If your boiler is coming to the end of its useful life, whether because it is now prone to breaking down at inconvenient times or is costing you a fortune in fuel bills because it is inefficient, then you may well have been drawing up a shortlist of suitable replacements. Baxi boilers and Potterton boilers may well be on that list, purely because they are well known names in the UK, but have you done any research into how much they cost and what options there are which may save you money?
Think about the fuel type – most people are on gas these days, but the price is rising all the time. It’s still cheaper than oil or electricity, but if the future concerns you it’s worth considering a boiler fuelled by renewable sources such as wood pellets. These work out cheaper to run than even gas, and are better for the environment too.
Boiler design – changing from one boiler type to another can change the overall price considerably. Switching from a combi to a system boiler, for example, will require some extra work on the pipes and need additional storage tanks. Going the other way and upgrading to a combi will require much less work and be cheaper. A like for like swap shouldn’t entail any extra costs beyond basic fitting.
Price - the most efficient and cheap to run boilers tend to be the most expensive. Don’t just look at the ticket price though, factor in the cost of running them over the next decade or so if you can.
Boiler size – if you are replacing your existing boiler because your old one just doesn’t meet your heating and hot water needs, for example if you’ve built an extension, then you’ll be going for a bigger and therefore more expensive boiler. Take the advice of your heating engineer regard the size to buy, and don’t be tempted to buy the biggest one you can. The boiler output should be ‘just enough’ to cope with the needs of the house.
On top of those – there are also some things you might not be able to avoid, regardless of what type of boiler you go for. Many boiler manufacturers will insist that a system is power-flushed when a new boiler is installed, to get rid of any dirt in the system. Its well worth the few extra pounds, as it ensures the boiler won’t be damaged by grime and will mean that your boiler is covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. When it comes to the actual fitting, make sure you also budget for any electrical work that needs doing as the fitter may not be qualified for electrical work, and the possibility of needing to update the gas supply pipe to conform with current regulations.
Whether you go for a Potterton or a Baxi boiler, or some other make, you need to decide for yourself what your priorities are. Balance the convenience of the options above with the cost and you won’t go far wrong.