A boiler is one of the most expensive household appliances to buy – new boilers outright can cost, on average, upwards of £3,000 for a mid-range boiler and that doesn’t even cover the installation so when choosing a new boiler, you need to be sure you’re making the right decision.
Has your boiler gone bust? Has it completely broken down? Perhaps you’re looking into buying a new boiler – but how do you know which one to choose?
You may have experienced a boiler leak, a drop in pressure, or even worse, a complete boiler breakdown.
You may have even had an engineer out to your property who has advised it’s uneconomical to repair the boiler due to the age, the complexity of the problem or even just that the fault is too expensive to fix against the price of your current boiler as-is.
So what can you do?
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So, what kind of things do you need to consider when looking at buying a new boiler? In this post, 24|7 StayWarm’s technical experts run through some of the most crucial things to look at when choosing a boiler.
What Type do you Need?
- Combi Boiler
Britain’s best-selling type of boiler, combi boilers (short for combination boilers) are much easier to install than their predecessors, usually take no longer than half a day to set up, and are compact enough that they can fit in even the smallest of spaces.
It comes as no surprise that they’re the most popular choice for households up and down the country as a combi boiler ensures heat for your radiators as well reduces any long waiting times for your hot water, as it’s instant. Also, you get to free up crucial space as you don’t need a water cylinder either.
Combi boilers heat water directly from the mains when you turn on the tap so be careful if you’ve got a busy household; if someone is trying to take a shower whilst you’re washing up – they might be in for a drop in water pressure or the shower could run cold! If you do have a busy household and do want a combi boiler for its space-saving properties, consider an electric shower instead.
Combi boilers also only heat water when you need it so they’re great for saving energy as they don’t waste it if you’re not using it. If your household works off a combi boiler, be sure to read our post on the best combi boilers here.
Benefits of a combi boiler include:
- Generally speaking, the running cost is lower
- Highly efficient
- No need for a separate cylinder or tank
- Instant heating and hot water
- Small enough to fit in cupboards
The cons of a combi boiler:
- Unsuitable for homes with more than one bathroom
- Can’t have a power shower
- No immersion heater means that if your boiler breaks down you’ll be left without water and heating
- Conventional Boiler (Or Regular Boiler)
A type of boiler more commonly used in the past, conventional boilers are used in homes that still use a traditional heating system and which have a separate hot water cylinder. These types of boilers also have a cold water tank, usually located in the attic, to maintain the water level of the central heating system.
If your home has old radiators or an old radiator system, purchasing a conventional boiler is probably better for you as it may not be able to cope with a higher water pressure that is commonly found in combi’s.
Regular boilers are also ideal when you have busy households that need to use a lot of hot water at the same time. They’re also great if you’ve got more than one bathroom and in an area where you suffer from low water pressure. Be careful though, as although the tanks store water, you could run out of water if you use too much at once.
They’re also eco-friendly options as they complement solar water heating systems which can help the environment and reduce your household costs.
Pros of a conventional boiler:
- Good for larger homes with multiple bathrooms
Cons of a conventional boiler:
- You’ll have to wait for the water to heat up
- You can run out of hot water
- You’ll need both a cylinder and water tank
- System Boiler
System boilers, similar to regular boilers, need a cylinder to store hot water however there is no need for an extra tank in the loft so they’re slightly more space-saving than conventional boilers. They can be slightly more expensive than conventional boilers, but are great if you’re considering a loft conversion.
Ideal for households with busy bathrooms and who need plenty of hot water, system boilers can be compatible with solar heating systems too. They give you a consistent supply of water at all times and are pretty economical to run.
Pros of a system boiler:
- Allows you to have hot water to more than one tap at a time
- No cold water tank needed
Cons of a system boiler:
- No hot water on demand
- Hot water can run out
- You’ll need space for a cylinder
- Not as efficient as a combi boiler
Which Size to Choose?
Your heating engineer should be able to find you a boiler that is perfect in size for where it needs to go alongside any tanks or additional cylinders you need, if you choose to go for conventional or system boilers.
You may need a different sized boiler depending on the size of your house, how many bathrooms you have, how many radiators and rooms need heating etc so your engineer will present a few options depending on budget and making indications as to what to look for.
Generally speaking, smaller houses with up to ten radiators and one standard-sized bathroom will need a 24-27 kW boiler. If you have more than one bathroom, a standard combi boiler may struggle to cope and you’ll find you may struggle getting hot water to both bathrooms, at the same time. In this case, a system or conventional boiler over 35 kW should suffice. A 28-39 kW boiler is ideal for those in a medium-sized house with up to 15 radiators and for your much larger houses, with up to 20 radiators, consider a 40 kW boiler.
Also, if you’re choosing a new boiler and are looking for recommendations online – be sure to check out the measurements for each boiler to ensure it will fit in your space at home.
How do I Know if it’s a Good Boiler?
Buying a boiler that won’t break down every two minutes is super important. After all, you’ll have a 12-month warranty on it – but what happens after that? They can be hugely expensive to fix, and after such a large initial expense, you want to ensure you’re not going to incur any more hefty charges to get it fixed.
It’s always advisable to read online reviews and other people’s experiences with their boilers. The better known brands may be more expensive to purchase initially – but should you ever need replacement parts or fixtures, they’ll probably be easier to come by than a cheaper, unknown brand.
What else do I need to consider?
Next, ask your heating engineer for his or her recommendations as to what boilers they’ve had experience with and what they have found to be the most reliable and hassle-free.
Choosing a boiler yourself can be a very difficult thing to do without the advice or guidance of an experienced and knowledgeable engineer. Ensure you ask questions relating to the availability of parts and how easy it would be to source them should anything go wrong.
Finally, consider taking out a boiler breakdown cover to ensure you’re protected against anything that may go wrong once your warranty expires.
A good boiler breakdown plan should not charge for parts or labour, use new and original parts in any repairs, have a 24-hour helpline and include 24-hour call outs. 24|7 Home Rescue have a wide range of boiler breakdown plans from our basic package starting at only £7.47 per month to our deluxe package which covers you for a wide range of home emergencies, too.
Alternatively, why not consider a new boiler plan with our 24|7 StayWarm plan? StayWarm will upgrade your boiler to a new, more economical model for the most competitive price of 2200 pounds together with a 10 year StayWarm plan for as little as 25 pounds/month. Learn more here
A team of professional engineers will be there for you 24/7 on every plumbing emergency, boiler breakdown, central heating issues, and annual service.
Visit us here: https://247staywarm.co.uk/ to find out more or contact us on 0333 358 0075.