First Published: November 12, 2019. Updated: October 17, 2023
How long do boilers last?
A typical modern combi boiler is expected to last up to 15 years before needing a replacement, depending on whether it’s a premium, mid-range or budget brand.
This is only if you’re dealing with professionals who can install a boiler using the highest quality methods and practices. If they’re incorrectly installed, you could be saying goodbye to your ‘new’ boiler in as little as 3-4 years if it’s suffering from any one of the common boiler problems.
There are two reasons that you’re likely reading this article. Either your current boiler is already broken or on the blink, or you’ve gone through so many repairs that planning for a replacement is a now a much better option. While we’d all prefer a bit of time to anticipate a boiler breaking down, we can still be caught off guard.
You should never wait for the weather to get too cold before replacing your boiler. There’s a lot of pressure on installers around this time of year because of the amount of old boilers breaking down. Because of this pressure on boilers as well as the installers, installation dates can sometimes be extended, making it more more important that you get this sorted before you’re hit by the cold snap.
So what can you do about it? Let’s find out!
There are many aspects to your central heating installation that determine the answer to ‘How long do combi boilers last?’, including:
- Buying your boiler from a reliable premium manufacturer like Viessmann, Vaillant or Worcest Bosch, a mid-range brand like Baxi or Ideal
- Having an annual service to retain your warranty and extend your boiler’s lifespan
For this article, we want you to feel informed and ready about asking ‘How long do boilers last?’. We also want you to know exactly what needs to be done in order to get a new boiler replacement arranged!
When should I start looking for a new boiler?
Most boilers manufactured today will last you up to 15 years. Generally, this advice applies to modern premium brand boilers. and this is only if you’ve chosen premium brand like Viessmann, Worcester Bosch or Vaillant who really know what they’re doing. With this in mind, you’re better off choosing an installer who has aligned themselves with their chosen manufacturer.
Most boiler manufacturers stop making parts for their boilers after 12 years. Because of this, you need to start thinking about a replacement boiler when it’s approaching 10 years old. In doing so, you can carry out the preventative measures needed to ensure it doesn’t breakdown when you need it the most – during the cold winter season.
It’s no secret that boilers become less efficient over time. This is just like any other piece of modern technology such as cars – they still need to be well taken care of. Without the proper care, you could be looking at a replacement earlier than you’d probably prefer. The more time you leave it before getting your boiler replaced, the more money you’re wasting. Your boiler is simply working harder than it needs to.
How can I increase the lifespan of my boiler?
Even though your boiler shutting down can be a scary thing to deal with, there are many preventative measures you can take to ensure it doesn’t get that bad. If your boiler shuts down, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need a replacement straight away. However, there are options available for you to extend the lifespan of your boiler:
- Arrange a boiler service – Always go for installers who have been directly approved by their chosen manufacturer
- Check if your radiators need bleeding
- Have a magnetic filter installed
- Avoid overworking your boiler – It might also be too small for your property if you were given poor advice in the past. If so, it’s even more important that you speak to experts in detail about your next purchase
- Ensure inhibitor gets added to your system after it’s been flushed
- Set your boiler off on a ‘summer run’
- Keep pipes well insulated
While you’ll need to pay charge for the service, having one arranged is definitely a worthwhile investment. Even if it does cost more, it’s more than worth it in the long run. When each boiler service is carried out, there are several checks that take place. This needs to include everything from the condition of the heat exchanger, to all available electrical connections. As well as this, there should be checks for the boiler’s pressure level, as well as any replacement parts needed.
For more information on parts and availability, just scroll a little further down!
Will having my boiler serviced extend its lifespan?
Without a shadow of a doubt. There are two main reasons that you need to have your boiler serviced once a year:
- Having one arranged allows you to retain your boiler’s warranty
- Your boiler will receive the professional care needed to maximise its lifespan
As long as it’s carried out by a fully-qualified, Gas Safe Registered engineer, your annual boiler service can be carried out by any company. The quality of your service also depends on who you choose to carry it out. It’s often the case that tests are carried on efficiency and performance, as well as checking for any leaks or faults in the current system. However in the case of Boilerhut, we go above and beyond to provide a Viessmann-approved premium service plan, providing you and your boiler with a high standard comprehensive service that comes directly the manufacturer themselves.
By arranging a service for your boiler, you can identify and fix any problems before it gets any worse – saving you from any nightmares further down the line.
Simply put, boiler services are a requirement in order for you to keep your warranty. If this isn’t honoured, you’ll find yourself in a tricky situation.
Parts and Availability
It’s important that you know the age of your boiler before arranging any repairs. If you’ve been smart and gone for a reliable manufacturer like Viessmann, availability of parts and life expectancy of boiler aren’t going to be an issue.
However, if your boiler comes from a lesser-known company that may or may not still be operating, you may find it difficult to get the parts needed. For the most part there may not be a problem – most manufacturers keep parts available for 12 years unless they file for bankrupcy. If any parts are unobtainable, then getting your boiler current boiler repaired will no longer be an option.
Check if your radiators need bleeding
Over the course of your boiler’s operation, air can become trapped inside your radiators. While it may seem harmless to begin with, it can also prevent your boiler from running at full efficiency. This is because the air that gets trapped inside your radiator creates cold patches along its surface, and is where the hot water is unable to reach.
For detailed instructions on how to bleed a radiator, please watch the following short video:
Alternatively, you can also follow these simple steps;
- Turn on your central heating to find out which radiators need bleeding
- Turn off central heating and wait for it to cool
- Turn the bleed valve using the radiator key
- Once the hissing stops and water emerges from the hole, close the valve
- Turn the heating back on
For more detailed instructions on how to bleed a radiator, click here to read one of our other blog posts.
Have a magnetic filter installed
A magnetic filter is an excellent way to extend your boiler’s lifespan. You can find out more about them by reading our ‘Are Magnetic Filters Worth It?‘ article.
These useful components get fitted onto the return pipe of your heating system. From there, the filter works to catch most of the magnetite sludge that circulates around your heating system. If this is ignored however, the sludge can build up to the point of creating more cold patches on your radiator, preventing them from being able to heat up at fully capacity.
By opting to install a magnetic filter, you can enjoy many of the benefits, including:
- Annual energy bills reduced by up to 6% (Using a 3-bedroom property as an example)
- Your boiler’s efficiency is drastically improved
- Reduced likelihood of expensive repairs
- Lifespan of boiler extended
- Carbon footprint reduced
Avoid overworking your boiler
The idea behind each boiler’s design is that it needs to deliver consistently hot water whenever it’s needed. With that in mind, try to avoid using the boiler unnecessarily. If you have the pressure set too high, it’s going to take a fair bit of damage from constant wear and tear. More than anything, you need to remember that a boiler chosen with the right advice and support will have already considered available space, and should have no problem whatsoever in delivering the hot water demands in the many years to come.
With regards to pressure on your boiler as well, you may need to repressurise it every now and then as well. For detailed instructions on how this can be done, please watch the short video below:
Use inhibitor in your system after a flush
We’ve briefly touched on the subject of cold patches appearing around the bottom of your radiator. Another method often used is a chemical or power flush, both of which are popular ways of getting the sludge out of your system safely. When a flush is carried out, a visiting professional will use special chemicals to help break down the sludge before flushing it out with the central heating system’s hot water.
Once this is done, it’s extremely important that a special inhibitor chemical is used like in the image below:
The inhibitor itself is an anti-corrosion solution that gets added to prevent scale and corrosion. By applying a protective coat against the metallic and non-metallic deposits, it helps to reduce any future sludge build up from occurring.
Set your boiler off on a ‘summer run’
It may seem a bit bizarre – putting your heating on during the summer. But doing so actually introduces some benefits to your system that it wouldn’t otherwise receive. By giving your boiler the chance to run during the summer, you can:
- Help prevent sludge from building in any particular place
- Break down the sludge already in your system
- Improve flow inside your pipework
Many boilers today will have a summer setting that you can keep active to ensure your heating only gets used during particular seasons. However, it’s still worth running the boiler every now and then during this period to keep your boiler ticking over.
Keep pipes well insulated
Thankfully, this is one of the lowest cost options, and one that you can do yourself as well. Although it only applies to the pipework inside your attic or garage (no need on your gas pipe), pipe lagging can be purchased from almost all DIY shops, and it easy to fit.
By making sure that these pipes are lagged, you can you can reduce any loss of heat and ensure that you stay well protected over the winter. This is a common occurrence for condensate pipes as well, which play an important role themselves in recycling any lost heat.
Find what you were looking for?
If you’re after more information or you want to get a free online quote for a new boiler, either contact us directly on 02920 099 898 or enter your postcode in the box below, then hit the green button!