How long should a boiler last?

How long should a boiler last?
A heating engineer performing maintenance on a central heating boilerA heating engineer performing maintenance on a central heating boiler

A boiler is an incredibly important part of a central heating system. It's a hardcore piece of equipment that works constantly to ensure you have hot water flowing around your home. This hot water will be used to heat your radiators and to flow out of your taps. Due to the British climate, we use our heating systems for a large proportion of the year and expect hot showers at all times. This means that boilers are required to be durable, reliable and designed with long-term usage in mind. For many people buying a property, going to the expense of fitting a new boiler is seen as a worthwhile investment for the amount of comfort it provides.

So when it comes to what lifespan you can expect from a boiler, there are several things to keep in mind. How much a boiler is actually used is going to be a large indicator of how long it will last. For example, a family of 5 is going to be making use of their boiler much more than a person who lives alone. Boiler maintenance is also an important factor to take into consideration. Just like having your car serviced regularly is going to reduce the possibility of an expensive breakdown, having your boiler serviced on an annual basis will help it to run smoothly and efficiently. If you fail to get your boiler checked, then you will naturally reduce its lifespan.

The lifespan of a boiler

There are different types of boiler such as combination ('combi') boilers, condensing boilers and standard boilers. However, the type of boiler you have in your home is actually pretty irrelevant to how long it should last. In general, boilers can be expected to give you 10 - 15 years of good service. If they are well-maintained, they can go on to do a decent job for 20+ years. To make another car analogy, cars generally become less fuel efficient and their BHP figures can also drop as a consequence of age. Boilers will also start to drop in efficiency after about 10 years but this drop will be severely limited if the boiler is looked after.

The type and brand of boiler you have in your home can make a difference to efficiency figures. The most common boiler installed in UK homes today is the combi boiler, which has an efficiency when new of as much as 98%. Condensing boilers tend to operate at an efficiency of 90 - 95%, while standard boilers (which used to be the most popular type and are still in many UK homes) have a lower efficiency of around 85%. The more you stick to the servicing schedule, the closer your boiler will operate to these exppected efficiency levels.

What about existing boilers?

It may well be the case that you have an existing boiler that you inherited when you moved into your property. If this is the case then you might not be sure when it was last serviced or even how old it is. The best thing to do in this situation is to get a Gas Safe Registered heating engineer to come and have a look at your boiler. The engineer will be able to inspect the boiler, give an estimate of how old it is, perform any necessary maintenance and let you know how many years you can expect it to function properly.

If you don't have any information about the boiler in your home then don't delay in getting it inspected. Though it's rare, old, faulty boilers can be responsible for deadly carbon monoxide leaks. You also don't want to face the much more common risk of an old boiler breaking down in the middle of winter when you most need it. Winter is when heating engineers are at their busiest and most expensive, so getting your boiler looked at as a preventative measure is always a sensible decision.

You'll also have the benefit of knowing one way or another if you boiler is going to last a few years longer or not. Often an old boiler can simply serviced and will immediately start operating more efficiently (and lowerin you heating bills) with plenty of years left. If not, at least you'll be aware and can start to make plans for getting a new one.

What can extend the lifespan of a boiler?

As mentioned previously, the best thing that you can do to keep your boiler in good working order is by getting a heating engineer in once a year to perform boiler maintenance. If you have boiler insurance then many companies actually insist on annual maintenance checks otherwise the policy is invalidated. This is no bad thing and almost forces you to take action that benefits the longevity of your boiler.

A heating engineer can take a look at the components of your boiler and check everything is working properly, or can replace a part that appears worn out. They can also adjust the boiler pressure to make sure that hot water is flowing properly around your home and reaching all the radiators. They can drain and balance your system if necessary and bleed your radiators of any trapped air so that all of your radiator gets hot without feeling cold at the top. If radiators are cold at the bottom, they might need power-flushing to remove internal radiator sludge. A heating engineer may also recommend and fit smart thermostats or thermostatic radiator valves in order for you to micro-manage your heating and operate even more efficiently. Topping up inhibitor levels is another job that can be done. Inhibitor is added to the water inside your heating system and stops internal crust and corrosion from occuring.

ALl these jobs are incredibly worthwhile and important as they keep you system runnning as efficiently as possible. An efficient central heating system will keep your heating bills as low as possible (wholesale energy prices permitting) and will minimise the possibility of a costly and inconvenient breakdown.

New radiators at Trade Radiators

If you are considering a new boiler, then it may also be worth thinking about installing new radiators at the same time. Old radiators are prone to internal rusting which can clog up your pipework and make your boiler work harder (using more energy) to heat up your rooms. Many people decide to replace a boiler and radiators at the same time because it cuts down on disruption and it enables them to effectively start with a 'clean slate' regarding their heating. Radiator technology has come a long way in recent times and radiators are more efficient than ever, getting up to temperature quicker and using less water to do it than ever before.

At Trade Radiators we want everyone to find the ideal radiator for any space, whether you’re looking for a no-fuss simple heating solution to the box bedroom upstairs, or fancy updating your old bathroom panel radiator for a sleek new chrome towel rail.

With the best range of radiators you’ll find from any UK store, better delivery and our unique price promise, we aim to help any room across the country get the radiator it deserves. It all starts with knowing what you need from a new radiator.

23 August 2022