Hopefully everyone had a great Christmas break and a gentle January! Now that we are well into February I’m sure many of you are looking forward to the warmer weather that spring should bring along. In recent years, March has had some good spells of warmer weather which leads us nicely into the boiler replacements season.
Many believe that once winter has passed, plumbing and heating engineers have more time on their hands. Well this can be the case for some but based on the number of quotes we have been doing of late, it would appear that we will be busier than ever. It’s just as well as we have more engineers than ever before to ensure that we kept on top of our winter demand.
We have done more boiler replacements in the first 6 weeks of a year than ever before so with this in mind I thought it might be useful for me to write a guide about the choices available and what you may want to consider when choosing your next boiler. Most people will have boiler replacements done outside of the winter months to ensure that they are prepared for the next winter and to also avoid those winter call out charges. Have a read below.
How to Choose a Boiler
You’ve had your old boiler practically forever. It’s on its last legs—er, gaskets—so you’ll need a new one soon.
Boiler technology has changed tremendously since you likely bought yours ten or more years ago. Combi boilers are on the scene, boiler installers are sizing boilers more correctly to your home (instead of upsizing them 30% as in the past), and it’s now mandatory for all gas and oil boilers to be condensing boilers.
If this all sounds confusing, don’t worry: We have some useful (and sometimes surprising) advice on how to choose just the right boiler for your home.
Combi, System, or Conventional?
You used to have two choices of boiler, and now you have three. Here are the details on each type, including whether it will work for your home and family.
What it is: These sealed systems heat water directly from the mains, meaning you don’t need a hot water storage cylinder or cistern taking up space in your home, and the water is delivered at mains pressure.
Good for: Small families. Combis really work best when asked to provide heat for one need at a time. So if you have several family members and need to be able to run showers, washing machines, and taps at the same time, a combi boiler is probably not right for you.
What it is: Like combi boilers, system boilers are sealed systems, but they store hot water in a cylinder.
Good for: Larger homes. Got a big family? A system boiler can provide hot water from several outlets at once at mains pressure. Hot water is instantaneous, but you can run out if you use too much. (Keep those showers short, kids!)
What it is: Conventional boilers are open systems, meaning they require a cistern. Homeowners often choose this type of boiler as a replacement for a system that has a cistern in the roof space. Like system boilers, they store hot water in a cylinder.
Good for: Those who have larger families and/or want “power showers.” As with system boilers, you can get a nice flow rate out of several taps at once. However, conventional boilers are more expensive to install and, since they require a cistern, take up more space.
Ready to start shopping? Let’s talk about how to choose the best boiler model for your home and budget.
How They Stack Up
Not all boilers are made equal. You’ll need to do some research to find out which boiler brands and models live up to the hype—and which you should skip.
Compare & Contrast
At BoilerGuide, you can compare up to four models and get info on different models’ efficiency rating, standard warranty, mounting, and cost. Another (more technical) option is the Product Characteristics Database, which lets you search for boilers specifying the fuel type, brand, and more. For each product, you’ll find details on its efficiency, dates of manufacture, and other helpful information that can help you choose.
Ask a Friend
You probably know that the best way to find a new hairdresser is to ask someone whose hairstyle you like. Well, the best way to find a new boiler is to ask your friends with similar-sized homes and families how satisfied they are with their systems. Ask them how long they’ve had the boiler, whether they’ve had any problems with it, and how often it needs to be repaired.
Expand your reach by asking the same questions of your connections on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media. People love offering advice on products they like and dislike, so you’re sure to get some good feedback that can help you make a decision.
Check the Stars
Reading reviews from actual boiler owners can give you valuable information on a boiler’s quality and the manufacturer’s customer service, and alert you to any red flags. Once you’ve narrowed down your list to two or three, plug the model name or the manufacturer’s name into Google to find out what users are saying about them in the Google Reviews.
For example, one boiler manufacturer has two out of five stars with 23 reviews, with comments like “appalling service” and “budget boilers with a 2-year warranty that break after 3 years.” While you shouldn’t rely 100% on consumer reviews, they can be one more tool in your boiler research toolbox.
Keeping It Healthy
Found the boiler of your dreams—the one that will supply you and your family all the hot water you could ever want? Be sure to choose an installer and a warranty that will keep this expensive piece of equipment running well for a long time.
Once you buy your boiler, be sure to register it with the manufacturer so they can easily track when and where you bought it. This will come in handy if there’s a problem with the boiler while it’s still under warranty.
All boilers come with a one-year warranty. Looking for even more headache-free years? You can often purchase an extended warranty of anywhere from two to ten years. If you opt for a longer warranty, your boiler will need to be serviced every year to make sure the warranty stays valid; however, your boiler should be serviced every year, including a gas tightness test, in any case to keep it safe and running at peak efficiency, so this shouldn’t be a problem.
The boiler warranty may specify who can work on your system, so read through the warranty information. If you have a gas boiler, choose a Gas Safe installer, which is an engineer who’s legally permitted to carry out gas work. You can check the Gas Safe Register to find certified installers such as ourselves.
Finally, keep your purchase and maintenance records, including the boiler serial number, in a safe place in case you need to have the boiler repaired.
Give Us a Call
We’re here to help you choose the right boiler, get it installed properly, and maintain it so it stays safe, runs efficiently, and gives you and your family many years of trouble-free hot water. Just give us a call on 01722 212050 or send us an email at email@example.com if you have any questions about boiler replacements or would like to schedule a service/quote.