Ok, so winter has rolled around again, as it is wont to do. And it might just be that it’s kicked off that process that sets you wondering whether your boiler is up to the job, whether you will get another year out of it, and whether you ought to start looking for a boiler so that you can be sure next winter will be trouble free. Here is a guide to keeping the costs as low as possible if you do decide to look seriously for a replacement.
- Shop around. Everybody will tell you this, and that’s because it’s true. You don’t get the best value for money by buying the first boiler you see; you do it by checking out several different suppliers and seeing what they can offer. Don’t assume that the big household name companies will always offer the best deal, be sure to check out some of the small local companies too. The same goes for the actual installation quote as well as the boiler itself, and there’s nothing to stop you buying the boiler from one company and getting someone else to fit it if that works out cheaper.
- Research grants. The recent scrappage scheme helped out a number of customers out with the cost of a new boiler, and although it has ended now there are still ways to claim part of all the cost. The Warm Front scheme, for example, pays the full cost of installation (up to £3500) if you are in receipt of certain income related benefits and / or live in a property which has a broken central heating system.
- Do it early. Replacing your boiler before it actually breaks down can save you a fair bit of money, too. By scheduling the work to be done at a time that suits you, you will avoid emergency call out fees and, if you plan it for the summer, you’ll find you are outside the busy period and can often get the work done cheaper.
- Go for efficiency. The top rated boilers, those which are ‘A’ rated, command a premium over other, less efficient boilers. That puts some people off, but it really shouldn’t. Given the average life of a boiler is around ten years, the money saved on fuel bills by going for the more efficient models will more than offset the difference in the prices.
- Avoid the flashy ones. It’s often the case that the only thing that differentiates boilers is the type of control mechanism that works it. Under the cover they are exactly the same, they create heat in the same way and have the same efficiency, but on the surface there are some potentially expensive differences. You’ll pay less for a boiler that has a clockwork timer that switches it on and off at the same time every day than you will for one that has a programmable 7 day timer. Work out one what you really need and what is just nice to have, and go for the cheapest version that meets your needs.
- Types of Home Heating Systems on About.com's Home Repair section