The Good the Bad and the Ugly of Boiler Installations

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Boiler Installations

Author - Scott Findlay 18 Sept 2023

If your boiler has broken down or reached the end of its life and you need a new gas boiler installed, there are some things that you should be aware of. Not all boiler installations are the same. There are a few unscrupulous gas heating companies who will undertake a poor install and then you’ll be left with issues long after they’ve gone and you’ve paid.

The Good Boiler Installation

A professional boiler install will be undertaken by a reputable heating company and will include a site survey to understand the requirements of the home. The power/output of the boiler is very important. Depending on the number of people who live in the house, the number of bathrooms and other lifestyle inputs will determine the size of the boiler and the type most suitable; installing a boiler that isn’t going to provide enough hot water when you need it will be very frustrating.

Apart from the output of your boiler, a reputable company will also take into account the location of the boiler; if the house is short of space, then the gas engineers can suggest solutions. Some boiler manufacturers have compact boilers which are designed to fit the inside of a kitchen cupboard.

A professional install will always follow gas regulations and guidance and will never put the household at risk of gas leaks or carbon monoxide.

A good install will be done efficiently and normally be completed in a day or two. If the installation goes on for days then this usually points to a lack of planning, preparation and poor technical knowledge.

After installation of the new boiler, you should rarely if ever have any issues with the boiler. New boilers have a minimum 15-year lifespan normally and with regular servicing should perform efficiently throughout their lifetime. The heating and hot water should be consistent.

The Bad Boiler Installation

The types of common mistakes that you see with bad boiler installations are:

  • Improper sizing of the boiler. This results from the gas engineer not having undertaken a proper survey or inadequate knowledge or assessment of what is required. A boiler that is too small results in not enough output for the home whereas a boiler that is too large costs more to buy so wastes money unnecessarily.
  • Incorrect installation, for example poorly fitted flues. This can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning and is very dangerous. Faulty ventilation can also result in compliance and safety violations which means that should something happen to the home as a result of the boiler, your insurance may not be viable.
  • Poor piping installation such as the incorrect size of pipes installed, lack of insulation on certain piping, poor layout of the pipes and ongoing water leaks.

The Ugly Boiler installation

An ugly boiler installation may not look ugly in appearance (although we have seen some eyesores!) but is more about being disastrous in its functioning. The boiler may emit carbon monoxide, it may violate all safety regulations, it can have leaks and it may break down regularly and run inefficiently. These types of boiler installations should be avoided by using only registered Gas Safe engineers to undertake the install. However, not all gas heating companies are the same and so it is best to check out the reviews of the company before you decide to use them.

Choosing a reputable company or installer is the key to a happy install. Be guided by the feel you get for the surveyor; ideally, he should be a gas engineer to trade rather than a salesperson, that way he’ll have a thorough knowledge of any pitfalls. Ask yourself some questions:

Does the survey feel rushed or did the surveyor explain things fully and take time to explore the whole property? : A five-minute survey can often end up missing important details which will then throw up issues during the installation. As a result, the job may not be booked in for enough time and so the engineers have to rush it or you end up being asked to pay for additional time on site.

Was there a “hard sell” element or a “special discount” offered for signing up for the quote or within a short period afterwards? : You should always feel that you have time to gather other quotes and make a decision in your own time rather than being pushed into making a decision before you’re properly ready - after all, fitting a new boiler isn’t something you do every day!

Is the company happy to provide references if requested? All installers, large and small should be happy to put you in touch with previous clients if you want to check they’ve been happy with works carried out for them.

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