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Boilers don’t have an expiration date. They breakdown if you don’t look for subtle signs that demand attention. The heating suddenly stops and you run out of warm water. That is when you know your boiler is out of order.

Signs You Need to Buy a New Boiler

There are some tell-tale signs which indicate the boiler is not running smoothly. If the problem is serious, this could mean you need a new boiler. These are the 10 signs that indicate you might have to get a new boiler:

1.) Radiators take longer than usual to heat up

Radiators sometimes take hours to heat up. This could mean your boiler is wearing out. Normally, a boiler can reach the maximum temperature very quickly. It starts producing heat to raise the temperature of the house quickly after it’s switched on.

Slow radiators could also mean there is a blockage or cold spot. Boiler service should fix that. However, even after the annual service, if the radiators take a long time to heat the house, you might need a full replacement.

2.) Yellow flame

When a boiler is burning, the blue flame is a healthy sign. However, if the flame is yellow, this could be a problem. Yellow flame might be a sign that the boiler is leaking carbon monoxide. This gas is colourless and odourless. It can even prove to be fatal.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include fatigue, nausea, headache, and dizziness. Call a certified engineer to check for carbon monoxide inspection. If the leakage is irreparable, the engineer might recommend you to get a new boiler.

3.) Unusual smell

A healthy boiler never gives off any odour. If your boiler has started emitting a bad smell lately, it needs to be investigated. Usually, a faint smell means its leaking carbon monoxide. Although carbon monoxide is odourless, when it’s leaking, the boiler does not burn properly and you can sense a faint odour.  

A bad smell could also be an indication that components of the boiler have burnt out. A gas safe engineer after performing inspection will let you know if the boiler needs replacement or you simply have to replace certain parts.

4.) Rising energy bills

Rising energy bills could be a sign of an inefficient boiler. When the heating system is old, it loses its efficiency. It tends to stop more in the middle of the operation.

To determine the boiler’s efficiency, check its ERP energy rating. The most efficient boilers are rated A. They are 90 percent efficient. On the other hand, G rated boiler are less efficient. They are only 70 percent efficient.

If you have a G-rated boiler and it’s older than 15 years, it must be overworked. Frequent start and stop operation mean more energy is being consumed. Therefore, you will end up paying a higher energy bill than normal. Replacing a less efficient boiler with an A-rated boiler is recommended in this case.

5.) Boiler keeps shutting off

When a boiler is in the habit of switching off, it is trying to tell you something. This could be happening because of low pressure, a faulty thermostat or pump issue.

To determine the cause, call a Gas Safe engineer to inspect the boiler. Either there is a need to replace the mentioned parts or it is time to upgrade the boiler.

6.) Reduced pressure

When a boiler is losing its pressure, this might be because of a leakage in the system. The pressure also drops when air is escaping through a valve. This problem can be fixed by adding a leak sealer to the heating system.

However, if the cause of pressure loss is something else, you need to get your boiler assessed immediately. This could also be a sign you need a new boiler.

7.) Frequent breakdowns

If there is always something wrong with the boiler and you have to be without hot water and heating every other day, the boiler needs to go. There is no point to spend money on repairs, call-outs and quick fixes. It’s better to get a new boiler and have peace of mind.

8.) Replacements parts have discontinued

Even if your old boiler is well-maintained and working efficiently, you might be better off with an upgrade.

The parts of old boilers are usually hard to find. In some cases, they have discontinued. This means if any part breaks down, the boiler will become useless.

9.) The boiler is making noises

When a boiler is turned on, it makes a noise. It’s normally a constant hum that you might not even notice. However, if your boiler is clunking, banging or whirring, these sounds should alarm you. Unusual sounds can be because of a broken valve, pump problem or general wear and tear.

If the noise is unusual, turn the boiler off immediately and call an engineer.  They will inspect the boiler and fix the minor issues. If the boiler is no longer safe to use, they will recommend replacing it.

10.) Kettling

Kettling is also a form of noise. When the water flow is restricted because of scale deposits built-up in the heat exchanger, it becomes hot and starts steaming. This causes a kittling noise. It happens when sludge is gathered around the heat exchanger.

Limescale and sludge build-up in the heat exchanger are common in areas where hard water is available. Boiler kittling is damaging. It reduces the lifespan of your boiler. Eventually, you will have to replace it because of frequent damage.

Age is Also a Factor

The average life expectancy of a boiler is somewhere between 10 and 15 years. If your boiler is 10 years or older, even if it’s well-maintained, it will be cost-effective in the long run to replace it.

Let’s say the boiler does not breakdown but if it’s more than 10 years old, it is most likely not operating efficiently. You could be saving money on your heating bill by upgrading to a new model.

Repairs vs. Replacement – What’s the Right Call?

You don’t always need an upgrade when the boiler is not working properly. Sometimes, simple repairs can fix the problem. Here are some instances:

  • When your boiler is not old and it breaks down occasionally
  • When only minor repairs are needed to make the boiler work again
  • When you just need to clean the filters and other parts to make your boiler perform optimally

Cost of repairs for common faults

  • It is important to be aware of the cost of repairs. Knowing the cost will help you decide if it’s best to replace the boiler. 
  • If you need to replace the circuit board of the boiler, on average it will cost up to £277.
  • A new fan can cost £240 on average.
  • A new gas value can cost up to £219.
  • If you need a new water pump, you will be charged £211. New ignition costs £109, pressure relief valve costs £102 and diverter value could cost £191.
  • The air vent can cost £96 and thermostat repair can cost £101.

Disclaimer: The prices of these parts may subject to vary depending on the model and brand of the boiler and the user’s location.

When is it better to replace a boiler?

In some cases, the repairs get too costly that engineers recommend getting the boiler replaced altogether. You can expect to pay up to £150 for minor repairs and £400 or more for major repairs. The costs may vary. It is impossible to give an exact quote for the cost of boiler repairs. The price depends on factors such as the cause of the fault, type of boiler and its parts. If the repairs are expensive because the parts needed are expensive, it is advisable to get a new boiler. A certified engineer will let you know when replacing the boiler is the safe way out.

You can save up to £200 annually by upgrading to an energy-efficient model. You will no longer have to worry about costly emergency repairs.

How much will a new boiler cost?

The cost of installing a new boiler can range from £1,000 to £4,000. This estimated figure includes the price of the boiler, cost of installation and the cost of chemicals required to flush the heating system. Keep in mind the cost of installing a boiler is normally higher than the price of the new boiler.

What type of boiler will I need?

Older boilers have a cylinder for heating the water and a separate water tank. When choosing a new boiler, you can switch to a combi boiler. It is compact and it does not have a separate cylinder or tank to function. It’s more energy-efficient and it is suitable for home smalls.

Things to Consider When Buying a New Boiler

Buying a new boiler requires careful analysis. You don’t buy a boiler every day, therefore, you would not want to make the wrong choice. Consider these tips when buying a new boiler:

Choose a trusted brand: Learn about the top boiler brands in the market. Figure out why they are best and what types of boilers do they make. A trusted brand will sell a reliable boiler. When you are getting a reliable model, you will be less worried about unexpected repairs.

Do not pick the cheapest boilers. They are often the ones with low quality and low manufacturing standards.

Pick the right type: Pick a boiler that suits your home and lifestyle. If you live in a flat or small apartment, a combi boiler will be enough to meet your heating needs. It does not require a storage tank. It is smaller in size and easy to install.

Call a qualified heating engineer to inspect your property and water usage. They will recommend you the right boiler as per your household needs.

Pick an efficient model: If you had a conventional boiler that was over 15 years old, replace it with a modern boiler.  Switching to an efficient model will reduce your heating bill.

All modern boilers are condensing boilers. They come with a large heat exchanger that recovers heat from the gases which usually escape through the flue. The condensing boiler causes the flue gases to cool down. As a result, the water vapours in the gas condense out. The boiler recovers energy from the condensed vapours.

Size of the boiler: Different boilers have different performance levels. Before buying a boiler, you need to be sure it is capable of coping with the heat and hot water demands of your household.

If you end up buying a small boiler, it would need overworking. This could reduce the lifespan of the boiler. Buying a larger boiler, on the other hand, means you have spent more than necessary.

The size of the boiler depends on the number of bathrooms in the house, the number of radiators and the number of people living in the house. Ask your heating engineer to help you determine the right boiler size for your home.

Call a gas safe engineer for inspection and installation: Whether you need an engineer to inspect your property to determine what boiler is right for you, perform boiler service and inspection or boiler installation, it must be a Gas Safe engineer.

Certified engineers ensure your heating system complies with the regulations of the building. They will help you choose the right boiler for your home. They will also install the boiler in a safe and satisfying way. The person with the right skills and expertise will perform the job well.

Final Words

Signs such as low pressure, operation noise, frequent breakdowns, yellow flame, unusual odour, and higher energy bills indicate that you need a new boiler.

When you start seeing these signs, call a certified gas engineer to inspect the boiler and its parts. They will determine the cause of the fault and perform the repairs. If the damage is beyond repair, they will let you know it’s time for a boiler upgrade.

10 Signs You Need a New Boiler