Which Boiler is Right for You?
Choosing a new boiler for your home can be very confusing. You need to consider many things before you install a new boiler. You’ll need to think about, the size of the property, how many bathrooms or shower rooms, the number of hot water outlets, what’s your water pressure like, how well insulated is the property and where you are in your life (e.g. whether you’re starting a family or retiring). Installing the wrong boiler can not only cost you money in wasted energy but leave you frustrated with lack of hot water or water pressure.
This new boiler guide has been written to take you through the three types of boilers found in most homes. Its aim is to explain the advantages, disadvantages, cost of a boiler installation and the environmental impact. Hopefully by the end of this article you will know which boiler replacement is the most practical choice for your home.
The Modern Condensing Boilers
It is now UK law that every gas boiler installed is a condensing boiler. This is the main reason new boilers are more energy effect, giving you an “A rated” appliance. Whether it’s a new combi boiler (short for combination boiler), system boiler, or conventional boiler (sometimes referred to as a heat only boiler) you install; you will always have to install a condensing boiler.
If you’re replacing an old boiler more than likely installed before 2007 you will also need to consider how you’re going to get the condensate drain to a waste water pipe. It is possible to install a condensate pump to take the waste water away. Modern condensing boilers have a heat exchanger which is a lot of smaller water wise than the older boiler.
It is very important that your new boiler’s central heating system (radiators and pipework) is thoroughly cleaned whether you Power flush or Chemical clean the system. This is the most common fault with new installations and will void your manufacturers warranty. Whilst you might think this is a step backwards, the modern heat exchanger is how you get the “A” energy rating. Brands like Worcester and Valliant are producing models with a 95% energy efficient certificate. Older boilers can be as typically low as 65% efficient – this is how you save money on your gas bill and help the environment. Take a look at your gas bill then reduce it by difference in energy efficiency to see how much you can save a year and how much difference you can make to the environment.
Since September 2015 all new boiler installation have to be ErP compliant. ErP stands for “Energy-related Products”.
The ErP directive, which is a regulation set by the European Union is designed to improve the efficiency of heating and hot water products up to 400kW. In a domestic boiler it is mainly the pump which has become more energy efficient.
Boiler Plus is the latest regulation to installing a new boiler in your home. It came into power April 2018. What this means is all gas boilers installed on to existing systems in the UK have to have an ErP efficiency of at least 92%. There are a number of ways you can do this.
Combination boiler replacements to include the provision of an additional energy efficiency measure to be installed at the same time:
- Flue gas heat recovery – generally add about 25% to the cost of a standard boiler installation as well as being a bulky piece of kit.
- Weather compensation – this is a good option, but we have found people who feel the cold find this device does not allow them to keep as warm as the may wish.
- Load compensation – again if you feel the cold this can be a small hindrance for you.
- Smart controls with automation and optimisation functions – this is our preferred method. It’s always good to upgrade the boiler controls when you renew a boiler. If you have Wi-Fi in the house, smart controls are even better. For instance, some more vulnerable people may play with the controls. By having them on your phone you are able to check up on them without having to visit. You can do his from anywhere in the world as long as you have signal.
All gas and oil boilers require time and temperature controls to be installed at the same time, if they’re not already present and working. We’re currently using the Honeywell T4r Controller. It’s simple, easy to read and boiler plus compliant.
There are so many brands of boilers to choose from, whether you need a budget boiler or a top of the range boiler, take a look at the warranty on the boiler. Personally we would not fit anything with less than a 5-year warranty. Take a bit of time to read the manufacturer warranties – you can find this on their website. Check it’s the whole boiler and not just selective parts there giving the big warranty years on.
One last thing to consider before you choose which type of boiler is right for your home is whether you live in a hard water area. If you do think about adding some form of water softener or conditioner to the system, this will only benefit the life expectancy of your heat exchanger and efficiency. Our favourite and most proven softener are the Combimate, although there are other systems. Try to stay away from the small inline conditioners, you really need to change these every year with your boiler service so they end up working out quite expensive as well as low performance issues.
So, to recap there are 3 types of boilers to choose from, combi boiler (short for combination boiler), system boiler, or conventional boiler (sometimes referred to as a heat only boiler) you install. Over the last few years the improvements in energy efficiency has come a long way, realistically all of the above should save the average house £200 to £300 on their energy bill per year. Burning less Gas and Oil is only good for the environment!
Click on the buttons to take you to the page with further details on these boiler types.