Many people are unaware of just how much domestic heating technology has improved over the past decade. And if you’re still using a boiler at home that was installed over ten years ago, you may not be getting the best performance in terms of energy efficiency.
Boilers are designed to last for around ten years and after this point, most will start to show some signs of deterioration whether it’s regular breaking down, a noisy central heating system, constant need to re-pressurise, a drop in energy efficiency or more dangerous problems like carbon monoxide leaks.
If you’ve been experiencing any problems with a boiler that is more than ten years of age, chances are that the money you are spending on repairs could be better put towards a replacement. And, choosing the right one for your home will mean that you end up with a system that’s both cheaper and easier.
Types of Boiler
The first step is deciding on the best boiler for your home. There are several different types of boiler to choose from, with the most common being the combination (combi) boiler since they are compact, easy to install, easy to use and provide heat on demand for both your central heating and hot water. They do not require a water storage cylinder and take up less space in your home. If you want to know which is the best combi boiler at the moment, read this Boiler Central’s guide to know everything about it.
If you have a larger household or want the added convenience of being able to run several hot water taps at the same time, a system boiler could be a better choice for your home. Unlike a combi boiler, these models store hot water in a cylinder in order to feed several outlets at once.
Modern boilers have been improved substantially over the last decade and with this has come a lot of advancement in the type of controls available. Intelligent zoning allows households to enable various temperatures and timers to be set in different rooms around the home which allows you to use your heating system in a more energy-efficient manner and only heat the rooms that you need to at any one time.
You can also find boilers that work with smart heating systems like Hive or have these options built-in so that you can remotely control and monitor your energy use using a smartphone app. You can also get boilers that come with weather consumption controls, which can boost your boiler’s energy efficiency by up to 15% using a small sensor placed on the outside of your home which instructs the boiler to increase or decrease the radiator temperature based on the temperature outdoors.
In the past, oversizing boilers by around 30% was common practice in households but today, this is no longer considered necessary and it’s important to choose the right size for your home. There are several factors that go into making sure that you choose the right type of boiler for you, including the size of your home, a heat loss calculation, the level of insulation and airtightness, hot water requirements, and the materials used. You can ask an engineer to help you figure out the heating requirements of each room in kilowatts, allowing you to size up your radiators or underfloor heating to ensure that you choose a boiler which is the right size necessary to heat the entire system efficiently. It’s also worth considering the physical space in your home that you have available to place the boiler; boilers are typically positioned on the ground floor in your home which is usually in the utility area or kitchen.
The good news is that most modern boiler systems are now at least 90% efficient, so there isn’t a great deal of room left for improvement. However, there are several things that you can do that involve looking beyond the boiler itself to further improve and increase the overall efficiency. For example, if you have a system boiler or another type of boiler with a hot water tank, you can install a thermal store which stores water at different temperatures from the top to the bottom, allowing the boiler to run at optimum efficiency and ensure that water is delivered to the taps or central heating at the right temperature every time. It’s also worth looking into various central heating control options to help your system run more efficiency; at the very least, you should opt for a thermostat that offers a timer option and the option to choose which rooms to heat at any one time.
Ease of Repair
Finally, consider how easy your new boiler will be to repair if you run into any problems. Chances are that if you opt for a modern, well-made and energy-efficient boiler, you should have a good experience with it for the next decade, but you can never be too prepared for the chance that something might go wrong. When considering the make and model of boiler to choose from your home, it’s worth thinking about factors such as the availability of gas engineers who are trained to work with this type of boiler in your area, and the availability of parts. You want to avoid a situation where parts are more expensive than usual for the boiler that you’ve chosen or harder for your engineer to find. Speaking to your boiler engineer is a good way to get recommendations before choosing which type of new boiler to invest in for your home, but bear in mind that many gas engineers work closely with certain companies so the opinion that you get may not be unbiased.
After some time, every boiler will eventually need replacing. Keep these factors in mind if you are in the process of upgrading yours.