When the time comes to replace the boiler, it’s easy to fall into the trap of choosing the cheapest option that works - or the first one you come across - just to keep the heating and hot water flowing.
However, with a little thought you can reap the benefits of choosing the right boiler; from lower energy bills to maintaining the potential for future home improvements. We know that getting great value for money is a must, but you shouldn’t compromise on quality, energy efficiency or capacity.
Following these straightforward steps will help you find the right boiler that fits your needs as well as your budget.
Research your options
Start by doing a little research; if you’re reading this, you’re on the right track. Dig a little deeper and learn more about the different types available to you. Here’s a quick list:
Combi (or combination) boilers:
These are the most popular type of boiler sold in the UK, as they provide instant hot water without the use of tanks or cylinders. They’re relatively compact and have the added bonus of supplying unlimited heat and hot water to your taps and radiators, whenever you need it. On the downside, if multiple taps are used simultaneously, water pressure may suffer. Combis are great for smaller households who don’t need to use various sources of hot water at the same time.
Also known as regular or open vent boilers, these include a cylinder and a tank to accommodate all your water heating needs. Although they do allow you to use multiple taps simultaneously without reducing water pressure, once the hot water supply has been used up, you’ll have to wait for it to reheat. Due to their size, they’re not the best option for homes with extremely limited space.
Commonly referred to as sealed system boilers, these heat water from the expansion tank and store the hot water in a cylinder. They’re smaller than conventional boilers, but still have the downside of a limited hot water supply. However, they do allow you to use multiple taps at the same time, making them ideal for big families.
Combi, conventional and system boilers are also available as condensing boilers. These have the added feature of being able to capture and reuse some of the heat it puts out. They’re very energy-efficient with up to a 25% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions and lower energy bills. However, they are generally more expensive than traditional boilers, although the energy savings will eventually offset this upfront cost.
Get in touch with the manufacturer
Once you’ve found the right boiler, contact the manufacturer directly to get a list of local installers. Get a few quotes in writing and have an in-depth discussion with each installer to go over your heating needs. A few things to bring up include:
- How many bathrooms you have in your home.
- How much hot water you typically use.
- Whether you have double-glazed windows.
- How well insulated your home is.
This should help you and the installer decide what capacity your boiler should ideally be.
Learn all you can about the heating engineer prior to installation
After you’ve taken some time to chat with your potential installer, you should have a good feel for their overall knowledge and expertise. However, since it’s such an important job, you’ll need a little more than that to put your mind at ease. Check to make sure your installer is Gas Safe (previously run by Corgi) registered and ask to see their credentials.