At some point you will either need a new central heating boiler or have to replace an aging boiler. There are 1.5 million boiler sales each year and over 100,000 boiler installers. Some boiler installers are highly trained, some have minimal qualifications. Many are one man bands, some work for large companies with national coverage and in-house trained employees.
Replacement boilers are a large percentage of new boilers sold but it appears that householders have little involvement in the choice of new boiler for their home despite it being a major investment with considerable lifetime fuel costs.
The Heating and Hot Water Information Council has observed that “The installer is regarded as the expert and his advice is seldom challenged or ignored, particularly given the householder’s relative lack of product knowledge.” This site aims to improve the householders knowledge of the boiler selection and installation options so that they can make better choices and are able to select an energy efficient boiler that is cost effective for them helping to reduce the impact of energy consumption upon the environment.
When choosing your next boiler, the supplier and who will install it there are many questions to consider as outlined below.
There are several types of boilers
Following recent legislation new boilers tend to be condensing boilers of which there are three different types: system, regular and combi boiler. Each of these has different characteristics and each has specific installation requirements. Not all boilers will be suitable for your home. Discounting the different designs each type of boiler has different power options which need to be matched to the needs of your home. Did you know that combi boilers may provide instant hot water but they are not suitable for every home. Incorrect boiler types or mismatched power output can increase the energy costs of the boiler over its lifetime.
Boiler Regulations must be respected
The safe installation of gas boilers is covered by government regulations. Unless installation is impossible replacement gas boilers should almost always be condensing boiler systems. The installer must be registered on the ‘Gas Safe’ register, previously CORGI. Ventilation must be thoroughly checked and the flue properly installed.
Boiler Efficiency is important
Gas Boilers are rigorously tested and the relative energy efficiencies of each unit are published to the SEDBUK database by the boiler manufacturers. The difference in gas use between an old boiler (perhaps only 50% efficient) and the latest condensing boilers (up to 90% plus efficiency) results in a large difference in energy bills each quarter particularly in an environment of rising energy costs.
Obtaining an accurate quotation
A quote (or several) should always be obtained and the price quoted should take into account a thorough heating survey and consideration of your needs. If this is not properly completed you could find that the price increases part of the way through the installation. Accordingly you must check the credentials of the installer you are thinking about using and you must ensure that they conduct a thorough heating survey before you are presented with a quote.
Which Supplier and which Installer should I use?
Boilers can be purchased from the local DIY center. They can be fitted by thousands of small, generalist installers, some of whom are highly trained (‘Gas Safe’ qualified) and a number who may be rogue traders. There are national heating installation companies with a trained installation workforce who can supply manufacturer boilers. The choice of a quality supplier and installer is very important and references and evidence of qualifications should always be obtained.
Who will care for my boiler after installation?
As your boiler ages spare parts may be difficult to obtain and availability of spare parts several years after boiler installation and who you will choose for a maintenance contract are important considerations. A well maintained and properly installed Gas boiler is very safe. Do not place your family at risk through a cheap boiler installation or avoiding a regular maintenance plan or boiler service trying to cut costs. One advantage of using a national boiler installation company is that they will have an experienced boiler breakdown and repair workforce who can service your boiler in future years. Some, such as British Gas, also carry a stock of boiler spare parts long after those boiler systems have ceased being manufactured.