A new boiler - to get or not to get?

Posted in: Energy and Heating
A very common dilemma for homeowners is making the decision of whether to get a new boiler or not. Obviously, if your boiler breaks down and stops working completely, then the decision is pretty much made for you. However, an under-discussed issue is what to do when you have a boiler that has had some reliability problems but is still just about working. This issue comes particularly to the fore at this time of year. As winter becomes spring, a boiler usually starts to be used slightly less than it was during the colder months. If you have experienced some costly problems over the winter and had to call upon a heating engineer to sort out an emergency, you may well be breathing a sigh of relief at the thought of warmer weather ahead. Many people will use excuses to put off getting a new boiler, citing the warmer weather and ‘well, it’s working OK now’ as reasons not to proceed. Unfortunately however, if you have had a troublesome boiler, then the chances of it breaking down again are quite likely and you could just be storing up emergency costs and inconvenience to yourself (and your family) further down the line. There’s no getting away from it - buying a brand new boiler is an expensive upfront cost, but you need to look at the longer term benefits that installing a new boiler brings. Boiler technology has come a long way in recent years and, if you have a particularly old boiler, you may find that the money you currently spend on repairs and on higher heating bills is simply not worth the money or the effort. Regardless of whether you buy an entry level or fancy, top-of-the-range model, new boilers are now very energy efficient. It has been estimated that around 60% of yearly energy bills are spent on a boiler, so having a more efficient model can make a huge difference to what you spend year after year. Of course, the fact a new boiler is much more likely to be reliable is also going to save you a lot more money on call-out costs. As well as reliability and greater energy efficiency, a new boiler can often be a much safer option than what you have in place at the moment. Old boilers have a higher chance of being damaged or faulty, which can result in carbon monoxide leaks. At best, a carbon monoxide leak can cause you to feel very ill and at worst, carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal. New boilers have in-built safety measures to protect against carbon monoxide leaks, though it’s always important to have your boiler serviced and checked on an annual basis. If you are contemplating getting a new boiler, then think back over the winter and whether you experienced any problems. Did you have to call out a heating engineer at least once? Did they advise you that this was just a temporary fix and to expect further problems? Were you and your family severely inconvenienced by a boiler breaking down and left without heating or hot water for a significant amount of time? If the answers to the above questions are ‘yes’, then you may seriously want to consider getting a new boiler. Alternatively, if you plan to keep your existing boiler, then make sure you get it serviced, if it has not been done within the last 12 months. The summer months are an excellent time to install a new boiler, or to get any boiler maintenance done, because it’s a time when there is less pressure on your heating system and your boiler will be in excellent shape for when it’s required to work hard again. Article by Benjamin Clarke
26 March 2015