Boilers are an essential part of our everyday lives. They provide us with central heating to overcome chilly winters and they give us easy access to hot water to clean our dishes and wash our bodies. It’s something that we often take for granted because our boilers tend to just work without much thought, but if you’ve ever experienced a failing or malfunctioning boiler, then you’ll know how just how difficult life can be without a functioning boiler in your home.
Reasons your boiler might need a replacement
You might think that your boiler is working fine at the moment, but there are a couple of reasons why you might want to actually replace it.
Newer boilers often have better energy savings especially if you’re upgrading from an older model that isn’t very efficient.
A new boiler installation can offer more water pressure especially if you consider a new combi boiler than can deliver hot water at mains-level pressure without an extra accessory like a pump.
Boilers tend to last around 10 to 15 years before their efficiency drops, so if you’ve noticed weird quirks with your boiler or if it’s breaking down more regularly, you may want to replace it to lower the risk of future malfunctions.
Old boilers are fairly large and bulky, so replacing a boiler can offer space savings if you want to free up space in your home. For example, a new combi boiler can heat water when it’s needed while also providing water for a central heating boiler, removing the need for a separate hot water cylinder.
In most cases, newer boilers cost less to maintain than older ones, meaning that repairs and servicing can cost a lot less in the long run especially if something serious malfunctions with your boiler.
If you plan to sell or rent your home in the future then improving your home’s energy efficiency will make it more desirable, and this can be achieved with a new and improved boiler that offers better fuel efficiency.
What should you know before getting a new boiler?
Getting a new boiler first relies on an examination of your current boiler. This is to ensure that a boiler replacement is a smart idea and something that can offer you space and money savings in the long run. It’s vital to call out a certified engineer to examine your boiler so they can consider what boiler replacements could be a viable option for your needs.
It’s also a good idea to learn about the different types of boilers.
Combi boilers heat water as you need them, making them great for space saving.
Heat-only boilers or conventional boilers can store hot water for later use.
System boilers are much like heat-only boilers but take up less space.
The type of boiler for your needs will typically be recommended by your engineer, but it’s still a good idea to understand the pros and cons of each one to help you make a more informed decision.
Why choose Bedfordshire Boilers Ltd
If you live in the Luton or Dunstable area then Bedfordshire Boilers Ltd is the perfect choice for having a new boiler installed. We are dedicated to providing our customers with the highest level of service and quality and are second to none in the Luton and Dunstable area. We offer competitive prices and a hassle-free experience to ensure that the installation is smooth, and we offer follow-up maintenance services to ensure your boiler is always operating at peak performance.
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A boiler provides heat and/or hot water to a property using one of a few different types of energy. Many boilers are gas boilers, while some might use oil or even solar power. There are also different types of boiler that work in different ways. When you’re trying to decide on a new boiler in Luton, you need to understand the difference between the types of boiler that you have available. The main choices are a conventional or regular boiler, a combi boiler, and a system boiler. These boilers can all be good choices for your home, but first you should understand the differences between them and the pros and cons that they each offer.
A conventional (or sometimes regular) boiler has a water tank for storing hot water. The water is heated and kept warm in the tank until it’s used. It is also called a heat-only boiler.
The pros of a conventional boiler
One benefit of a conventional boiler is that it can be useful for high demands for hot water. Although it provides hot water from a tank and not on demand, this means that it can provide for high demands without affecting the water pressure. For example, multiple people could take a shower at the same time without it causing any problems. A regular boiler can be useful for older heating systems too. It usually keeps radiators topped up at low pressure, using a feed and expansion tank. This protects older heating systems that might not be able to handle the high pressure of other boiler types. Conventional boilers are also usually the best choice for renewable energy products, such as heat pumps and solar energy.
The cons of a conventional boiler
A conventional boiler takes up more space than other types of boiler. It requires an extra tank to hold water, which usually goes in the loft. This can be a significant disadvantage if you don’t want to give up that space. Older models of conventional boilers tend to be less energy efficient, but if you’re choosing a new boiler, they are now more efficient than they used to be. However, there is usually some heat loss from the stored water. Hot water is also not supplied on demand. It needs to be heated in advance, and it’s possible to run out if you use too much hot water at once.
A conventional boiler offers both pros and cons. Even though more modern options exist, it can still sometimes be the best choice.
A combination or combi boiler doesn’t need hot water cylinders, which usually means it is more compact. It provides hot water on demand when you turn your heating on or turn on a hot tap (or your shower).
Pros of a combi boiler
Combi boilers are usually quicker to install due to having fewer parts, which is a bonus for a lot of people looking for a boiler replacement in Luton. A combi boiler doesn’t require a separate tank in the loft because all necessary components are combined into one unit. This saves a lot of space, leaving you with more storage space, and gives you hot water on demand. Combi boilers run on mains pressure, so you can have a powerful shower without needing to boost it with another pump.
Cons of a combi boiler
One of the advantages of a combi boiler can also be a disadvantage. Being limited by the maximum pressure that your mains can offer means that it could be stretched thin. Anyone who has more than one bathroom or who is likely to be running lots of taps or showers at the same time could notice that the pressure drops off. That might not be true for everyone, but it is a possibility. Not having a hot water tank can also be a disadvantage. It means that if your boiler fails, you won’t have any reserve hot water, and you will need to wait until the boiler is fixed before you can have access to hot water again.
A combi boiler is often best for smaller properties with only one bathroom, including flats. There can be some disadvantages, but for many homes, it’s the most efficient option and the easiest to install. They’re a modern option, allowing you to save space and save money too.
A system boiler is similar to a conventional boiler. However, it has more components built into it, which means it takes up less space. A system boiler doesn’t require space for a separate hot water tank in the loft.
Pros of a system boiler
A system boiler is capable of providing hot water to several sources at once without causing the water pressure to drop. This makes them suitable for larger homes and properties that have more than one bathroom. System boilers heat water in advance, which means they’re less demanding when it comes to water pressure. The hot water is ready to go when you need it. It also takes up less space than a conventional boiler, while offering some of the same benefits at the same time. Cold water tanks are not required with system boilers, helping you to save space. Another benefit is that a system boiler can be a good choice to use with renewable energy sources, such as a solar water heater.
Cons of a system boiler
Like a conventional boiler, a system boiler only heats water in advance. This means that if you run out, you have to wait for more hot water to be heated. You might also have your boiler on a timer to heat water when you need it most. However, if you can’t predict when you will need hot water, this might not be suitable. Although a system boiler can save space compared to a conventional boiler, it still requires more space than a combi boiler.
When choosing a boiler, think about your needs. The size of your property and your habits will make a difference to which is the best choice.
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The amount that you ultimately wind up spending on your boiler depends heavily on your current circumstances. Very few people need to install a furnace from scratch. Mostly, they need to replace an existing unit.
The price you pay, therefore, comprises two things: the cost of removing the old boiler and that of replacing it with a new one.
Typically, a combi swap where you pull out of the oil boiler and replace it with a new one costs around £2,000.
If you are removing a combi boiler from one location and installing it in another, then the costs can rise to £3,000.
If you want to replace a heat-only boiler with a combi, then you’ll also spend more because of the cost of making new connections. Prices usually fall around the £3,000 mark, similar to changing the boiler location.
Why Do Costs Vary So Much?
Boiler price costs vary considerably, which can be confusing. Part of the variation in cost depends on who provides the installation service – a sole trader, small business in the local area, a big company, or an online company with a subcontractor network. Different business setups have varying overheads, and this impacts the prices they charge.
Sole traders perform a sizable chunk of total UK boiler installations. Typically, they comprise a single operative with a specialist background in boiler and gas safety.
Sole traders usually have much lower overheads, so their prices tend to be more affordable than other options. They also typically have lower labour costs than engineers from the big firms, again providing customers with savings.
There are downsides to using their services though. If something goes wrong with the installation, then you may be waiting for a long time for them to come back and fix the problem. It all depends on their schedule.
Online companies are a relatively new player in the boiler-fitting market. These agencies don’t hire any operatives directly. Instead, they create networks of sub-contractors to whom they farm out work. Who you ultimately get is very much a function of the area in which you live.
The purpose of these online services is to give customers quotes without the need for a home visit. The idea is to increase the competition between suppliers and get homeowners a better deal on boiler replacement.
Prices are lower for two reasons. Firstly they aggregate fitters into one place, making it easy to compare them. And, second, because they bulk buy boilers before installing them, they reduce costs. Customers, therefore, can sometimes bag substantial discounts.
Small, Local Businesses In Milton Keynes, Luton, Dunstable & St Albans
The third option is to choose a small local business in Milton Keynes. These are not sole traders or handymen. Instead, they’re professional firms with multiple accredited people who specialise in boiler installations. Some have office staff, but many do not.
The price you pay here depends considerably on whether you’re dealing with a barebones company or one looking to create a brand. Some of these outfits are just two or three people operating under a limited liability company structure. Others are growing businesses that have people both out in the field and the head office.
These companies tend to have higher overheads than sole traders, but they also have higher volume, meaning that they can spread the costs across more customers. Prices, therefore, tend to be relatively competitive.
What’s more, many of these firms offer additional security and guarantees versus a sole trader. So, for instance, they might provide a one-year warranty on all installations or promise to return in 48 hours if there’s a problem with the unit they install.
Big Companies, Such As British Gas
Big companies, like British Gas, tend to charge considerably more than their smaller rivals – sometimes up to 50 per cent.
The reasons for this come down to two things: protection for homeowners and high overheads.
The big boiler installation firms must pay back-office staff wages, advertising costs, interest payments on loans, and full-time engineers. Customers are willing to pay more because of the sense of security that they get. But they ultimately spend more money compared to the other methods that we’ve discussed above.
In return for paying more, customers get professional customer support. You know that if there’s a problem with your boiler, there will always be somebody you can call to come and fix the problem.
Interestingly, you no longer need to go directly to the big companies, like British Gas, to get a quote. Many will now tell you what a boiler replacement will cost online. In general, going online will help you save money. But beware: you’ll still likely pay a lot more than if you went to a small company. Mostly, these sites compare the prices of market leaders, not those of the smaller players.
Should You Get An Online Quote Without A Home Visit?
Bringing the pricing process for getting a new boiler seems like a good idea in principle. You go online, enter your details, and then get a quote from the provider, based on what you tell them.
But there is a reason firms used home visits in the past and still do today: it allows them to predict the final price more accurately.
While going online is convenient, the vast majority of people in the industry would recommend that you get a home visit. Most small companies and sole traders offer “no obligation” quotes. You can get a home visit, but you don’t have to hand over any cash. Some homeowners like to find out what they think it will cost to carry out work and compare it to what the internet says. In-person quotes can be considerably lower.
Combi boilers are those that provide heating for your central heating system and hot water tank. They are, therefore, a do-it-all product, centralising everything into a single unit. You find them in new builds most commonly.
When it comes to replacing a combi boiler, there are two possible scenarios:
Replacing an existing combi boiler with a new one
Replacing a regular heat-only boiler and hot water cylinder
Let’s deal with option one, first. As we discussed in the introduction, the cost of replacing an existing boiler in the same location is different from the replacement boiler going to a different site. Typically, the cost of swapping the old furnace out and replacing it with a new in the same place is around £2,000 and takes about a day. Moving it to a different location costs around £2,600 and takes a day and a half.
Replacing a regular heat-only boiler with a combi is, typically, a far more complicated operation, often requiring extensive plumbing work. The cost usually comes in at around £3,200 and takes approximately two and a half days. Redirecting the hot water pipe to the new boiler is the most time-consuming aspect of the process.
How Much Does A Heat-Only Boiler Cost To Install?
Heat-only boilers only heat the central heating system. A separate cylinder heats the hot water. For this reason, these systems tend to cost a bit less money to replace.
Here, again, two possible scenarios apply to your home:
Replacing an existing heat-only boiler with another at the same location
Replacing a heat-only boiler and putting it in a new place.
Replacement in the same location typically costs around £1,750 and takes about a day. Replacing it but putting the new boiler in a different place costs around £2,200 because of the additional plumbing requirement.
A significant component of the price here is the labour, not the boiler. You can usually pick up a standard heat-only for around £750. The rest of the cost is for the work and the tools.
System boilers are relatively rare in flats and regular homes. Typically they provide heating to multiple household units and work with an unvented hot water tank to provide hot water. They are much more potent than standard boilers and, therefore, more expensive to replace.
When it comes to replacing a system boiler, therefore three possible scenarios that might apply to you:
Replacing an existing system boiler with a new one
Replacing a combi boiler with a system boiler and unvented hot water tank
Replacing a heat-only boiler with a system boiler and unvented hot water tank
The differences in price and complexity are considerable here.
If you want to replace an existing system boiler with a new one, the cost is £1,950 on average, and the work takes around a day. Replacing a combi boiler with a system boiler will set you back around £4,600 and take roughly two and a half days. The cost of replacing a heat-only boiler is slightly less at £4,200 and takes around two days.
How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Back Boiler?
Back boilers became popular throughout Britain in the late 1960s.
An open fire heats a boiler behind a wall. It then pumps water through the central heating system. You can no longer replace a back boiler with a similar one. Regulations state that you must either use a combi, system or heat-only.
Here are some of the scenarios that you’re likely to encounter if you have this variety of boiler:
Replacing a back boiler with a separate hot water tank with a combi boiler
Replacing a back boiler with a heat-only boiler and keeping the existing water tank
Replacing a back boiler with a combi boiler is the most attractive option for most homeowners. The average cost for this is around £3,200 and takes roughly two and a half days. Replacing a back boiler with a heat-only boiler costs £2,775 and takes about two days.
Boiler Unit Costs
So far, we’ve looked at the combined cost of buying and installing a boiler. But, of course, there are two primary components of the price that you ultimately wind up paying: labour and the unit itself.
How much you pay for a boiler depends heavily on the model you buy. In the discussion above, we calculated the estimated costs based on installing a mid-range boiler. However, you can buy both entry-level and ultra-premium units, just like in any other market.
Boiler unit costs fundamentally depend on the quality of the internal components. The more expensive versions use premium parts that help to last longer.
They also come with additional support. As you move up the price range, for instance, the length of the warranty increases. Entry-level boilers typically offer between two and five years of cover for manufacturing defects. Economy boilers provide five to seven years of protection, and premium units sometimes go as high as ten.
You also get better after-sales-care the more money you spend on the unit. Entry-level boilers tend to have strict manufacturer-imposed conditions for them to honour the warranty. You have to prove that whatever caused the boiler to stop working was the fault of the vendor – and that’s not always easy.
The next level up is “economy.” Here you still have to meet terms to get a replacement unit, but they’re not usually as strict as those imposed when you buy a cheap boiler.
Mid-range and premium boilers usually have what vendors call a “no-quibble” guarantee. Here they promise to repair or replace if you have a problem, no questions asked.
For those who are interested in energy efficiency, boilers differ here too. All modern boilers are surprisingly efficient, but as you increase the quality of materials, you find that the numbers creep up.
Entry-level boilers typically achieve 89 to 91 per cent efficiency
Economy boilers offer 89 to 91 per cent efficiency
Mid-range and premium both offer between 92 and 94 per cent efficiency
Now for the most critical detail: the price.
Here’s a rundown of what you can expect to pay for a combi boiler in each market segment:
Entry-Level – £685
Economy – £775
Midrange – £975
Premium – £1150
As you can see, the cost of premium boilers comes in about double the cost of an entry-level version. With that said, you get a much better product offering higher efficiency, a more extended warranty, and no-quibble after-care. As you move up the price range, you also get things like weekend callouts and manufacturer-supplied engineers.
Why You Shouldn’t Choose A Boiler That Is Too Large
A lot of people believe that it is a good idea to choose a boiler that is a little larger than they need. What’s the harm in having extra capacity? It seems like a sensible idea.
Unfortunately, it can backfire. Every manufacturer creates boilers designed to perform at a specific capacity for maximum efficiency. If the owner deviates from the specification too much, energy conservation can plummet, and bills go up.
Pairing the wrong boiler with your home can actually be a lot more damaging than you might imagine.
Most boilers heat water to a standard 70 degrees. They then pump it around the radiator system where it loses at least 20 C to the environment, before returning to the boiler. For a condenser to work, the returning water must be 50 C or less. If it is more, then the furnace can’t work in the 90 per cent efficiency range – putting up your bills.
If your boiler is too large, then the condensing phase will not work, and you’ll lose efficiency.
The average UK home only needs between 6 and 8 kilowatts of heating energy. But the average output is 15 kilowatts, implying most boilers are oversized.
Working out the precise cost of a boiler is a challenging process. Not only do you have to consider who you’re buying from, but also the quality of the boiler and your existing setup.
Typically, the cost of the unit runs between 28 and 60 percent of the total for the installation. The rest is the cost of labour.
It is possible to replace your boiler for a relatively small amount of money. Still, you could end up paying higher costs over the long-run in repairs and maintenance. For most people, a mid-range combi boiler is an optimal solution, offering the best price-performance ratio.
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