Options available when replacing an old boiler

18th May 2012

Far too many households in the UK have old and inefficient boilers despite the existence of government programmes intended to convince householders to upgrade or replace their boilers.

The government has made a real effort to persuade people to replace their old boilers and in 2005 passed legislation that all antiquated equipment should be replaced with condensing boilers when it fails. This leaves householders with a choice of whether to upgrade straight away or wait until the old boiler fails when it will be compulsory for them to install a condensing boiler.

Condensing boilers capture radiant heat which is generated from liquid heating sources normally lost through evaporation. This heat is condensed back into water which is then used to heat incoming cold water. However there is still some loss of this secondary tier heat and its recovery will make a heating system more efficient. A popular argument currently is that using a solar power system in conjunction with a condensing boiler will further reduce costs, but the problem is that the upfront costs of such systems are not within the affordability range of many ordinary working people. Indeed, a new condensing boiler will cost somewhere in the range of £1,500 to £2,500 including installation.

When the government made upgrading to condensing boilers compulsory they also provided grants to help with the cost, but these are currently not available which means that householders either have to fork out the entire cost themselves or hunt around for another incentive scheme which might be able to help with boiler replacement.

One such incentive scheme can be accessed by installing solar thermal panels. If such an installation is carried out before July 1st 2012, a householder can effectively save hundreds of pounds per year with the additional advantage that current prices can attract a return on investment of about 15%. This means that solar is probably the best solution to the problem of boiler upgrades.

Another answer might be to wait until the government’s Green Deal scheme in the autumn, as boiler upgrades may very well be covered by Green Deal Finance providing the expected savings are greater than the cost of installing the new boiler, the regulation known as ‘the Golden Rule’. Additionally, there may be other money available from utilities providers or boiler manufacturers in the form of money back schemes.