Upgrading your boiler
How old is your central heating boiler? If it’s more than 10 years old, it may be time to think about replacing it with a new high efficiency model
Today’s central heating boilers are much better than the old ones. They can heat water more efficiently, meaning they use less gas or oil to do the same job. This saves energy and will save you money. In fact, if your boiler is over 10 years old, then it’s probably worth investing in a new one. In most cases the savings you make from a more efficient boiler over the years will pay for the outlay.
Building regulations stipulate that if your replacing an old boiler the new appliance must be A-rated for energy efficiency. This means it must be at least 88% efficient (most new boilers score over 90%), and to reach this level it will almost certainly be one of the new-style condensing boilers.
Condensing boilers come in both combination and regular models. A combination (or ‘combi’) boiler will provide your central heating and produce hot water on demand, firing up when you turn on a hot tap in the kitchen or bathroom. A regular boiler will do your central heating, but rather than produce hot water as and when required, it will heat a quantity of water which is held in a storage cylinder until required.
Some boilers only run the central heating and don’t provide hot water at all, in which case an electric immersion tank or another form of water heating is required.
In a typical semi-detached property that uses mains gas for heating, you can reduce your heating bills by around £300 per year if you upgrade from an old G-rated boiler (less than 70% efficient) to a new A-rated condensing boiler with full heating controls (e.g. timer/programmer, room thermostat and thermostatic radiator valves). The savings are even greater for larger properties and for heating systems that run on oil which is more expensive than gas.
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