When you are about to replace a boiler, you must consider a variety of factors. They are critical to the process of boiler replacement. They also help you choose a new boiler that satisfies the heating and hot water requirements of your house.
Here are the things you must consider when replacing your boiler:
#1: Source of energy
Check the source of energy at your place. If you have mains gas, choose a gas boiler. It’s cheaper as compared to oil or electric heating. If you don’t have a gas connection, you can get it installed too. The source of energy will determine the fuel for your new boiler.
#2: Boiler type
You will have 3 different types of boilers to choose from. Which one you go for depends on the size of your property and hot water usage. Being an informed consumer, you must know your options.
Conventional boiler: Conventional boilers are ideal for large homes with a higher demand for hot water. The unit has a separate cylinder for hot water and a cold-water storage tank. If you have more than 2 bathrooms in your house and the water pressure in your area is low, a conventional boiler will meet your heating needs. You will need extra space to store a conventional boiler.
System boiler: A system boiler works with a cylinder that is used for storing hot water. It’s perfect for the house that has more than one bathroom. It works similar to a conventional boiler but the only difference is it takes water supply directly from the mains.
Combi boiler: Combi boiler provides hot water on demand. It heats water the moment you open the tap. The unit does not have a separate hot water cylinder, everything is inside the unit. Hence, it is compact and takes less space. It can fit small properties perfectly. Its installation requires less pipework which makes it cheap to install.
#3: Availability of space
Most boilers are wall hung. Manufacturers have started making them in small size so that people can install them inside the house easily. The size of your property determines which boiler would fit best in the available space.
Conventional and system boiler is suitable for large homes. They have separate tanks that need storage. A combi boiler, on the other hand, is for small homes. Everything is built within the unit, there are no separate parts.
When buying a replacement boiler, many households are tempted to choose a combi boiler to save some space. Sometimes, it’s best to stick with your current boiler system. Switching to another type of boiler could mean making some changes around the heating system. This is likely to increase the cost of boiler installation. Therefore, make a decision wisely.
#4: Number of bathrooms and showers
Don’t forget to count the number of bathrooms and showers in your house. In other words, you need to determine your hot water needs. Conventional boilers allow you to use hot water in multiple taps and showers at the same time. You don’t get to enjoy this liberty with Combi boilers. They can only supply enough hot water in one tap or show at a time.
If you have a large house with 3 or more bathrooms and a large family that is likely to use multiple taps and showers simultaneously, a conventional boiler is a feasible option.
#5: Water pressure in your area
Check the water pressure in your area. Some boilers cannot produce enough pressure on their own. A conventional boiler is ideal for properties where water pressure is low. A combi boiler, on the other hand, is best if the water pressure in your area is good.
#6: Boiler flow rate
After determining the size of your property, hot water needs and type of boiler, the next thing to pay attention to is flow rate. A boiler flow rate tells how much water can flow through the boiler and how quickly it can come out of the tap.
It’s not necessary to look for a boiler with the highest flow rate. The flow of water also depends on the mains pressure in your area. If the mains supply in your area can only handle 10 liters of water/minute, there is no use to buy a boiler with a flow rate of 13 liters/minute.
#7: Flue system
Flues come in different configurations. The boiler you choose must be compatible with the existing flue system in your house.
Why Replace Your Boiler at All?
Replacing your old boiler with a condensing boiler can reduce your heating bill. You will also have more comfort. Old boilers struggle to meet the demands of a modern household, especially in winters when the heating system is pushed to its limit. With modern condensing boilers, you can save up to 90 percent on the heating bill.
Another reason to consider replacing your boiler is safe. New boilers are safer as compared to conventional boilers. Older models tend to leak carbon monoxide. It’s almost impossible to detect this gas because it’s odorless. Modern boilers are equipped with advanced technology and enhanced safety features that prevent issues such as carbon monoxide leaks. Finding faults in these units is easier as well. Hence, even if your old boiler is functional, you might be better off replacing it.
Modern boilers are quiet when it comes to operation. Unlike conventional boilers, they don’t make an operation noise. Even if they do make a noise, it’s a hum that fades in the background. You won’t even feel it.
With a new boiler comes extended warranty and guarantee. If anything goes wrong with the boiler, the manufacturer’s warranty will cover you.
Signs You Need to Replace Your Boiler
When to replace a boiler is one of the most frequently asked questions. As per a general rule of thumb, boilers start losing their efficiency between 10 and 15 years. If your boiler is older than 10 years, it might be working double-time to produce heat and hot water.
A boiler accounts for 60 percent of what we spend in total on our energy bills annually. Therefore, it’s imperative to have an energy-efficient boiler. Only when the boiler stops producing heat or hot water, we realize how important it is. Some subtle tell-tale signs indicate your boiler is aging and it needs replacement. Here is what you must watch out for:
You have to call a heating engineer frequently
If your boiler keeps failing and you have to call a heating engineer more than often, it’s high time you consider buying a replacement model. There is no point in spending money on replacement parts and repairs when your boiler is older than 10 years. Frequent breakdowns are a sign the unit needs to go.
Buying a new A-rated boiler might be more expensive than the repairs you are paying for but over time, you will realize that it was a worthy decision. You are actually saving money in the long run.
Higher heating bill
Check your gas bill. If it is increasing every month, maybe check with your supplier. If it has nothing to do with the supplier, it means your boiler is wearing out.
An inefficient boiler consumes more energy to heat the house and provide hot water. The sooner you replace the boiler with an energy-efficient model, the better. Otherwise, a large portion of your income will go towards the heating bill.
If your boiler is emitting fumes or unusual smells, it’s not a good sign. This could be dangerous for you and your family. Another worry is carbon monoxide. It’s odorless and harmful. Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause serious damage to health. This gas is hard to detect without a test strip or a detector. It’s recommended to install a carbon monoxide detector at your property. If it’s leaking, the alarm will go off and you can call a heating engineer to evaluate your boiler.
When your boiler is frequently leaking carbon monoxide, it’s best to replace it with a new model.
If your boiler is making unusual noises such as gurgling or kettling, you must call an engineer to inspect the boiler. Boilers work by pumping and distributing heat around the house. With age, a boiler struggles to work efficiently and becomes clunky.
Sometimes, the noise is an indication of uneven water distribution. If the problem is bigger than this, the heating engineer will let you know it’s time to replace the boiler.
Radiators are not heating
It’s hard to notice this, especially in winter. The first indication is when the boiler is not heating your house or producing hot water efficiently. When that happens, check the radiators. Are they warm enough? If not, then call a heating engineer for inspection.
Sometimes, radiators don’t heat up because of an airlock in the system. This is resolved when you bleed the radiators during annual boiler service. If the problem persists, it is a sign the unit has worn out. You might need a new boiler to keep your house warm and supply hot water.
Common Questions about Boiler Replacement
How long does it take to replace and install a new boiler?
The time required to replace and install a new boiler depends on several factors. Generally, it may take up to 4 days. If you are replacing your old boiler with the same boiler type and installing it at the same location, then the process will take between 1 and 2 days.
What if I want to relocate the boiler?
If you want to install the replacement boiler on a new location, the process can take more time. The engineer will have to make some changes to the system. This will also increase the cost of installation.
Feel free to ask the heating engineer if it’s feasible to relocate the boiler beforehand. They can also provide you with a time and price estimate by visiting your property.
How long does it take to upgrade to a new boiler system?
When you are upgrading to an entirely new system, the length of time depends on the system you are upgrading to. If you are upgrading from a conventional boiler to a combi boiler, the engineer will have to remove the hot water tank. They will also have to alter the pipework. It certainly sounds like a lot of work but if everything goes according to the plan, you will have the new boiler installed and ready to use in no time.
For some reason, if you are switching from a combi boiler to a conventional boiler, the installation will be trickier. Since it involves the installation of a water tank, it might take up to 4 days to complete the process if no complications arise.
Is there anything else to consider when replacing a boiler?
When you are replacing an old boiler, it is worth considering a power flush particularly if your system was old. Power flush cleanses the central heating system to remove rust, sludge or debris built over time. This makes your heating system more efficient.
You can also consider upgrading your gas mains. Chances are the old pipework that is not suitable for the new boiler. This might be mandatory even if you are upgrading to the same type of boiler. The Gas Safe regulations have changed and the pipework has upgraded. It’s best to ask the engineer to check your mains before the boiler installation. If upgrades are necessary, they will be taken care of in time.
Keep a close eye on your boiler to look for signs of replacement. Once you are certain your old boiler is wearing out, follow the tips discussed above to find the most suitable replacement. You never know how much you need a well-functioning boiler until it stops working. The more time you invest in making this purchase, the higher the chances of finding an ideal boiler.