Replacing your boiler is a significant investment most homeowners have to make at some point. Choosing the right boiler can be a challenge because of the variety of deals available on the market today.
Homeowners often face a hard decision selecting a cost efficient and reliable boiler. What types of boilers are there? What are the pros and cons of each and what is a fair price to pay for a new boiler? This article will provide these answers, as well as provide you with some help in choosing the right boiler for your home.
Different types of boilers
How do you decide which boiler will make a practical and efficient fit with your lifestyle and house? There are three main boiler system types, and this part of the article introduces them and the differences between them. They are:
- System boilers.
- Regular boilers.
- Combi Boilers.
Combination “combi” boilers.
A combi boiler is a high-efficiency boiler which acts as a water heater and a central heating boiler at the same time. Combi boilers draw their supply from directly from the water mains, and eliminates the need for a storage tank. Mains pressure is used to distribute the water to your house, and no pump is needed. The benefits of combi boilers include:
- Compact in size so requires little installation space.
- No need for hot water cylinder so increases usable space.
- Perfect for smaller homes as they produce hot water on demand.
- Cheaper to install because of less pipework needed.
System boilers require a cylinder for holding hot water. The space requirements are still minimal because all the heating and hot water elements are within the boiler housing. System boilers can provide hot water and heating simultaneously. Their advantages include the following:
- Ideal for homes with multiple bathrooms because the boiler can supply hot water simultaneously.
- No loft tank so eliminates the chance of frozen tanks and pipes.
- Quicker to install because of compact nature.
Also known as heat only boilers, regular boilers are ideal for homes with a traditional heating and hot water system connected to a hot water cylinder. Regular boilers also need a cold water tank, as well as a small tank to keep the heating system topped up. Advantages of regular boilers are:
- Ideal for installing in homes with traditional heating systems.
- Suitable for use in low mains water pressure areas.
- Can support multiple hot water users at the same time.
- Older boiler models are less efficient than modern condensing boilers.
- Water tanks can be a source of heat loss if not insulated properly.
- Require more space for installation.
Things to consider when looking for a replacement boiler
Motivations for changing boilers differ between homeowners. Maybe your old boiler has broken down or perhaps you are considering an extension and would like a boiler to meet the increased demand. When choosing a new boiler you will need to consider the following:
- Fuel type.
- Boiler type.
- Your hot water requirements.
- Available installation space.
The factors above will help you decide which boiler is right for your requirements.
Average boiler replacement cost
Boiler costs will vary according to some factors including the boiler (size) capacity, the brand and boiler type you choose. Below is an example case study for a new boiler installation.
The plumber will install a new condensing boiler and the assumption that there will be minimal pipework modifications needed. Existing controls and wall thermostats will be reused, but TRVs will be installed as part of the installation job. The guide price is for installing a leading brand boiler into a standard two bedroom property with seven radiators installed.
The cost for the installation above comes up between £1,750 and £3,000 depending on the size of the company doing the installation, as well as regional factors. Smaller, single-proprietor businesses have lower overhead costs and can offer competitive pricing.
Back boiler to combi conversion costs
A back boiler is installed in the recess behind a fireplace and serves to provide heating and hot water. It is a traditional method of producing heat and the main advantage of the system is that it doesn’t take up additional space in the home.
Back boilers are highly reliable and with annual maintenance can last for years. Replacing a back boiler is only economical if the existing system has been condemned. A combi boiler will provide heating and hot water if adequately sized and will be more efficient. Below are representative costs for a back boiler to combi conversion.
Prices for combi boilers range from £650 to £2,000 depending on size and brand. Finding a plumber or heating engineer to give you a quote is the best way to find competitive pricing. Installation costs will also vary depending on where you live in the UK. Back boiler replacements can be complicated due to gas mains locations and the need to remove water tanks.
Expect to pay between £2,000 and £4,000 or more, depending on the complexity of the installation, for a back boiler to combi conversion job.
Finding professional boiler installers
Boiler replacements can be a challenge and if done wrong can put your family at risk. Finding a reputable plumber or gas engineer requires you to be cautious and checking out the reputation of the plumber before engaging them.