There are no set rules when it comes to how often boilers need to be replaced. However, these appliances should last for up to 15 years, or even longer if they are good quality and well maintained. 

Exactly how long yours lasts will depend on a range of factors, including the type of boiler you have and how regularly it has been serviced.

How often should a boiler be replaced?

You might be keen to put off replacing your boiler for as long as possible, but if you delay doing this for too long, you could experience a range of problems, from boiler breakdowns, to expensive repairs, to high energy bills. 

With constantly increasing energy costs as well as improvements in technology, boiler efficiency is becoming an important consideration. To give you a clearer idea of when it makes sense to switch to a new appliance, here’s a guide to how often you should replace your boiler.

Does my boiler need replacing?

If your boiler stops working completely and can’t be repaired, you’ll obviously need to get a new one. However, this isn’t the only reason to consider investing in a replacement. Here are some other signs that it could be time to get a new model:

Frequent breakdowns

The occasional boiler breakdown may not merit buying a new one, but if you find that you have to call out an engineer to fix this appliance often (for example, more than once a year), it’s worth asking yourself if the cost of call-outs and repairs is making your boiler uneconomical to run.

Replacing an old, unreliable boiler with a new model will also be safer and give you added peace of mind that you will have heating and hot water whenever you need it.

Not working as well as it used to

If your heating system is no longer able to meet the needs of your house, you should think about a replacement. For example, if you’re struggling to keep your home warm or your water isn’t hot enough, this could mean that your boiler isn’t doing its job properly anymore - or simply that the model you have no longer matches the needs of your household.

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Unexplained increases in your bills

Old boilers are nowhere near as energy efficient as new models, and so if you’ve noticed that your energy bills have crept up over recent months or years, an outdated boiler could be to blame. Modern A-rated condensing designs operate at over 90 per cent efficiency, while G-rated models run at 70 per cent efficiency or less. 

According to the Energy Saving Trust, an average detached house could save up to £305 a year by replacing a G-rated boiler with a new A-rated condensing model.

Difficult to find replacement parts

One of the disadvantages of having an old boiler is the fact that it can be hard to find the replacement parts needed to fix and maintain it. If your appliance requires repairs and it’s going to cost a lot of money or prove difficult to get the necessary parts, now may be the time to upgrade to a new model.

Doesn’t support smart technology

An increasing number of newer boilers now have built-in support for smart home technology, allowing you to control your heating environment via the internet using a tablet, PC or your mobile phone. This means you can control your comfort and efficiency at your fingertips whenever and wherever you are. 

As a result, you could be able to save a significant amount on your energy bills. If your boiler doesn’t support smart technology, you will be missing out on these benefits.

How much does it cost to replace a boiler?

The cost of getting a new boiler will depend on a range of factors, including the type of appliance you choose and the complexity of the installation.

Different types and sizes of boiler can vary significantly in price, and then you’ll need to factor in how much your installer will charge to fit the new appliance. For example, a new combi boiler for a small home could cost anywhere from £600 to £1,500, depending on the particular model. For a terraced or semi-detached home, the cost of a new combi boiler could range from £700 to £2,000, while for a detached property, you’re probably looking at between £900 and £3,500. You’ll then need to add the cost of installation, and for this type of boiler, charges can range from around £600 to over £1,000.

The complexity of the installation will have a big impact on costs. For example, replacing a boiler with the same style of appliance in the same location will be cheaper than installing a different type of boiler in the same place, or installing a boiler in a new location. Also, bear in mind that if your heating system is old, it might need a power flush to remove dirt that has built up over time - and this will also increase the cost. 

Having extras like new radiators or a new thermostat installed will also make installation more expensive.

How long does it take to replace a boiler?

This will depend on a number of factors, including the type of appliance you’re installing and its location. If you’re going for a straight swap on a like-for-like boiler in the same location, you can expect installation to be completed within one day. However, if the pipework doesn’t quite match directly with the new appliance, this may take around one and a half days.

If you’re fitting a different type of boiler, you’re changing the location of the appliance or you’re having your heating system power flushed, you can expect this process to take anywhere between one and three days.

Meanwhile, if you plan to have an alternative type of system fitted, like a heat pump, installation may take between three and five days.

Your heating engineer will be able to provide you with an accurate timescale when you book the installation, meaning you should have a clear idea of what to expect.

Do I qualify for free boiler replacement?

You may be eligible for a free replacement boiler through the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) scheme. This is designed to enable certain homeowners and private tenants to get their old boilers replaced free or charge or with the help of a subsidy. To qualify for the ECO scheme, you must meet specific criteria. For example, you must be receiving at least one benefit and be earning less than £20,000 per year as a household. Additionally, you must either own your property or have received permission from your landlord if you are renting.

Your eligibility will also depend on a range of other factors, including where you live and the level of cost/carbon savings that could be made. Your energy supplier should be able to advise you if you’re eligible for an ECO grant.

Does house insurance cover boiler replacement?

You may be eligible for a free replacement boiler through the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) scheme. This is designed to enable certain homeowners and private tenants to get their old boilers replaced free or charge or with the help of a subsidy. To qualify for the ECO scheme, you must meet specific criteria. For example, you must be receiving at least one benefit and be earning less than £20,000 per year as a household. Additionally, you must either own your property or have received permission from your landlord if you are renting.

Your eligibility will also depend on a range of other factors, including where you live and the level of cost/carbon savings that could be made. Your energy supplier should be able to advise you if you’re eligible for an ECO grant.

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