“Should I replace my boiler with a condensing boiler?” is one of the most frequently asked questions we receive at Boilerhut.
In this post we’ll try and give you factual and in-depth advice on whether or not your hard earned money should be spent on a new boiler.
According to the UK’s Energy Saving Trust, “Heating accounts for about 55% of what you spend in a year on energy bills.” So, a brand new, high efficiency condensing boiler does make a big difference.
First let’s put logic above emotions and take a look at legitimate reasons for boiler replacement.
Reasons to Replace My Boiler
1. It Smells (Safety First)
No, I don’t think spraying deodorant on your boiler is going to resolve this issue. The only time a boiler emits any odour is when there’s something wrong with it. If your boiler is running properly, the flame should always be blue. If the flame appears yellow, it may be a sign of carbon monoxide.
If you see a yellow flame, it could potentially be dangerous. Every day at least four people have to attend A&E Services across the UK with suspected carbon monoxide poisoning.
Even though carbon monoxide itself is odourless, it could be messing with the way your boiler is burning its fuel. Please DO NOT ignore this. At low levels, it can replicate symptoms similar to the flu like:
- Lethargic Feeling
But great, prolonged exposure can cause difficulties breathing and even death. In case of any of the above, first get your family out of the house, and call the numbers given below if you suspect a carbon monoxide leak from your boiler:
You can call 0800 111 999 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Advice and Information Numbers:
Health and Safety UK: 0800 300 363
Gas Safe Register: 0800 408 5500
After you’ve had a technician come and inspect your boiler for any carbon monoxide leaks and fixed any potential issues, don’t wait for it to happen again. It is ultimately your decision, but having gone through this once, we feel your next question should be “Should I replace my boiler?”
2. High Energy Bills
If you feel like you’re paying much more than you really should on your energy bills, you may need a boiler replacement. To understand why, we suggest either in-depth reading or a quick skim-through of the following guides on our website:
We suggest reading these even if you’re not at the buying stage, but just pondering “Is it time to replace my boiler?”
According to the Energy Saving Trust, you can save up to £500 per year on energy bills by replacing your old boiler with a modern condensing boiler.
3. Your Boiler is Older than 15 Years
If your existing boiler is older than 15 years, there’s a high chance it’s not a condensing boiler. What’s a condensing boiler? We’re glad you asked.
To read about condensing boilers in detail, click on the following blog post: Condensing or Combi Boiler
In brief: Exhaust gases from a boiler consist mostly of hot steam with some acidic content. Non-condensing boilers older than 15 years let these exhaust gases escape through the flue. Hence, wasting energy that can be recovered. Hot steam contains energy, and modern condensing boilers harvest that energy by recycling the hot exhaust gases through the primary heat exchanger first before they exit through the flue outside. This diagram below explains how a condensing boiler works:
4. Your Boiler Breaks Down Often
If you’ve already spent a couple of hundred quid on boiler repairs in the span of a year, you’ve spent too much. Add that to the high energy bills due to low energy efficiency caused by wear and tear and corrosion on internal components of a boiler, you’re paying a fortune to heat your home.
If you’re reading this article because your boiler has broken down, maybe try a couple of fixes before considering boiler replacement. The post below covers all that.
If you’ve tried all those and more, it’s pointless to keep paying your hard earned money on fixing a boiler which is losing you money on energy bills over the short term and long term. Investing in a high end boiler now can ensure headache-free heating and hot water for about 2 decades at least. Getting a new boiler installed by a premium/accredited partner like Boilerhut can get you extended 10 year warranties.
5. Radiators Take Ages to Heat Up
This could be down to a couple of reasons:
- Trapped air. Radiators may need bleeding.
- Check if the Lock-Shield Valves are open.
- Check if Thermostatic Radiator Valves are turned on.
- Your radiators may need a Power Flush or Chemical Flush
If you’ve tried all of the above, but the problem still persists, it’s pretty clear the issue is with your boiler or central heating system. And if it can’t be fixed, or you’re tired of paying for repairs without much return, your next logical question should be “Who should I contact to replace my boiler ASAP?” Your best bet is a boiler installation company like Boilerhut who can quote you within an hour and install a new boiler within days at your home.
6. Your Boiler is Leaking
Here is a handy guide from Viessmann looking at all the checks you need to do if your boiler is leaking water. In brief, the reasons for your boiler leaking water are:
- Boiler pressure valve fault
- Temperature valve leak
- Corrosion in your system
- Leaking pipe fittings
- Leaking seals in the boiler pump
- Corrosion of the heat exchanger
The guide has some quick DIY fixes. If you can’t fix it, or don’t know how to, please don’t take chances, especially with gas connections, and call a Gas Safe heating engineer. If you are not Gas Safe registered and try to make or fix gas connections, not only will you put your property and other people in danger, but can also incur heavy fines and even prison time.
If you’ve exhausted all the options and wonder “Maybe I should replace my boiler”, you’re probably right. Especially if there’s corrosion on the heat exchanger, it can be very expensive to replace. And if your boiler is older than 15 years, it’s a non-condensing boiler, and the manufacturer probably doesn’t make those spare parts anymore.
Should I Replace My Boiler Even When it’s Working?
This depends on a couple of factors. If you’re happy with your heating and hot water and your energy bills, brilliant, no need to fix what’s not broken. This is how the majority of people think.
However, as we mentioned above, if your boiler is older than 12 years and is a non-condensing boiler, chances are it’s running at low energy efficiency. Which means it’s burning more fuel than it needs to. Because it’s working harder to heat your home due to corrosion on internal components. And you may see your energy bills increase gradually over time.
If you feel like your energy bills could be lower. And you’ve already paid a couple of 100 quid on boiler repairs this year. And you can’t find spare parts for it because the manufacturer’s stopped making them. Now is the perfect time to ask that question: “Should I replace my boiler?”
How does Higher Energy Efficiency Translate into Saving Money?
Let’s say you have an older, non-condensing boiler. Those used to start at about 80-85% efficiency when brand new. And over the years drop down to 70% or even 50% efficiency due to corrosion caused by heavy, furnace-like thermal stresses on the internal components of the boiler. Particularly the primary heat exchanger from daily use, especially in winter.
In monetary terms, 70% efficiency means you’re losing £30 for every £100 you’re spending on energy bills. That can accumulate to a lot over a year, especially if you’re also spending money on boiler repairs. It’s a losing battle and the next logical step to really ask should I keep bleeding money or replace my boiler?
How can a Condensing Boiler Save You Money?
Condensing boilers are over 90% efficient, and can get up to 94% energy efficiency with the help of programmable smart thermostats and smart, internet enabled, learning thermostats like Nest or Weather Compensation. Some premium, top of the line boilers like the Viessmann Vitodens 200-W work at an amazing 98% efficiency, and may even go up to 100% efficiency if it’s always in condensing mode by recycling outside air.
What does that mean in monetary terms? Energy efficiency of 94% to 98% means you’re only losing £6 to £2 for every £100 spent on energy bills, which is negligible compared to £30 or £50 for older non-condensing boilers.
What are Other Ways to Improve Energy Efficiency in Your Home?
Replacing a boiler will have the biggest impact on your energy bills. But before asking the question “Should I replace my boiler to save money on energy bills”, perhaps a couple of energy saving measures could help you save that much extra and keep your house warm for years to come.
- Insulate your cavity walls and loft
- Draught-proof your windows and doors
- DIY insulate your windows and use thick curtains
- Use a programmable or smart thermostat
- Switch to a cheaper energy tariff
Doing all of the above along with replacing your boiler can save you a TONNE of money over the long term. On top of that you have a comfortable, warm, cozy home where you don’t have to wonder why is it still cold with the thermostat turned up to max!
Upgrading or Extending Your Home?
When it comes to upgrading or extending your home, you may want to ask “Should I replace my boiler?” When installing a boiler at a property, it needs to be suitable in size to work the correct amount of radiators and the flow rate for the hot water. If you extend your home, you are increasing the room space and you may add an additional radiator or maybe more. This will make the boiler work even harder and you may not get all of your radiators working as efficiently as they should be.
Energy Efficiency Rating
When it comes to buying, selling or renting a home, an Energy Performance Certificate will need to be carried out by the EPC Register. An EPC is a guide and report that shows how efficiently a home uses energy, the cost of running the home and recommendations of ways to improve the energy efficiency of the property. Screenshot from an actual certificate below:
As your boiler becomes old, the energy rating will decrease and will go down the scale on the EPC report. From a selling perspective, this may put buyers off purchasing a property as they will need to factor in the additional cost to bring the boiler up to a higher grade. With a nominal approximate investment of between £2,000 to £3,000 for a new boiler, you can make your property that much more attractive to potential buyers.
Who Should I Choose to Replace My Boiler?
Look for Reviews
Excellent 5-star reviews are usually a good indicator of the service a boiler installation company provides. For example, Boilerhut are rated Excellent with almost a perfect 10/10 score on Trustpilot. Click here to read our reviews.
We specialise in installing high quality A Rated Gas, Oil, and LPG Boilers for homeowners, private tenants and businesses.
Our quoting system gives you a free, no-obligation online quote within minutes, which can be finalised within hours and installed within days. Our team then takes care of any service plans and warranty. We’re also Gas Safe, OFTEC and APHC Registered, Viessmann Premium Partners and PAS 2030 accredited. Which means your installation will be carried out to the highest British quality standards, and because of our partnership with Viessmann, their engineer will be at your doorstep within 24-48 hours in case of any issues.
This gives you peace of mind and assurance that you are taken care of.
So when you ask “Who should I choose to replace my boiler?” The answer, as thousands of customers will tell you, is Boilerhut.