Do you need a new boiler?

The short answer is probably not. I am in the business of repairing boilers, I don’t generally do installation work – just repairs. In the last 12 months I have repaired hundreds of boilers, but I have only installed three new boilers.

Sometimes customers are led to believe that they need a new boiler as theirs cannot be repaired. Usually this assessment is justified on the basis that parts for that particular boiler are just not available anymore. Sometimes this is true however, more often than not installers who don’t know how boilers work(or how to find a fault and fix it) will tell a customer this as it is easier than saying “sorry I don’t know whats wrong with your boiler”. Often their business is installation work, hence it is easier to offer you a new boiler if they don’t know whats wrong with the one you currently have.

I am not saying this to cast a negative shadow on installers or other Engineers. On paper a qualified heating engineer should know how to find faults on boilers and repair them, but in reality this isn’t always the case.

There is nothing on most modern boilers which cannot be repaired or replaced. I have carried out repairs on boilers well over 15 years old, and for most of them I have been able to order replacement parts and fix them. So its fair to say that if your boiler is around 10 years old or less, you can usually get replacement parts for it. If you have been told otherwise then you might be best off getting a second opinion.

Now having said all that there are some boilers that are just not worth repairing. There are many new boilers(less than 10 years old), and replacement parts are readily available for these appliances. However some manufacturers tend to make money on the sale of spares as opposed to the sale of the actual product itself. Sometimes the cost of these spares can be a bit expensive and there is no point spending a lot of money repairing a boiler which is likely to go wrong sometime in future.

I am always honest with customers when a boiler is not worth repairing in my opinion. As I have said, I am in the business of repairing boilers not installing them.

My advice

If you have a boiler that is currently working ok and you are maybe considering a new boiler to save some money, then this is the advice I give to all my customers:

“If you have a boiler that is suitable, working ok and doing its job, not causing any problems or costing you a lot of money, then you are probably best off just keeping it until such time that it does.”

Isn’t a new boiler more efficient though?

The truth is that most modern condensing boilers are usually not much more efficient than the non-condensing boiler you may currently have.

This is true of most modern fan-flued, non-condensing appliances. In terms of gross efficiency there is usually around a 10% difference between a condensing and a non-condensing fan-flued appliance. There are quite a few different factors that effect efficiency between old and new appliances, but upgrading an older boiler purely to save some money on your heating bill is usually a waste of money.

A good salesman might make you believe otherwise.