mid-sized combi boiler or a small heat-only boiler.
System boiler – this is similar to a conventional boiler, but it does not require the space needed for the cold water tank. This is the best type for a home with low water pressure.
How big does my boiler need to be?
The size of the boiler depends on the heating and hot water capabilities of the boiler, and whether the boiler will fit in the space that you have for it. Your heating engineer can inform you on the size your boiler should be after looking at your home.
A way to estimate the size that your boiler needs to be is to count your radiators. If there are less than ten radiators, the boiler should be 27kW or less. If you have between 10-15, it should be 28-34kW, and if you have over 15, it should be 15-34kW or more. The higher the kW, the bigger the boiler.
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How do I install a new boiler?
A new boiler must be installed professionally. You can search for qualified heating engineers on the Gas Safe Register, the official gas registration body for the UK, here: https://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/
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When the engineer visits to give you a quote, they should take time to conduct a full heating survey of your home. You should discuss with the engineer how you use hot water, whether the hot water usage changes during the year, whether you have a pumped power shower and if there are any home changes you are planning (such as a loft conversion). The quote should include the model and price of the boiler, the location of it, post-installation checks and an explanation of the warranty.
How much do boilers cost?
A new boiler usually costs between £2,000 and £3,000, including installation fees. You may be able to get a free boiler through the Energy Company Obligation if you are on a low income or certain benefits, and have an old, inefficient boiler.
In terms of boiler repairs, the costs vary based on factors such as the extent of the fault, the type of boiler, and where you live. It can be anything from £150 for a minor repair such as a replacement fan, or £400 for more significant work. If you cannot pay this sum upfront, you can consider arranging insurance for the boiler to pay in smaller sums over time.
Which boilers are the most reliable?
According to ‘My Plumber’, in 2017/18, combi boilers are the most reliable in the UK. Three brands were selected based on the efficiency, popularity and user reviews of their boilers. These are ‘Worcester Bosch’, ‘Vaillant’ and ‘Ideal Boilers’.
‘Viessmann’ is a trusted brand not only in Europe but around the world. Other brands with a reliable reputation are ‘Grant’, ‘Baxi’ and ‘Glow Worm’.
How can I make my boiler more efficient?
Most modern condensing boilers are around 90% efficient, so you should consider replacing non-condensing boilers to a modern system. This can cut your energy bills
and your carbon footprint when compared to the efficiency of a traditional boiler. According to Sedbuk, if you live in a detached house and replace an old-style boiler with a modern condensing boiler, you can save £652 per year on energy bills. The most efficient boiler for your home will depend on the type and size that is suitable for your home, which can be discussed with engineers.
You can also use smaller measures to make your boiler more efficient. Older hot water cylinders do not come with insulation, and insulating this unit prevents heat from escaping. Upgrading your heat recovery devices, such as flue gas heat recovery systems, help recoup heat that escapes through the boiler’s connecting pipes – this recaptured energy then is used to heat your water. Also, chemical inhibitors can reduce corrosion and maintain the efficiency of a boiler.