Boiler Replacement: Key considerations before you choose a new boiler for your home
Shopping for a boiler replacement can be a really confusing process because there are so many models on the market, not to mention different boiler types. The trouble is, the boiler type and model aren’t the only things you need to think about when hunting for a new boiler, so it’s important that you’re armed with the right knowledge to ensure you spend your money wisely.
If the time has come to replace your boiler, here are the key things you need to consider before starting your search.
1. Which Boiler Type is Right for Your Home and Needs?
The main types of boilers available include combi boilers and system boilers, as well as regular boilers which are also known as heat only, conventional or traditional boilers. All boilers installed today are condensing models, meaning they are more energy efficient than old-style boilers. Let’s take a look at their key differences:
- Combi boilers – Also called combination boilers, combi boilers are usually quicker to install because they tend to be fairly compact. Combi boilers are considered ideal for smaller properties as they do not require any additional components, such as a hot water cylinder or water tanks in the loft.
- System boilers – Although system boilers do require a separate cylinder for storing hot water, they do not need to be installed alongside tanks in the roof space. System boilers tend to be perfect for homes with multiple bathrooms because they can supply hot water to any number of taps at once.
- Regular boilers – Like system boilers, regular boilers are great for homes with more than one bathroom because they cope well with multiple showers or baths running at the same time. They’re also suitable for properties that experience low water pressure. Regular boilers do, however, take up the most space as they need a hot water cylinder and separate tanks.
It’s hard to say which type of boiler is ideal for you without knowing how many people live in your property, the size of your home and the number of bathrooms you have. With this in mind, we recommend you ask a Gas Safe engineer to visit your home so that they can help you determine which boiler type would be best.
2. What is the Ideal Size Boiler for Your Property?
Getting the size right is crucial to ensure your boiler replacement can cope with your heating and hot water demands. If you select a boiler that is too small, it won’t heat your home properly nor will it be able to provide you with enough hot water. This doesn’t mean that bigger is better, though. By choosing a boiler that is too big, you’ll spend more money than is necessary because it will use more energy than is required. When we talk about boiler sizing, we’re referring to the boiler output in kilowatts (kW), rather than the physical size of the boiler. As a general rule, the higher your demands, the higher the kW should be. Your heating engineer will be able to suggest the right size of boiler for your home when recommending the best type.
3. Consider Only Reliable Boiler Models
You’ll need to do some research and look at customer reviews to find out which boiler models are reliable. When checking out boiler models, see which boiler brands come out on top in terms of customer ratings and boiler reliability. Don’t forget, your heating engineer is a very useful source of information, so don’t forget to ask them which models have proven to be dependable. Whilst it’s important that you stick to a budget, the cheapest boiler isn’t necessarily the best choice, especially if it has been rated unreliable. If you end up with a replacement boiler that constantly breaks down, you’ll spend a fortune on repairs once your manufacturer warranty expires.
4. How Much Can You Afford to Spend on a New Boiler?
A golden rule when looking for a new boiler is set a budget and stick to it. Boiler replacement prices vary greatly and typically range from around £400 to £3,500 (excluding installation). The cost usually depends on many different factors, such as the boiler type, size, sophistication and manufacturer. Don’t panic if you’re on a tight budget because there are plenty of affordable energy efficient boilers around today. If need be, you may even be able to take on a finance agreement that allows you to spread the cost of your boiler and the installation over several years. You can also check whether you’re eligible for a free boiler grant through the government ECO scheme.
5. Get a Range of Boiler Replacement Quotes
It’s always a good idea to get boiler replacement quotes from at least three different engineers or companies so that you can compare costs. When obtaining quotes, ask for a fixed price on the boiler and installation to protect yourself from any hidden fees. Also, don’t forget to ask about the warranty period, as some engineers will be able to offer extended warranty options and a guarantee on the installation. You should never agree to a quote without knowing precisely what you’re getting for your money, so don’t ever be afraid to ask as many questions as you like when liaising with boiler dealers and installers.
6. Check Your Chosen Installer’s Credentials
If you need a gas boiler replacement, you must make sure you choose a Gas Safe registered installer. You can check this by searching the official Gas Safe Register online or you can ask to see your installer’s Gas Safe ID card. As not all Gas Safe engineers are legally permitted to fit gas boilers, you must also check which types of gas work your installer is qualified to do. If you need a new oil boiler, you should use an installer who is OFTEC-registered as this proves that they are qualified to work on oil-fired boilers.