How do you know when your boiler needs replacing? Ideally you shouldn’t wait until your boiler is on its last legs before you replace. Sod’s law says that it will eventually breakdown at the worst possible time, leaving you without heat or hot water when you most need it.
Fortunately, there are some early warning signs that can indicate when its time to get a new boiler. This guide will help you identify some of these signs, so you aren’t left in the cold.
How old is your boiler?
Can your boiler buy a drink? Was it keeping you warm while you watched Gladiators on a Saturday night?
Just because your boiler is old it doesn’t necessarily mean that it needs replacing. Older boilers don’t tend to be as reliable or efficient as newer units, but the idea that you need to replace your boiler when it reaches a certain age is nonsense.
With regular maintenance, servicing and the occasional well-timed repair your boiler can carry on chugging well into old age. Equally, however, if you don’t take good care of your boiler, or choose an unsuitable unit, you could be forced to replace it sooner than you expect.
Frequent boiler breakdowns
Boiler breakdowns can be inconvenient, annoying and expensive. For some minor issues you might be able to diagnose and fix the issue yourself, but more serious faults that require you to remove the boiler casing should be repaired by a professional.
If you need to call out a professional repairer more than once per year, then the cost of call outs and repairs will usually be greater than a new boiler. Remember that you can spread the cost of a new unit with boiler finance.
High energy bills
Every boiler as an efficiency rating. This is a measure of how much energy the boiler uses to heat your home and keep you comfortable. The more efficient the boiler, the less energy used and the lower your bills.
Most modern boilers have an A-rating, which means that run at over 90% efficiency. Many older boilers are only about 60-70% efficient and running costs can be up to £300 higher each year.
Radiators take longer to heat up
If your radiators don’t warm up like they used to it could be a sign that you need a new boiler.
Most modern boilers reach their target temperature quickly, producing some heat almost immediately.
Older systems, meanwhile, can stay tepid for a long time. If you value warmth and comfort, particularly when you get home after a long day, you should speak to a professional boiler engineer. A service or repair might make your boiler heat up faster, but there’s a good chance that you’ll need a new system to improve your heating performance.
Funny noises in your boiler or radiator
Your boiler, radiators and pipes will make all sorts of noises – most of which are totally normal. But it is worth making a mental note if your boiler starts making any new sounds that you haven’t heard before.
If you hear any humming, vibrating or banging it could indicate that there is a problem in your boiler or central heating system. You should let an engineer know about any worrying noises and they may be able to diagnose and fix the problem.
Gas stove burning yellow or red
If the flame on your gas stove is burning yellow or red instead of blue, it could be a sign of a potentially dangerous fault in your system. Your stovetop burners can burn yellow or red if they aren’t getting enough oxygen, which can create harmful carbon monoxide.
If your gas stove is burning yellow or red you should contact a Gas Safe engineer immediately and they will be able to advise you on the best course of action.
Boiler has a funny smell
If you can smell a sulphurous, eggy odour when your boiler is on then it may have a gas leak. This can be very serious, so you should turn your boiler off and call the National Gas Emergencies number immediately on 0800 111 999.
If your boiler has a gas leak, then there is a high chance that it will need replacing. Speak to a professional boiler engineer for more information and advice.
Boiler is leaking
A leaking boiler can cause electrical shorts as well as damage to your walls and floors. Corroded pipes, high pressure and loose joints and fittings can all cause your boiler to leak water.
If you do notice a leak, switch your unit off and, if necessary, turn off your water stop tap too. A professional engineer should be able to fix most leaks relatively easily, but in some circumstances, you may need to replace the unit.
Replacement parts are difficult to find
One issue that often affects some older boilers is that spare parts are difficult to find. Even if you have a reliable boiler, this can make routine repairs complicated and more expensive, meaning that it is often cheaper and easier to invest in an up to date model with plenty of spares available.