The UK has warm summers and generally mild winters compared to most of continental Europe, but this does not mean people can get on without having a proper centralized heating system for their homes. A reliable boiler is necessary to ensure that you live a healthy, comfortable, and budget-friendly life. It is especially important for those who have existing health conditions such as circulatory and respiratory problems as well as other issues that come with age.
Boilers generally have a pretty long lifespan, with proper models lasting up to 15 years from regular wear and tear and up to 20 for models that are regularly maintained. When you find your model on its last leg, it could be difficult to navigate the new models that have come out since the one you have. Here is everything you need to know before you purchase your new boiler:
What Are The Different Types of Boilers?
You can have your pick of the lot. There are a variety of brands, systems, and fuel sources that can be a lot to take in at first. Each one has its ups and downs, it is best to be informed about the basics so you can ask the right questions when it comes down to a quote for a new boiler.
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Combination/ Combi Boiler
A combi boiler is a compact system that acts as the main central heating and the hot water unit. It is fairly straight-forward with no cold water or hot water storage or an expansion tank, this frees up a lot of space on the property without the tanks and the additional pipework. It takes the water straight from the mains and is heated immediately ready for use. Having a combi as your new boiler can change the way you go about your day.
Pros of a Combi Boiler
-A perfect fit for small homes
-Hot water on-demand
-Has strong water pressure since it comes straight from the mains
-Cheaper installation fees are given the lack of pipework
-No issues with frozen pipes in the winter
Cons of a Combi Boiler
-Can only handle one task ask at a time (so no hot showers with washing dishes)
-Decrease in water pressure when there is more than one person using the water.
-With more moving parts, there is a greater chance of it needing repairs.
-No backup immersion heater in case of a breakdown.
-When issues arise, they must be addressed immediately or suffer from the lack of warmth.
A condensing boiler is 25% more efficient than non-condensing models, which brings it up to 90-99% efficiency. It burns the fuel and makes use of waste gas produced by the heating process to pre-heat water. Majority of homes in the UK since 2005 have been using condensing boilers, with the only exception being in special cases. If you previously had a condensing boiler, buying a new upgrade could be the choice for you.
Pros of the Condensing Boiler
-It is highly rated by Seasonal Efficiency of Domestic Boilers in the UK (SEDBUK).
-It is fuel-efficient.
-It saves cost on fuel.
-It has a small carbon footprint.
Cons of the Condensing Boiler
-They have a complex system therefore it is difficult to repair.
-Repairs and maintenance are more expensive than non-condensing boilers.
Conventional/ Regular/ Heat Only Boilers
The conventional boiler is often directly contrasted with the combi. It requires an expansion tank, a feed, and a cold water storage tank. The expansion tank and feed are often installed in lofts, and you have to actively heat the water in your storage tank with a switch then it is distributed throughout the house when needed.
Pros of the Conventional Boiler
-It is best suited for a large home with active hot water usage.
-Best for places with more than one bathroom.
-Manages to hold its own in areas with low water pressure since it makes use of a tank.
-It is compatible with alternative sources of energy such as solar panels.
Cons of the Conventional Boiler
-It is expensive to run in small homes, especially when you live alone.
-It is not the most energy-efficient.
-Heat is lost from the hot water cylinder, so temperatures may vary.
-You have to be aware of how much hot water is available.
-Long wait time after you finish what you have in your hot water tank.
System/ Closed Vent Boilers
A system boiler takes the best of both worlds from the combi and the conventional boilers.
It takes its water from the mains and the central and water heating is done in a single unit just like the combi. However, it also has a hot water storage tank build-in to the unit and is compatible with solar heating systems just like the conventional.
Pros of the System Boiler
– Does not take as much space as the conventional boilers.
-Ideal for large homes, especially those with more than one bathroom.
-Simple instalment with not many moving parts.
– It can hold its own in areas with low water pressure since there is a tank.
Cons of the System Boiler
-It is not the most budget-friendly instalment.
-It is not the most efficient boiler on the market.
-There is heat loss when stored in the hot water cylinder.
-You have to be aware of how much hot water is in your tanks.
-There is a waiting time after you consume all the hot water.
What is your living situation?
Boilers can cater to a variety of needs. After you understand the basic types of boilers, it’s a matter of matching the new boiler to the home. Take note of the physical space, its members, and budget–both the short-term and the long-term.
When it comes to a rental, a new boiler is one of the things that have to be answered by the landlord. Before looking into a replacement, discuss the steps you will take together. If you are staying in the rental long-term, you can be a bit more vocal about what you think would best for space since you are occupying it. Generally, a combi or system boiler might be best-given space constraints. Most UK homes have been decreasing in size, and steps have to be taken to be more economical. There are new boilers on the market that can help rentals upgrade and perhaps increase living space.
When you own a home there is so much more freedom, you can select a boiler that best suits your needs and budget without having to compromise. There are two main things you have to pay attention to: the house and the home. When you own private property, you have the luxury of making use of that loft space for the expansion tank or properly store a new system boiler without much issue. For homes with more than one bathroom, multiple dependents (especially children and elderly), and with minimal technical know-how, the conventional boiler or the system boiler is ideal. Look into worcester-bosch, they are known for their system and conventional boilers. For homes who have strong environmental values, no pertinent health issues, and with members often on the go: a combi or condensing boiler could be the best fit. If you found yourself happy with the previous type you had, your new boiler can simply be an upgraded version, familiarity is key for long term maintenance.
What is your budget?
At the end of the day, finding a new replacement is a number-crunching game. A new boiler can range from 500-1,500 pounds depending on how straight forward the installation is. Will you be replacing your boiler with a new unit that is similar in the same place? Will you relocate your new boiler? Will you add extra tank, cylinders, or pipes? Will you switch from one boiler type to another? These questions all affect the price of your new boiler installation. Get a quote from your local boiler provider.
The average price age of boilers are range from £ 500-2,500. The lower ends of each boiler type ranges from £ 400-1,500 pounds with the conventional and combi boilers being the most affordable. The higher end of each boiler type on the other hand goes from £1,500-13,000 pounds with the conventional boiler still being the most affordable for top-range models. The combi boiler ranges from £ 610-1,500; the condensing boiler ranges from £500 to £1,700; the conventional boiler ranges from £1,500-2,500; and the system boiler ranges from £580-1,600. Top-rated conventional and system boilers can go well above the range. Take note that these prices are for the boilers alone, this does not include the installation fee. The more expensive models are from top brands, they are large in size, and they come with a long warranty (around 5 to 10 years). Cheaper models are for small homes and their warranties are significantly lower (around 2 to 5 years.
Free Boiler/ Grants
There have been efforts to reduce carbon emissions and fuel poverty, in line with this, the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) has been formed. They provide grants for homes to be heated efficiently. There are free boiler replacements as well as grants that can help accommodate your new boiler. You can apply by filling out a survey to see if you are eligible and talk to credit brokers about how you can avail. As of now, new boilers are limited to private homeowners only.
Work With Reputable Companies
When looking for a proper quote for your new boiler, look for reputable companies that are authorized and regulated by the Gas Safety Register (GSR) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Some boilers work with propane and LGUs as fuel and in those cases it is important to be gas safe. The GSR regularly does inspections and keeps unauthorized gas workers to a bare minimum. Improper work can cause gas leaks and fires. All boiler companies have to be registered in England under the GSR so keep an eye out. Besides a GSR approval, look for businesses that work with the Financial Conduct Authority. The FCA’s main work is to ensure that they protect consumers and promote competition. Being an authorised installer of a prominent brand can also be a way of understanding the training done in the company. If you have your eye on a model like Worcester Borsch, look for authorised installers, they are old hat at working these machines. Besides these labels, ask around! Consult reviews and listen to word of mouth. Other people’s experience is a valuable resource in finding a replacement boiler.