Want to heat your house more efficiently? The look to the heart of the problem. A boiler replacement could save you money on your energy bills, but how do you go about it? Read on to find out.
If you’re unsure that you need a new boiler, ask yourself a few questions.
Can you remember when you got your boiler? If the answer is no, it’s probably time for an upgrade. To be more specific, any boiler older than fifteen years is unlikely to be working to maximum capacity. New boilers are much more energy efficient so will help save money on your heating bills.
Can you usefully control the settings on your heating and thermostat? If not, then you’re not getting the best out of your boiler.
Will the cost of repairing your boiler surpass that of a new one? If so, you should upgrade. It’s a bit like the love affair with your first car, when it’s definitely time to say goodbye but you persistently plug money into it with unparalleled hope. Except way less romantic… In sum, know when to call time.
Upgrading your boiler can also increase your home’s value if you’re looking to sell. To any landlords reading, you should also know that it’s now the law for any new boiler installed to be a condensing boiler – these have a larger heat exchanger and as such are more efficient.
Replacing a boiler won’t come cheap. It cost you anywhere in the region of £1,000 to £4,000 including installation fees.
Despite the quadruple figures, a boiler replacement might well be worth the cost. For example, if you live in a detached house and your current boiler has an EPC rating of G (the worst!), then you could save over £300 a year on energy bills by upgrading to a condensing boiler.
There are a few types of boilers available: regular boilers, system boilers or combi boilers. Which one you should opt for will largely depend on how big your house is, as well as your budget. Combi boilers are on the whole more efficient, but don’t store that much water, so they may not be ideal for bigger homes.
You could also look at other methods of heating your house. Heat pumps are a great alternative for homes without a gas supply; instead, these pumps extract the heat from outside which in turn heats your home. It’s a renewable technology, meaning households that install them may be eligible for the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive scheme. Consequently, you could end up saving money on your energy bills this way.
You should always get your boiler replaced by an accredited installer, regardless of which type you have. If you don’t, you not only risk invalidating your warranty, but poor workmanship can lead to serious dangers such as gas leaks. An accredited installer will ensure that your boiler complies with any regulations as well as issuing your safety certificate.
A comprehensive list of accredited installers can be found on the Competent Persons Register or on the Gas Safe Register. Just note, it’s worth getting a few quotes to be sure you’re getting a competitive rate.
We know new boilers don’t come cheap, yet with old boilers it’s likely you’ll be paying over the odds for your energy bills. Upgrading could lead you to significant savings. However, should the cost of a new boiler be unaffordable – and let’s face it, there are considerably more exotic things we could do with that money – then there is financial help available.
You may qualify for the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO), a government scheme that allows those on low incomes to upgrade their boiler for free. Contact your energy supplier to see if you’re eligible. It’s also worth checking the conditions of your warranty – boilers tend to have a guarantee for at least a couple of years, so you may be able to get it replaced, or any faults repaired, free of charge.
With heating accounting for over half of our household bills, minor adjustments to our energy consumption really make a difference. Even if you have a swanky new boiler, without thorough home insulation you’re not taking advantage of its efficiency. Be sure you have proper loft insulation, block out any draughts and upgrade to double-glazed windows. Carpets and curtains also help to retain the heat.
Yet switching energy suppliers is, on the whole, the most hassle-free way to save money. New customers get the best energy deals, that’s why it pays to switch – you don’t want to get stuck on your supplier’s standard, non-competitive rate. You can search for tariffs using our energy comparison tool – just pop in your postcode and a few preferences! An efficient boiler, a few household adjustments and a new supplier is the holy trinity of getting cheap energy.