Choosing a New Boiler - Tips and Advice
Replacing an old boiler with a new, more efficient model isn’t necessarily a simple process. Whilst you can leave it all to the plumber you choose, it is always wise to be aware of questions to ask and considerations to make. We’ve put together some tips to help you choose a new boiler.
Choosing a new boiler? Ask your plumber these questions
- Do I actually need to replace my old boiler? Read our tips on boiler replacement for some further advice and information. Don't assume just because one person or company has told you that you need to replace your boiler that you actually do. Get a second opinion.
- Ask your heating engineer to confirm they are Gas Safe registered (for gas boilers) or OFTEC registered (for oil boilers) by giving you their registration details so that you can check with the relevant organisation that their registration is current. You don't want someone working on your boiler who is not up to date or unaware of the latest safety requirements.
- Ask what the efficiency rating of the new boiler will be. Your suppliers should be able to give you a percentage efficiency rating. You can also check this on the boiler efficiency database.
- Ask what type of boiler is best for your circumstances. All modern boilers fitted these days are condensing boilers (unless there is a sound reason why this type of installation is impractical or too difficult) but there are different types of system such as combination, system and conventional. What is right for you will depend on how many people you have in your house, how many bathrooms you have, your capacity for locating a water tank in the roof and space for a hot water tank. All these factors and the overall efficiency of the system need to be taken into consideration.
- Ask your boiler engineer about your existing heating controls and whether they are suitable for your new boiler. If your controls are very old there may be efficiency benefits if you replace them.
- Ask about the warranty with the new boiler and whether there are any guarantees on the entire installation e.g. pipework and other plumbing that may be necessary. Find out whether any warranties include parts and labour.
- As the heating engineer what type of boiler they usually install and why. Find out about how reliable it is and whether parts are expensive. You may need to do a little research yourself to find this out. You don't want to be saddled with an unreliable boiler or a boiler that has expensive replacement parts.
- As if a power flush will be needed for your central heating system prior to installing the new boiler. Very often this is recommended as sludge and rust builds up in pipes that can cause problems with new condensing boilers. There may also be warranty/guarantee clauses that state this must be done for the boiler to be covered.
- If you are having a condensing boiler, ask the heating engineer about the possibility of installing the condensate pipe inside your house so that it isn't liable to freeze in the winter. Frozen condensate pipes are a common cause of boiler breakdowns in the winter months.
- If you are considering using solar water heating to help reduce your overall bills, make sure you mention this to the person preparing the quote as you will need to make sure they include a suitable hot water tank that can accommodate this.
Other tips when choosing a new boiler
- Make sure you get quotes for your new boiler from at least three different heating engineers.
- Make sure anyone supplying a quote visits your property and sees your current installation.
- Ask friends and family for recommendations when looking for a suitable company to carry out the installation. Don't forget however that just because you've received a recommendation doesn't mean they are Gas Safe or OFTEC registered so make sure you check this.
- Make sure your chosen engineer has public liability insurance in case something goes wrong.
- Get a written quote from each of your chosen suppliers and make sure it is a fixed cost quote that includes parts and labour. Don't go for an hourly rate.
- Make sure heating engineer checks your water pressure before recommending a boiler type. If the water pressure is very low, it may preclude you from having a combination boiler.
- Check out grant schemes that may be available to help pay for your new boiler. If you are on a low income and claiming certain benefits, you may be eligible for the Energy Company Obligation scheme which will pay for a new boiler. Alternatively, there is The Green Deal, a government backed scheme that will pay for your new boiler up front and then you pay back the loan via your energy bills. There may also be grants available from your local council. You can find out more information at The Energy Saving Trust.
- Whilst you are upgrading your boiler, you may want to consider whether you can make further savings on your energy bills by improving insulation and fitting draught excluders. Again, there may be grants available to help you do this.
- Don't forget that modern boilers can be quite a bit smaller than old boilers. You may also want to consider if you would like to re-position your boiler when it is upgraded.
Further sources of information