Will I really save money on gas bills by replacing my old boiler with a new condensing one?
The Energy Saving Trust says: If you replace your old model with an A-rated boiler and set of heating controls (you can even operate it remotely via an app on your phone) you could save about £340 and 1,500kg of carbon monoxide a year.
More modern appliances could not only save your monthly bills but in the long term provide more security and a guarantee of care with a warranty.
But before you rush out and sign any deals, make sure you don’t pay more than you need to for a new appliance.
Boilers can last more than 15 years but as they get older they have to work harder to heat your home and water so you may be spending more on heating bills to get the same result.
It can help to know how your boiler operates so that if it does breakdown you may be able to prevent that expensive engineer call out. Knowing what kind of boiler you have can help with diagnosing problems and also help you decide what kind of boiler you may consider next.
Combi boilers are the most popular as they heat water and provide central heating, they can be gas or electric and don’t come with a hot water cylinder as they heat water as it is used. And if you have a small house where space is a consideration then the combi model is the better option.
The only downside is you might lose water pressure if you run water in more than one place at a time, for example, if you wanted to shower while the washing machine was operating
System boilers (or sealed system) come with water cylinder which means your hot water is limited to the size of the tank and how long it would take to reheat if you run out.
Conventional boilers have a tank and a cylinder but you can run water from various sources.
The main consideration in changing a boiler is cost and how long it would take to pay off. If you bought an A-rated boiler costing £1,500, it would take about four and half years to pay off based on the Energy Saving Trust figures of £340 a year saving.
Once you have decided which type of boiler you want it is best to get a range of quotes from installers before you part with any money. Reputable installers offer a warranty, some up to 10 years for a serviced appliance so there is no need to pay out for extra types of insurance.
Have a look at the Competent Person Register, SNIPEF, Worcester Bosch or the Heating and Hotwater Industry Council. They all list certified and approved installers.
Adrian Lowery of Thisismoney.co.uk: I suspect that the higher estimates of cost savings from condensing boilers are optimistic. I think one would have to have an incredibly inefficient boiler and enormously high bills to save £340 a year simply by replacing it.
If your old boiler is breaking down then of course that changes the consideration - you might simply need a new one. But if you have a well functioning and serviced old boiler that is doing the job perfectly well - as I do - then I would not expect a new boiler (plus installation costs) to pay for itself in 15 years or probably more.
My annual gas bill is £400, so there would have to be some pretty remarkable efficiency savings to justify what would probably be a £2,500 outlay on installing a new boiler. New condensing boilers also have a chequered record on reliability and quality of parts.
LInda Mckay adds: If you have solar panels it’s worth noting that many combi boilers are not compatible with this heating system or cannot use it as effectively so check with your possible installer first.
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