How old should your boiler be before you replace it?

February 19, 2015

It’s more important than ever to think about the efficiency of your central heating boiler to ensure you aren’t paying more than you need to for your energy bills.  If you heat your home with a boiler and radiators, it is likely that roughly two-thirds of your total home energy expenditure goes on fuel.  The higher your boiler’s efficiency, the less amount of fuel needed to create the same amount of heat in your home.

A high efficiency condensing boiler is widely regarded as a good choice if you’re looking for an environmentally friendly and more efficient boiler, as they are able to make better use of the heat they generate from burning fuels, such as gas or oil.  A condensing boiler captures some of the heat from these waste gases and uses it to heat water returning from your central heating system. As a result, it requires less heat from the burner and is consequently much more efficient.

A modern condensing boiler will have an efficiency of around 90 per cent, whereas a non-condensing boiler – even a new one – will only offer about 75 per cent. In a typical semi-detached house, this difference could mean a saving of around £150 per year.  Any central heating system using a boiler that is more than 20 years old is likely to be made significantly cheaper to run by replacing with a condensing boiler.

As boilers age – particularly those that are not well maintained – they become less efficient. This combination of age and old technology means that an older boiler is likely to have significantly higher annual running costs, compared with a modern replacement – as much as £300 per year in a typical semi-detached home.

However, even at this level of excess expenditure, it would take around 6 years to recover the cost of installing a new boiler (roughly £2,000), so other factors will play a crucial role in your decision making process.

When deciding on whether to switch to a more energy efficient boiler, ask yourself the following questions:

• Is the boiler so old that maintenance is becoming very expensive or parts unavailable?
• Is the floor-space the old boiler is occupying needed for something else (modern domestic boilers are wall-mounted)?

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