Is now the best time to buy a boiler?
For many of us, the impact of the cost of living crisis seems like an inescapable reality right now. With energy prices rising across the globe and inflation spiralling, many UK households are rightly concerned about staying warm this winter. This has seen families looking to make financial savings wherever they can.
Although there is typically no wiggle room when it comes to outgoings such as rent/mortgage payments and basic grocery shopping, by reviewing your energy usage, you might be surprised how many savings you can find. Inefficient boilers are often one of the main causes of higher-than-average energy bills in the UK. For this reason, if your boiler is over 15 years old and/or has a low-efficiency rating, you might want to consider replacing it. While this will mean initial investment, the long-term savings you could make mean this is well worthwhile. However, the question is, is now the right time to think about buying a new boiler?
To help you decide, we’ve put together this handy guide, exploring whether or not a new boiler has the ability to bring down your household’s outgoings and, if so, by how much. We also look specifically at some of the factors that may come into play when deciding if now is the best time to upgrade your boiler.
Could a new boiler help bring down the cost of living?
Put simply, yes - a new boiler can absolutely help to cut your household outgoings. If your home’s boiler is 15 years old or more, the chances are it's not very energy efficient. This is to say, in order to heat your home and provide hot water on command, it likely uses much more energy than its more modern counterparts. When you consider that heating and hot water account for more than 50% of what the average household spends per year on energy bills, an inefficient boiler can have a huge impact on your energy costs.
Although initial purchase and installation costs will obviously apply, if your old boiler has a low-efficiency rating, now is the best time to buy a boiler. This is because, if you can afford the initial outlay now, the savings you can make in the long-term will help your household should the cost of living crisis deepen.
How much will a new boiler save me?
Putting an exact figure on how much a new boiler will save you is tricky. This is because savings are dependent on a number of variables. These include the efficiency of your current boiler and the type of fuel it runs on. That being said, if your boiler is over 15 years old and/or has a low-efficiency rating, it is safe to assume the savings a new A+ grade boiler could yield are substantial.
Running cost savings will of course have to be offset against the cost of purchasing and installing the new boiler. However, in many cases, these combined savings over its lifetime (typically 10-15 years) will mean the new boiler essentially pays for itself.
When is it time to replace your boiler?
Replacing your boiler can be an expensive business, and is not something you should just jump into. However, there are a number of signs you should start to look out for if you are considering a boiler upgrade. Below we take a look at a number of these key indicators in some detail. If you can relate with one or a number of these factors, now may well be the best time for you to buy a new boiler.
Your boiler is 15 years old or more
Even if your boiler is fully functioning, if it is 15 years old or more, it is certainly worth considering an upgrade. The truth is, the older the appliance is, the less energy efficient it is likely to be. Naturally, due to age, a 15+ year old boiler will also be more prone to breakdowns, with spare parts on some older models harder to come by. As we head into the cost of living crisis, inefficiency and potential reliability issues are not what you want from your boiler.
Your boiler is leaking, making loud noises and/or regularly breaking down
Regardless of your boiler’s age, if it is leaking, making loud noises, producing strange smells, or simply breaking down regularly, there is something wrong. For example, leaking could indicate broken internal pump seals, a pressure valve fault, or general corrosion inside your boiler. Similarly, when a boiler makes loud noises and/or produces unusual odours, this is a sign there is an internal fault.
While repairs are, of course, a preferable option to full replacement - and should always be the first port of call in the first instance of any of these issues - if your boiler is regularly breaking down and requiring pricey repairs, now may be the best time to invest in a new machine.
Your heating bills are much higher than expected
Due to a global increase in the cost of energy, most household gas and electric bills have risen of late. However, if after taking these increases into consideration, you are still seeing your bills creeping up significantly more than you expected, it could be down to your boiler. If you suspect this is the case, book a boiler service. The heating technician that is sent to service your heating system can help identify any potential issue. However, as covered elsewhere in this guide, if the technician attributes the unexpected rise in your bills to your boiler’s age and/or low-efficiency rating, they will likely recommend replacing your boiler.
Your boiler has a low-efficiency rating
In the end, everything comes down to this when it comes to boiler upgrades - low-efficiency boilers cost more to run and repair than newer high efficiency alternatives. For some context, modern A-rated boilers typically operate at 90% efficiency or higher. Compare this to older G-rated boilers that usually operate at 70% or lower.
This means, if your boiler is rated anything less than an A, it could be worth considering a replacement now. In the UK, you can rest assured that any new replacement boiler you opt for will be an upgrade in efficiency. This is because, in 2018, 'Boiler Plus' legislation was introduced, requiring all newly installed boilers to have a minimum ErP efficiency of 92%.