Boilers sometimes break down, but often you can spot subtle signs early that your boiler may be starting to run into some issues. The worst thing you can do is ignore these signs as a breakdown during the winter months can leave you with a chilly house for a few days.
A good boiler cover policy includes an annual boiler service and will help keep your gas boiler operating at maximum efficiency for longer.
The easy signs to spot any issues with a gas boiler are any new noises, it struggles or takes longer to heat your home or is quite temperamental in general. The unfortunate reality is that boilers do not last forever, and in many cases are replaced every 10 years on average.
We’ve put together this guide to help you identify if you need a replacement boiler or if it can be a quick fix. Going through this guide may save you some money as a new boiler is not always required if your heating system can be cleaned and serviced.
Signs You May Need A New Boiler
Here’s a checklist you can go through to help you determine if your boiler has any common issues that need addressing:
Boiler Is Making Strange Noises
This is the most common sign that something is wrong with your gas boiler. Just think of how much you use your boiler during the colder months, and as boiler age, their parts can wear. Even though these parts can be replaced, in some cases it can be more cost-effective to purchase a new boiler.
Common noises are knocking, hissing or popping when the heating system is turning on. If any of these sounds occur, you’re going to need a Gas Safe registered engineer to have a look for any issues.
Radiators Start To Take Longer Heating Up
If you suddenly notice that radiators are taking much longer to heat up, this may be a sign that your boiler needs replaced. Efficient boilers reach maximum temperature very quickly – however, you should check that your radiator’s dials have not been lowered.
Before automatically assuming that you need a new boiler, you should bleed your radiators as this may fix any issues with cold spots. Also, a boiler service should fix any blockages in the pipes. These are all steps you should take before purchasing a new boiler.
You Notice An Unusual Smell
This is a more serious issue that needs addressing as a matter of emergency. A healthy boiler will never give off any smells. Even if the smell is faint, it could mean it is leaking carbon monoxide. Every household should have a detector, but this isn’t always the case. Although carbon monoxide is odourless, It sometimes gives off a very faint smell.
Any gas smells is also a matter of emergency and need attention straight away.
Any other smells could be an indication that a component has burnt out in your boiler system. A Gas Safe registered engineer will know if any parts need replacing after inspection.
Reduced boiler pressure could be a sign of leakage in the system. Pressure will also drop if the air is escaping through a valve. If it is a valve issue, it can be fixed by adding a leak sealer to the heating system.
If the pressure loss is due to something else, an engineer will need to assess the issue.
Sudden Rise In Energy Bills
This key indicator needs to be placed in the right context. We know that the energy market Is unstable at the moment with rising costs. This issue will need a little bit more investigative work to find if there’s a sudden increase in consumption.
You will need to look at energy consumption from your last couple of energy bills, ignoring the price because you may be on a variable tariff.
Your Boiler Is Old
If your boiler is getting close to 10 years old, it may need replacing. If you have kept up with servicing your boiler every year, it may last a little longer, but as new technologies are released, new boilers become more energy efficient.
A new boiler installation may seem like a large price to pay, but it works out much cheaper when you have a boiler installed that is energy efficient and reliable. Breakdown repairs can run into the £100s with older systems and combi boilers.
Replacement Parts Are Difficult To Find
If your boiler has seen better days, it may become difficult to find spare parts if you run into any repairs. If any parts have become discontinued in older models, it can start to become more expensive to repair should any issues arise.
This doesn’t mean that you should automatically be rushing to purchase a new boiler if you think a repair may get expensive. It is important to do your research and even seek expert advice from a Gas Safe engineer.
Kettling occurs when the water flow is restricted due to a build-up of scale deposits in the heat exchanger. The exchanger will become hot and start steaming causing a kettling noise.
Sludge build-up in the heat exchanger is common. Overtime kettling is damaging and will reduce the lifespan of your boiler.
Doesn’t Support Smart Thermostats
This is more a ‘nice to have’ rather than getting a new boiler because your smart thermostat isn’t compatible. If you are looking to invest in a new boiler, it is worth checking to see if it is compatible with smart thermostat technology.
Google claims that its Nest Thermostat saves UK customers anywhere from 8.4% to 16.5% in their annual home energy bills.
You can check to see if your current boiler or a new boiler you’re planning to purchase is compatible here.
How Much To Repair A Boiler?
It is very difficult to say how much boiler repairs cost. Each engineer will charge different rates for parts and labour so it is always worth getting a quote.
However, if you think the issue may be more than just a quick fix, an engineer call out and repair may be costly. Here are the average prices of some common boiler repairs:
- A boiler circuit board (PCB) is one of the most expensive components in a boiler with an average cost of up to £500.
- If you need a new fan in your boiler it can cost anywhere between £225 and £280 including parts and labour. However, it can be much cheaper and largely depends on the brand of your boiler.
- If you need a new gas valve it will cost you anywhere between £180 – £220 including parts and labour.
- A new boiler water pump will cost between £180 and £300 including parts and labour.
- A new boiler ignition will cost up to £110.
These are just average prices to repair a boiler. Many of these repairs are covered by a good boiler cover policy and will only incur a small excess fee.
You can read more about boiler repair costs in our extensive guide.
How Much Is A New Boiler?
Let’s compare this to the price of a new boiler. If you need multiple of the above repairs on your boiler and you do not have cover, it may be time for a new boiler.
The price of a new boiler depends on the brand, energy efficiency and features you would like. Of course, this is only part of the cost as you will be required to pay a Gas Safe engineer for installation.
We can provide you with some estimates based on popular boilers in 2022, however, you will need to complete our boiler installation quote form to get in touch with your local installer for an accurate price.
For guidance, the estimated cost of a boiler including installation can be anywhere from £1,000 to £4,000.
Here are some of the most popular boilers in 2022:
Worcester Greenstar 8000 Life 35kW Combi Boiler (Worcester Bosch)
- A-rated energy efficiency – great for energy efficiency
- Dimensions: H-825mm W-440mm D-365mm
- Heat output: 34.4kW
- Hot water output: 34.4kW
- Flow rate: 13 l/min
Average price £1,400 (excluding installation)
Ideal Logic Combi 35kW – Combi Boiler
- Rated best budget boiler
- A-rated efficiency
- 10-year manufacturers warranty
- Free wireless thermostat
- Free magnetic filter
- Dimensions: H-700mm W-395mm D-278mm
- Heat output: 35kW
- Flow rate: 14.5 l/min
Average price £1,000 (excluding installation)
Viessmann Vitodens 100-W Combi Gas Boiler
- A-rated efficiency
- 10-year manufacturers warranty
- Backlit LCD touchscreen display
- Dimensions: H-700mm W-400mm D-350mm
- Heat output options: (26kw, 30kw or 35kw)
- Flow rate: from 10.6 l/min up to 14.3 l/min
Average price £1,200 (excluding installation)
Should I Get A Replacement Boiler?
New boiler installation tends to be much more expensive than a replacement boiler installation. A replacement boiler will be a more up to date version of the same model you’re currently using. The benefit here is that you have a lot of the necessary parts already in place.
This is a great option if you do not want to spend a large amount of cash on new boilers. However, your current heating system may not be running at its most efficient level if your current boiler model has been on the market for a good few years.
In this case, it is worth assessing the efficiency rating of your current boiler versus a brand new boiler on the market. You will also want to assess if you have lost confidence in that particular boiler brand if it’s only a few years old and has broken down. If this is the case, a direct replacement boiler may not be the right option for you.
What Type Of Boiler Do I Have?
There are a few different types of boilers available. The price of new boilers will also depend on if you’re having a like for like swap or changing system.
Here are the most popular boiler systems:
Conventional boilers are connected to a hot water storage tank. This tank is connected to a cold water tank and both are normally placed in the attic or a dedicated cupboard in your home. When the hot water tank is drained, it will be filled with water from the cold tank.
As more equipment is required, conventional boiler systems are more expensive than combination boilers.
Combi boilers are much more popular as they require less space. They do not use a water tank and are ideal for small to average homes. They will usually be fitted in the kitchen or a small cupboard.
Combi boilers require less pipework so they’re also cheaper to install.
Choosing A New Boiler
There are a few different things to consider when looking at new boilers. A boiler replacement is much simpler if it is a like for like swap. Here are some top things to consider:
Choosing A Brand
It’s often tempting to go for the cheapest boiler replacement on the market. However, you should look are reviews, energy efficiency ratings and reliability. Checking the manufacturer’s warranty length will also add peace of mind in case anything goes wrong mechanically. Some brands offer warranties for up to 10 years. Although the manufacturer’s warranty doesn’t cover everything, a good boiler cover policy will provide further coverage.
Choosing The Right Size Boiler
If you compare boiler quotes with us, we will ask you a few questions about the size of your home, number of radiators, number of baths and showers to determine the right boiler for your home.
For example, a smaller home or apartment will not need as high of output as a 4 bedroom home. This will help us gather quotes from your local Gas Safe engineers.
Boiler Efficiency Rating
It is surprising how much of an impact efficiency ratings have on your energy bills. If you have had a boiler for 15 years and replaced it with a modern A rated efficient boiler, the annual home energy will be substantial.
What Is A Hydrogen Ready Boiler?
Most new boilers are manufactured to be hydrogen-ready. A hydrogen-ready boiler is a gas heating boiler capable of burning either natural gas or pure hydrogen.
This change is slowly being introduced to reduce the carbon emissions coming from UK homes. Replacing natural gas is a part of the UK government’s plan to meet climate change targets and reduce the country’s overall carbon footprint.
Do I Need A Gas Safe Engineer To Install My Boiler?
Only qualified and registered Gas Safe engineers are legally allowed to install or service boilers. They have been trained to deal with gas and carry out all the necessary safety checks to determine if your boiler installation is safe and ready for use.
What Is An Opentherm Boiler?
Opentherm opens communication between your boiler and the heating controls. This helps control the temperature of your heating system. This can increase the energy efficiency of your heating system and help maintain a steady temperature throughout your home.
Should I Get A Heat Pump?
Heat pumps are substantially more expensive than new boilers. Depending on the type and size of your home, they can cost anywhere between £6,000 to £18,000.
Despite the government announcing a £5,000 grant to subsidise the costs, it is still a steep price to pay. The government has only announced plans for new builds as installation can be difficult and expensive.
It is much more cost-effective to invest in hydrogen-ready gas boilers.