How to Pick the Perfect Boiler for a Single-Family Home

I am absolutely helpless when it comes to do anything around the home – except for cooking and cleaning. I always rely on experts to give me honest advice about appliances, hoping for the best. As I have recently changed a boiler, I have done some research and I am now sharing it all here. A new boiler is one of the biggest household purchases you make, and repairs can cost you a fortune. This is why it is essential that you make the right choice when selecting a new or replacement boiler for your home. You simply can’t afford to make a mistake in this case. I have taken each factor into consideration when making the decision to pick the perfect boiler for my home. I hope you find this useful. 

 

Understand the Types of Boilers and When They’re Right for Your Home

One factor to consider is the energy source for your boiler. Most British households have a gas heating system and a gas boiler. However, around four million households are not connected to the gas network, which could be an issue. For these households, there are a number of alternatives. Options include a fitted oil boiler, a liquid petroleum gas (LPG) boiler, or a wood burning stove with a boiler on the back.

If you have a gas heating system with a gas boiler, there are a number of types of boilers you can choose from. Combination boilers or combi boilers can be a good choice for small flats and tiny homes. They provide both heat for radiators and domestic hot water. However, they might cause issues if you have a lot of family members since they can only provide hot water for one application at a time.

Heat only boilers are good if you have the space for them. They typically have a hot water storage cylinder as well as a cold water feed tank in the loft. System boilers are a good choice if you have poor water pressure, a common problem in some areas in the country and a periodic problem in converted lofts. System boilers are similar to heat only boilers, but they don’t require extra space for the cold water storage tank.

 

I know this is not a glamorous photo but looking for a boiler is not glam!

 

Consider the Total Cost of Ownership

The purchase price of the boiler is one factor in your selection, but it shouldn’t be the only one. Don’t try to save money by trying to install the boiler yourself. Leave it to the professionals, and don’t attempt to save money by having an amateur install the boiler instead of having it done by a qualified heating engineer. When you’re comparing quotes, look at the total price of the boiler and the labour charges, not the headline fee. You can save money here by seeking multiple quotes from trustworthy heating engineers.

Another issue is the boiler’s overall value. Paying a little more for a more reliable boiler means you won’t have to pay for as many repairs down the line. You need to factor in the price you’ll pay for running the boiler, as well. Conventional fuel burning boilers can’t take advantage of the energy capacity gas and oil burning boilers can, but even these boilers can vary in their energy efficiency.

If you have gas central heating, the average boiler will account for around 60% of your home’s carbon dioxide emissions and a large part of your home’s energy bills. Learn about the efficiency of boilers, though you won’t find much difference between most modern condensing boilers. Most of them are around 90% efficient. Yet you could save a fortune on your energy bills if you replace an old non-condensing boiler with a modern one. The new unit will be up to a third more energy efficient, and that will save you a lot on your energy bills.

Another issue is the size of the boiler. Don’t try to save money by getting a smaller boiler than what will meet your family’s needs. An excessively large boiler will cost more than you otherwise had to pay. Yet you’ll be frustrated if you buy a boiler system that can’t provide enough hot water or home heating to keep everyone comfortable.

For example, in a two-bedroom home, a small heat only boiler or mid-sized combi boiler could work for you. Then the right choice depends on whether you have space for the cold water tank or whether you use more than one hot tap at once. For a four-bedroom or other large home, the best choice is probably a heat-only boiler. The size of boiler, though, will depend on how well insulated the property is. Get the right type and size of boiler for your home to have the lowest overall total cost of ownership.

On top of all of this is the lifetime cost of maintaining the boiler. You can reduce how much you’ll pay out of pocket for boiler repairs if you have a good boiler cover. The best boiler cover insurance policies will pay for qualified engineers to perform boiler maintenance as well as coming to make repairs during these home emergencies. For instance, you can get a plan through Certi that will include boiler breakdowns, system maintenance, the electrics, security and pests, help lines and drains depending on the policy you choose. Then you don’t have to break the bank to pay for unexpected breakdowns, and you’ll keep the boiler running efficiently because it is well maintained. Consider an insurance policy for the boiler an investment in the boiler itself.

Determine How You Want to Have the Boiler Installed

The biggest decision you need to make is how the boiler will be mounted in your home. In most modern single-family homes, the boiler is designed to be mounted on the wall. Wall mounted boilers generally look like a small hinged cupboard. They’re a fully staffed boiler system including the expansion tank, water circulation pump and safety pump. The biggest points in favour of these systems is that they are small and relatively cheap.

The alternatives are freestanding boilers. These boilers can come with integrated high-volume pressure tanks, and this is the only design available for boilers with a high electric power capacity such as those with more than 30 kW.

Floor standing boilers, also called freestanding boilers and floor mounted boilers, typically have more capacity. Furthermore, you are rarely able to mount a boiler with more than 100 litre capacity to the wall. Another benefit of floor mounted boilers is that they typically have better power consumption rates. Floor mounted units often have an integrated high capacity water heater resembling a refrigerator. It can be installed in a specially designed closet, boiler room or workshop room. It may be possible to hide all pipes and fittings inside a big, often insulated, case.

Don’t Forget the Heating Controls

Heating controls are a good way to manage your heating costs. With an advanced heating control system, you can heat only certain rooms at certain times. This will reduce the overall cost of operating the boiler, and it can improve the efficiency of an older boiler. When you decide to repair or replace a boiler, this may be a good time to install a better heating control system.

 

You can’t afford to deal with the problems that come with a knock-off, undersized boiler installed by an amateur. Take all of the relevant factors into account so that you pick the perfect boiler for your family’s home without paying more than necessary.

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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