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How to choose a new boiler

Chris Torney / 08 September 2015 ( 31 March 2017 )

Buying a boiler is one of the biggest expenses homeowners face, so it is important to do your homework before choosing a new model.

Gas engineer with boiler
New gas boilers should be installed by a professional

Do I need a new boiler?

If you are having problems with your existing boiler, you need to work out whether it needs replacing or could be repaired economically. Fixing a boiler, especially if it needs new parts, can be very expensive and you may be better off getting rid of the old one altogether.

To help decide on the best course of action you will need expert advice from a plumber or heating engineer you can trust – ask friends or family for recommendations.

Equally, you may want to free up space by getting rid of an old boiler with a hot-water tank and replacing it with a new version that does not need to store hot water. And a new energy-efficient boiler can help cut your fuel bills considerably.

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What type of boiler should I go for?

Most boilers sold today in Britain are combination boilers. This means they heat water as it is required for taps and central heating and do not need a hot-water storage tank.

All new boilers now have to be condensing boilers, which means they do not lose as much heat from flue gasses and are therefore more efficient and cheaper to run.

An alternative to a combination boiler is a system boiler (also known as a “heat-only” boiler), which has a cold-water cistern usually in an attic and a hot-water tank elsewhere in the house (for example in an airing cupboard).

Overall, system boilers are better suited to providing hot water for larger homes and families.

There are countless models of each type of boiler: a plumber or heating engineer will be able to give you a recommendation as to which is most suitable for your home and circumstances. Prices can vary from a few hundred pounds to more than £2,000.

Can I install my boiler myself?

A DIY approach is not recommended and gas boilers should be installed by a professional who is listed on the Gas Safe Register.

To find an installer, visit the government-backed Competent Persons Register, or seek recommendations from people you know. It is worth getting quotes from at least three different firms to ensure you are getting a good deal and are happy with their approach.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.