To repair or replace? What to do as the back boiler gets older

Lockdown is a great opportunity to change and fix things at home. If you own a house that was built in the 1960s or earlier, chances are that your home has a back boiler. A back boiler works like most other boilers by providing heat to your home’s central heating system with some key differences, including the fact that it is installed behind your fireplace. Because these boilers are quite old, it is likely that the one you have in your home is breaking down or might not be as efficient as it used to be. When it gets to this point, do you get your back boiler repaired, or do you replace it with a modern unit? Below, we will look at what to do and the factors to consider.

What makes back boilers different?

Back boilers are different because they are installed behind your fireplace. This does not happen anymore, but in earlier days, they used to be installed there because they were considered unsightly. If your home has been remodelled recently, you might understand this better than most people as these boilers stand out unless you maintained the house’s aesthetics when remodelling.

The second reason they are so unique is that they are quite old and not as popular as they once were. This means that if you want to see these boilers, you might have to visit an old home.

A case for and against repairs

There is a case to be made for repairing back boilers. A homeowner might want to maintain the aesthetic of their house and might not want any new style choices to impact the look of their home. That is the only real reason as there are many more arguments to be made as to why back boilers should be replaced.

Back boilers are not as efficient as modern boilers are. Another reason to replace them is that their maintenance and repair costs are quite high due to their scarcity. The final reason is that your back boiler might be so old that it has come to its natural end. Because of this, the boiler might not work anymore and you have to get rid of it and get a modern boiler.

If you are still on the fence and do not know if you need to replace or repair your back boiler, this guide has everything you need to know.

Replacing a back boiler

Once you decide to get rid of the back boiler and replace it with something modern, you have two main options; a conventional boiler or a combi boiler. Both of these have their advantages and disadvantages, but a combi boiler is the better option as it functions as a heater and a hot water system.

A combi boiler will not only save you money as it is more energy-efficient, but it is also a lot quieter than a back boiler.

Because back boilers are installed behind your fireplace. it might have to be torn apart for the boiler to be removed. Because of this, you should only contract qualified companies to do the removal. Do keep in mind that in addition to repairing the fireplace, you might also have to repair the floor and lay new pipework for the new system.

If the expense is too high for you, there is another option; you can choose to decommission the boiler. Decommissioning the back boiler means disconnecting it from all other systems and letting it sit where it is. This is a better option than tearing your home apart. Although the damage done will not be too much, a contractor still needs to reach the boiler and there will be some repairs to do after they are done.

Even with these repairs, decommissioning the boiler is a lot cheaper than removing it completely.

Replace a back boiler even if it is working correctly

You may have a back boiler that is still working well. If that is the case, you might be wondering whether you need to replace it, and the answer is yes. Remember that back boilers are not as efficient as modern boilers so you might be wasting money using them. The other reason is that because of their age, these boilers can stop working at any time. This might leave your home with no heating and you do not want that happening in the winter.

Replacing the back boiler as soon as you can is, therefore, the best option.

Although back boilers used to be popular and widely used, it is no longer wise to keep using them. There are lots of different types of boilers available to homeowners now – boilers that work a lot better and that can help them keep their heating bills down.

About Monica Costa

Monica Costa founded London Mums in September 2006 after her son Diego’s birth together with a group of mothers who felt the need of meeting up regularly to share the challenges and joys of motherhood in metropolitan and multicultural London. London Mums is the FREE and independent peer support group for mums and mumpreneurs based in London https://londonmumsmagazine.com and you can connect on Twitter @londonmums

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