Are Condensing Boilers Unreliable?
By Rob Hull on July 23, 2010
The condensing boiler and its reliability have improved dramatically in the 20 years since they were first released on the UK market – of course, condensing boilers were beset with small problems in their early years, as with most major advances in technology in appliances.
Unfortunately due to all the bad press created by their early faults, now-repaired issues and persistent myths about the boilers still lingering in the minds of the general public, which are, in most part, completely false or resolved completely with new technology and designs.
Dispelling the Myths
Many of the early condensing boiler issues stemmed from the very early models of condensing boilers and their launching faults, and are now completely untrue for the modern condensing boilers on the market today. All new condensing boilers have an excellent reliability and safety record, and are known to be even more reliable than many brands of modern boiler on the market today. Here are a few of the most persistent rumours which are leading the public to think “are condensing boilers unreliable?”
1. Condensing boilers corrode quickly
In the earliest models of condensing boilers, the heat exchanger which was used had a tendency to corrode if the flue gases created by the boiler would condense upon it. This issue was quickly resolved, and new boilers all should be fitted with a heat exchanger which is of a non-ferrous metal, usually stainless steel.
2. Condensing boilers are over-priced
Because stainless steel and other non-ferrous metals are often more expensive, the price of a condensing boiler is higher than with other types of boiler. It’s a common myth that condensing boilers are over-priced because of their higher energy efficiency, that the public is paying an extra premium because they are the highest technology for the best environmental benefit. This is simply not true, and, as mentioned above, the price of a condensing boiler is influenced by its more expensive essential metal parts.
3. Water gets ‘trapped’ inside a condensing boiler, and they are damaged
All the cool water created as a by-product of a condensing boiler is easily drained away, and should pose no issue at all to the health of your boiler if the boiler has been correctly fitted by a qualified and registered installer and regular boiler service is undertaken.
4. Condensing boilers use unreliable new technology
Now 20 years after its launch, the condensing boilers ‘new’ technology has been proven to be highly reliable, and in those 20 years any bugs have been resolved and tweaks to the design have been made to ensure nothing can go wrong.
5. The pluming from the condensing boilers flue is dangerous
This is simply not the case – the small amount pluming you see from the flue of a condensing boiler is merely water vapour, and will turn into small droplets of harmless water when it comes into contact with a cold surface.
6. The pluming will make my house damp
Condensing boilers only make a small amount of pluming, and its highly recommended that you place a boiler in a well ventilated area, or site the flue to guide the plume to outside of your residence. If a condensing boiler is placed close to a window or inner corner, then some droplets of water may be seen, but all qualified boiler fitters will site a condensing boiler in an area where pluming will never be an issue.
7. Condensing boilers are only more efficient than other boilers when they are condensing
Whether running in condensing mode or not, a condensing boiler will always be 15 – 30% more efficient than older boilers.
8. Condensing boilers will kill my plants
Your plants will love the small amount of carbon dioxide that a condensing boiler produces!