It happens to us all at some point; one day, your loyal but creaky old gas boiler breaks down, no amount of coaxing will bring it back to life and it’s clear you now need to install a replacement boiler. A new boiler can last a long time – certainly up to 15 years - so choosing the right one for you is important. A new boiler can:
- Save you money by being more efficient-up to £380 per year!
- Help the environment by using less gas and reducing harmful emissions
- Be safer
- Be quieter
- Be more reliable
- Free up space
- It can even look stylish!
Once you’ve decided on a replacement boiler, how do you choose one that fits your needs? The best thing to do is to get some expert advice and a survey – either speak to your local reputable gas heating company and/or do some reading online. There are lots of brands of boilers including Worcester Bosch, Veissmann, Ideal, Valliant and Baxi amongst others. Worcester Bosch regularly comes top of all reviews of boiler manufacturers and this is what we recommend. So for the purposes of this article, we will focus on Worcester boilers.
Choosing the best boiler
There are three main types of Worcester boilers which can be installed:
These are very popular as they are very energy efficient. Hot water is on produced on demand which means that no energy is lost from heating up a tank of water and letting it sit idle until required. They are also space saving since there is no need for a hot or cold water storage tank. Nowadays they will also provide a powerful shower as the hot water is provided at mains pressure with no need for a shower pump.
These require a cylinder to store the hot water produced but they don’t always need a cold water tank to feed the system. Instead a system boiler can fill the radiators from the cold water mains supply rather than from a header tank in the attic, ideal for homes with attic conversions. They are compatible with homes which have solar panels so in this way there is an environmental benefit too.
Regular boilers (sometimes known as traditional, conventional or heat only boilers) are fed by a cold water tank in the loft and also have a hot water tank to store the heated water. This can be a disadvantage for homes which want to convert their attic. They are ideal replacements though for a house which already with this type of set up and newer boilers will be more efficient than older boilers. This type of system is ideal for properties where mains water pressure is low and they can also be compatible with solar energy heating due to the presence of a hot water storage tank.
A regular boiler may be the best option if your home has older radiators and pipework which may not be able to cope with the higher water pressure which is delivered by system or combi boilers.
So how to choose the best boiler for you?
This depends on a number of factors and you should speak to an expert before investing in one type of boiler over another.
If you want to keep installation costs low then swapping like-for-like will probably be the best idea. However, this may not be the best strategy for your hot water requirements in the future. If you are considering an attic conversion or perhaps want to have hot water on demand then a hot water tank might not be the best choice and a combi may suit you better.
The main things to consider are:
- Space requirements
Do you need to free up space for an attic conversion or get your airing cupboard back? Do you want to remove pipework from attic areas and also the exclude the possibility of leaking or frozen pipes in this area?
- Water on demand
If you want to be able to have hot water whenever you want, then changing to a Combi boiler can deliver this. This will also remove the need for a hot water tank. However, if everybody in the home is using hot water at the same time, a Combi boiler may not be able to cope with the demand, it will depend on your incoming water pressure and in this case, a system or regular boiler may suit you better. The choice of boiler will ultimately depend on the size of your household and the demands on the system which is why it is important to speak to an experienced heating engineer.
- Installation of solar panels
If you are considering installing solar panels and want to reduce your heating bills and also your carbon footprint, then a system or regular boiler is compatible. A Combi boiler would not be the correct choice in this case.
- Water pressure in your area
If water pressure is low in your area, then the water mains pressure feeding a Combi may not be sufficient and in this case a system or regular boiler is better.
- Size of your house
A bigger house may have more demand on hot water and heating. More bathrooms and more radiators may determine which kind of boiler you can install to satisfy your needs.
You can see that there are many variables when choosing a replacement boiler and expert advice is essential. With the right recommendations you will save money not just on your heating bills, but also on installation costs and perhaps the future value of your property.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch for a free boiler survey from Scott Findlay to see how much you can save.