Energy prices are now constantly on the rise. One good way to reduce cost is replacing the central heating boiler. Replacing a 15-year old boiler with a new one could reduce the yearly heating expenses by around £300.
Old homes usually have a boiler that supplies the central heating and vented hot water system. As the hot water is not pressurised, the flow of hot water is poor - especially on the upper floors. This is most noticeable in showers where temperature control is difficult.
- Ideal Boiler Design
- Boiler Installation Options
- Gas Boilers
- Oil Boilers
- LPG Boilers
- Electrical Boilers
- Boiler Installers
- Central Heating Installation
- Important things to remember about boiler installation
- Decisive factors to repair or replace your boiler
- What is the best way to control a boiler?
- What is the smart heating control?
IDEAL BOILER DESIGN
As energy costs have increased, boiler design has become more efficient and newer boilers are required to have a thermal efficiency that is greater than 88 per cent. Many older boilers have a thermal efficiency that's below 70 per cent; this means that more than 30 per cent of the energy is wasted.
There are three types of boilers.
- The conventional boiler provides central heating and heats water using a low-pressure water cylinder fitted with a cold-water header tank.
- The system boiler is similar to a conventional boiler except that the low-pressure water tank is replaced by a pressurised tank. The main benefits are that domestic hot water is at the same pressure as cold water and the pressurised tank does not require a cold water header tank.
- The combination boiler is popular because of its simplicity. It doesn't use a hot water tank as hot water is heated as required. It takes up less space and if correctly sized, can supply all domestic hot water needs. It can be unobtrusively mounted in the kitchen.
BOILER INSTALLATION OPTIONS
There are three ways to get a new boiler installed. The easiest, but generally the most expensive method, is to arrange the installation through the gas company. However, it's often cheaper and the homeowner has more say in the matter when an independent contractor is used for the installation. A method of further reducing costs is to buy the boiler from a merchant and appoint an independent contractor to install it, but this should be discussed with the installer beforehand to ensure the correct boiler is purchased. When using independent installers be sure to check their references as there is less recourse for sub-standard work.
The prices and installation costs of the three types of gas boilers for a medium-sized home that requires a 24 kW central heating boiler vary. The cost of a replacement conventional gas boiler is between £600 and £700 (excluding VAT). When this is a direct replacement in the same location as the old boiler the installation, costs are £500 to £600, but if the location of the boiler is changed, the installation costs increase to £1,000 to £1,500.
When a gas system boiler is installed, the low-pressure water cylinder must also be replaced. The cost of the boiler is between £500 and £600 and a pressurized cylinder will cost £550 to £700. For installation of the boiler in the original position, including installation of the pressurised water cylinder, expect to pay £1,000 to £1,200. When the boiler is moved, the cost will be between £1,500 and £2,200, including the installation of the pressurised water cylinder. Should the hot water system already have a pressurised (unvented) cylinder the installation costs would be lower and similar to those for a conventional boiler.
A gas combination boiler has to supply a central heating requirement of 24 kW and instant hot water requirements of 10 litres per minute and is slightly larger than the conventional boiler. Purchase prices vary between £650 and £800. Installation costs for a direct replacement in same position are £500 to £600, and if the boiler is moved to a new location, £1,000 to £1,500. These prices are based on a 24 kW boiler. In a larger home with a 30 kW central heating demand, a bigger boiler would cost an additional £150 to £200.
Oil boilers are not as common as gas boilers and there are fewer suppliers. Due to their increased complexity, they are more expensive than gas boilers.
A conventional oil boiler installed inside the home will cost between £1,000 and £1,400 (excluding VAT) and a weather-proofed external boiler between £1,100 and £1,500. Boiler installation costs for a direct replacement in same position are £500 to £600 and in a new location are £1,000 to £1,500.
An internal oil system boiler costs between £1,300 to £1,500 and an external boiler costs between £1,400 and £1,600. Where required, the pressurised (unvented) cylinder will cost between £550 and £700 so the total cost will be between £1,850 and £2,300. The installation of the boiler in the original location plus installation of a pressurised water cylinder and including plumbing will cost £1,000 to £1,200. When the boiler is moved, the total installation cost including the water cylinder installation will be between £1,500 and £2,200. In all cases a fuel tank costing around £500 is required.
LPG boilers are an alternative to oil burners. Prices are slightly higher than gas boilers, typically between £50 and £150 higher, while installation costs are approximately the same as for gas boilers. Conventional, system, and combination units are available.
Electric boilers have advantages such as simplicity, compact size, and easy installation, but running costs are three times higher than gas boilers due to the cost of electricity. The cost of both conventional and system electric boilers is between £900 and £1,000, and a combination electric boiler will cost between £1,300 and £1,500. A compact system electric boiler package is available and supplied with a pressurised (unvented) cylinder at a cost is of £1,500 to £1,600.
Installation of electric boilers is simpler than other types as there are no flues, gas, or oil piping, although plumbing requirements are the same. It is estimated that installation costs are between £500 and £600
This is an excellent opportunity to upgrade radiators to improve home comfort as the original ones may be too small or in poor condition. For a medium-sized home this could add another £700 to £1,000 to the overall cost.
No matter what kind of boiler is installed, the services of a competent, registered tradesman are required. If unsure, check with the local authority. Independent boiler installers can be found through GetABestPrice, boiler company websites, the Heating and Hot Water Industry Council, and the Competent Persons Register.
CENTRAL HEATING INSTALLATION
What is central heating?
A lot of houses in the UK have in particular gas central heating. This system is called ‘wet system’ because a gas-fired boiler heats water through radiators and hot water through the taps in your habitat.
This is the most frequent way of heating in the UK. A single boiler heats up water that is pumped through pipes to radiators throughout the house.
Normally, boilers run on mains gas, but in areas where mains gas is not accessible, the boiler can run on oil, LPG (tank gas), coal or wood. Mains gas is usually low-cost, and it has the minimal level of carbon dioxide emissions, apart from wood.
If your apartment is linked to the national gas grid, you could get a gas-fired central heating system, and this is usually the cheapest option.
We propose some tips to save energy if you have a central heating system:
- Change your boiler with a current one, more potent model.
- If you want that your boiler assures heat when you want it, you have to check better controls.
- Get information about renewable technologies.
- Choose chemical inhibitors to help keep up central heating system performance.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER ABOUT BOILER INSTALLATION
No matter what you do, having a new boiler system installed is going to implicate a significant cost. You have to look at it is as an investment: is a system that helps you saving money year on year, and reduce your cost.
Consider all the aspects of the installation and ask about costs to have a clear idea,
This will help you to make a budget of your project and keeping costs down.
Have a think about and get yourself prepared
- How big is your home?
In function of the number of rooms you should have exactly the same number of radiators.
The structure of you house will determinate the type of boiler you need. Make sure you factor in all the aspects of your particular home. Our professional trades' people can help you to decide what boiler suits with your house.
- Your living habits
For example, you have to see if you have more showers in the house and how many people are in the house to determine exactly the cost of installation. This way you can see if the boiler can copes with demand.
- Future projects
Do you have any plans to extend your home or convert the loft? Common boilers need loft space for feed and expansion tanks.
- Your spending plan
Check your budget; don't be attracted to spend more than you are used to. It may be worth checking out any finance deals on offer.
DECISIVE FACTORS TO REPAIR OR REPLACE YOUR BOILER
Boilers have a limited live. Normally they require replacement even if you make regular maintenance.
The boiler´s age is an important factor in your decision even if you decide to repair or replace a unit, but is not the only factor you should consider.
Only when our boilers stop working, we act and our first step is to call a heating engineer to repair or replace.
This mix of age and old technology means that an older boiler is likely to have essentially higher annual running costs, compared with a modern replacement – as much as £300 per year in a conventional semi-detached home.
If your boiler is constantly repaired you consume time and efficiency, in this case is better to replace it.
Is it important to replace your system from standard- efficiency to high- efficiency because you could have up to 30% more efficient home and possibly save a lot of costs and dollars per year in heating costs.
Normally, a replacement cost exceeds repair costs, but is it much more difficult to find boiler replacement parts.
Another factor to examine when you decide to repair or to replace is the operating history of the boiler. Checkup your boiler’s operating history to see if there are factors that propose a replacement would be preferred over a repair.
Antique systems are designed differently from recent systems. For example, the older ones cover only one or two boilers. It is important to verify your building’s historical to detect if there is a cost benefit to replace your old structure.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO CONTROL A BOILER?
Even with a brand new, highly efficient boiler, there are still ways to improve efficiency and get the very best out of it, how we control our heating is almost as important as the boiler itself in fact.
There are several options when it comes to heating controls, but which one should you choose? First let us have a look at what the options are:
- Basic Timer – turns your boiler on or off at set times
- Room thermostat – measures how warm your room is and adjusts the boiler operation accordingly
- Programmer – lets you set different times and temperatures for different days of the week
- Thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) – allow you to adjust the temperature of individual radiators and turn them off completely
- Smart heating system – allows you to control your heating remotely via an app.
Smart heating systems are the newest innovation, but they add considerable expense and while very nice, the viability of the savings promised are not yet known. Placing that new technology to one side until it has been proven over time, what is the best choice from the rest?
The Basic timer has cost on its side of course, but lacks the finesse to adjust other aspects and often only has one setting, so the timer is fixed seven days a week. This can be problematic for most of us, who spend weekends at home rather than at work and need different timings for that. The Programmer rectifies this and is the most cost effective step up, allowing you to set temperatures and times individually for each day.
Of the two temperature sensing systems, the room thermostat is most effective, providing a more granular level of control that the TRVs simply cannot match, and for the ultimate in control the room thermostat is definitely the one to choose should your budget allow it.
WHAT IS THE SMART HEATING CONTROL?
The last great advancement in heating technology was probably the condensing boiler, which brought much increased energy efficiency to heating systems. There is a new one now though, and that is the smart heating system control, which uses a combination of hardware in the heating system and an app on a phone, tablet or other device to provide highly customizable control of your heating.
There are several benefits that these smart control systems lay claim to, but first let us examine a sample system and what it can do. While various systems are on offer at various price points, usually the more expensive offerings have a wider range of features and a higher level of sophistication; there are some basic operating ideas that are common to all.
The systems consist of a digital thermostat that has wireless connectivity built in, and a means of controlling it via a computer, phone or tablet, usually in the form of an app. The thermostat replaces the one you have already, and the primary benefit of these systems is flexibility. You can easily adjust temperatures, even if you are away from home, so if you are delayed and won’t be home for a few hours, you can change the time the heating comes back on for instance.
They offer a much higher level of programing ability than any other style of control, the more expensive ones being able to offer different temperatures in different zones of the house, for instance in the evening the lounge and kitchen are warmer with the bedrooms being heated later on when you will be using them.
This kind of adaptability is said to offer significant savings over standard controls, but as always everyone’s experience varies considerably. At the moment with the technology yet to fully mature, it is the ease of control and the extra layers of flexibility that are really the difference with smart controls.