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View Full Version : New boiler needed -what should I consider?



tomcat
17-10-2009, 11:01 AM
I need to put a new boiler into a house I let out. Is it best to go to a large company like British Gas or Swalec? I don't live near to the house, so do not know of any local contractors who could do the job for me. Any advice please?

subjecttocontract
17-10-2009, 11:24 AM
Why do you think you need a new boiler ?

asquithea
17-10-2009, 12:11 PM
Maybe it's knackered.

My LL installed a Baxi boiler with a British Gas branded timer -- so I presume they did the work. More importantly, he has a service agreement with them so the boiler gets a yearly check, and faults are rectified quickly without his involvement.

As the tenant, I can highly recommend this arrangement.

havensRus
17-10-2009, 13:26 PM
I need to put a new boiler into a house I let out. Is it best to go to a large company like British Gas or Swalec? I don't live near to the house, so do not know of any local contractors who could do the job for me. Any advice please?

Get a couple of local plumbers to give you a quote. You may wish to compare their quote with a BG one, but I wouldn't bother. The boilers usually come with a 3 or 5 year warranty. But you must make sure you register it. So if any thing goes wrong with it, the T only needs call the service number and its dealt with. You could always take out a BG or Homeserve contract further down the line after the warranty expires.

Poppy35
17-10-2009, 13:57 PM
also, I know Combi boilers are more efficient however bear in mind that if immersion heater is removed then tenants wont have a back up of hot water
should boiler break down - although in theory being new it should be fine :D

tom999
17-10-2009, 14:10 PM
I don't live near to the house, so do not know of any local contractors who could do the job for me.If you're a distant LL, then get quotes from 3/4 local plumbers; by searching the Gas Safe Register (http://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/) (use the 'Find A Registered Gas Business' box in top right), to ensure that they are suitably qualified to carry out domestic gas work.

Mrs Jones
17-10-2009, 14:10 PM
Combi is definitely favourite, but if property does not currently have a combi boiler, then there will be added works involved in removing the hot water tanks and if a shower works off the hot water system (rather than being a separate electric shower or pump) you may also have to have an equaliser installed to make shower work. By the way - what part of the country are you in?

HairyLandlord
17-10-2009, 15:25 PM
For the hardware, I can attest to a Worcester-Bosch Highflow 400 combi boiler (now called Greenstar Highflow), which is a large floor standing boiler - quite a beast actually!

I had one installed 9 years ago for a HMO, serving the demands of upto 6 people, 2 full bathrooms with showers, a washing machine and of course the central heating with 9 radiators.
It manages all these demands very well and with only a small drop in pressure when both showers are being used simultaneously.

Its still going strong today but I have made sure it gets serviced every year.
Worcester offer a good service program for £10 a month.

For someone to install the boiler, I would take the time and effort to go to the area and find someone local who could also repair/service the boiler if necessary (gas safety checks too), even if you go for a BG contract and they can advise you if your water pressure is adequate to feed the combi, which is quite critical.
Its good to have at least one backup person in the trades, no matter what the setup.

If being in the area of the property is a complete non-starter for you, consider getting help from a local letting agent and maybe pay them a fee to arrange the work through their gas fitter, who they know and trust and is properly certified.
If you live too far and don't have anyone to look after the property if some maintenance matter needs attending to, the local letting agent may also offer you management service that includes this kind of work, without you raising a finger.

tomcat
17-10-2009, 16:55 PM
Why do you think you need a new boiler ?

I have the current boiler under contract with British Gas. They have been called out several times recently, partly because the tenant has had difficulties using it, but also because it has needed parts replacing. I have been told that parts for the boiler (it's a potterton) are difficult to source because of its age (10-15 years) and the recommendation is that I replace it.

I don't have a problem replacing it if it is needed. I'm just concerned about getting someone reliable and trustworthy to do the work.

tomcat
17-10-2009, 16:57 PM
Combi is definitely favourite, but if property does not currently have a combi boiler, then there will be added works involved in removing the hot water tanks and if a shower works off the hot water system (rather than being a separate electric shower or pump) you may also have to have an equaliser installed to make shower work. By the way - what part of the country are you in?

Thanks for your reply.

The house is in Bristol and I live a couple of hours drive away. Not too far really, but with all other commitments on my time, I can't go over as often as I would like.

subjecttocontract
17-10-2009, 17:02 PM
Pottertons are excellent boilers. There is no problem with sourcing parts and I suggest you get more than just the one BG opinion before making a decision on replacing it.

Ericthelobster
17-10-2009, 17:28 PM
I have the current boiler under contract with British Gas. They have been called out several times recently, partly because the tenant has had difficulties using it, but also because it has needed parts replacing. I have been told that parts for the boiler (it's a potterton) are difficult to source because of its age (10-15 years) and the recommendation is that I replace it.So assuming you've already got a hot water cylinder, I'd be inclined to replace like-with-like and not go for a combi... as has been said, combis are great until there's a problem and then you lose all capability for providing hot water, whereas with a conventional system at least you can turn on the electric immersion heater. I can attest first hand that having no hot water is an order of magnitude worse than having no heating - you can 'cure' the latter with another pullover or blanket, but a cold bath or shower is no fun at all. (My own boiler went down last week and shortly afterwards the immersion heater element failed too :eek:) If you're on a contract that may not be an issue for you though.

Moving on...

British Gas have a certain reputation for advising customers that their old boilers need replacing because parts are too hard to obtain or whatever; they of course have a big vested interest because they also supply and fit new boilers, and be assured that any quote they give you for the job will be substantially higher than any independent outfit will. Would certainly reccommend that you get at least a second opinion on your current boiler, and maybe contact Potterton yourself to see what availability of spares is like for your model.

By the way, presumably you'll be aware that any new boiler now has to be a condensing model, whereas your existing one certaintly won't be? (It has implications for siting it; possibly the current location is inappropriate - eg due to the 'plume' emerging from the flue and the need to dispose of condensate).

Mrs Jones
18-10-2009, 06:15 AM
For the hardware, I can attest to a Worcester-Bosch Highflow 400 combi boiler (now called Greenstar Highflow), which is a large floor standing boiler - quite a beast actually!

Its still going strong today but I have made sure it gets serviced every year.
Worcester offer a good service program for £10 a month.

For someone to install the boiler, I would take the time and effort to go to the area and find someone local who could also repair/service the boiler if necessary (gas safety checks too), even if you go for a BG contract and they can advise you if your water pressure is adequate to feed the combi, which is quite critical.
Its good to have at least one backup person in the trades, no matter what the setup.

I agree with HL - I have had Worcester Bosch boilers installed in 3 properties and found the service to be excellent. I would also endorse the recommendation to use a local tradesman for installation (and for servicing and future gas certificates etc.) if you can. I believe someone has already suggested looking for local Gas Safe certified engineers in the area.

If you were in my area, I could have recommended someone. Perhaps a poster from the Bristol area might be able to give such a recommendation.

quarterday
18-10-2009, 08:13 AM
Go for the most efficient grade. Cheapest initially is not necessarily cheapest in the long term. Vailliant have a very good record as do Worcester Bosch as others have opined.

Ericthelobster
18-10-2009, 08:23 AM
Go for the most efficient grade. Cheapest initially is not necessarily cheapest in the long term. Vailliant have a very good record as do Worcester Bosch as others have opined.
The buying decision as a landlord is different to that of an owner occupier... I'm afraid that as a landlord, the efficiency rating of the boiler isn't going to my highest priority as it isn't going to me paying for the gas it uses. That may sound harsh/unecofriendly, but when it comes to choosing a property, tenants have not the slightest interest in boiler efficiency. I've never been asked about it once; not even whether the boiler is a condensing or non-condensing type (which are substantially different in efficiency) never mind whether a particular model of condensing boiler is more efficient than another (which will carry a relatively trivial difference in efficiency).

Agree about W-B but wouldn't touch another Vaillant with a barge pole as my own has been condemned at just 6 years old, with a known issue.

subjecttocontract
18-10-2009, 09:00 AM
Agree about W-B but wouldn't touch another Vaillant with a barge pole as my own has been condemned at just 6 years old, with a known issue.

But hopefully NOT by British Gas alone.....you have obtained more than one opinion on your boiler ?

mind the gap
18-10-2009, 09:06 AM
I would endorse the positive comments about Worcester boilers and their service/repairs engineers are very professional, too.

tomcat
18-10-2009, 09:27 AM
Moving on...

British Gas have a certain reputation for advising customers that their old boilers need replacing because parts are too hard to obtain or whatever; they of course have a big vested interest because they also supply and fit new boilers, and be assured that any quote they give you for the job will be substantially higher than any independent outfit will. Would certainly reccommend that you get at least a second opinion on your current boiler, and maybe contact Potterton yourself to see what availability of spares is like for your model.

By the way, presumably you'll be aware that any new boiler now has to be a condensing model, whereas your existing one certaintly won't be? (It has implications for siting it; possibly the current location is inappropriate - eg due to the 'plume' emerging from the flue and the need to dispose of condensate).

It's interesting what you say about BG. I have spoken to 2 different BG engineers - one told me the boiler was fine to go on, but was old, the other told me the boiler needed replacing asap because of the difficulties of getting parts ... so I think an independent person is going to be the best option.

thanks for your comments!

theartfullodger
18-10-2009, 09:32 AM
I would always try & avoid BG.... (and BT for that matter...)

Cheers!

lodger

mind the gap
18-10-2009, 09:36 AM
I would always try & avoid BG.... (and BT for that matter...)

Cheers!

lodger

Especially when BT offer to service your boiler and BG want to put in a new phone line for you :rolleyes:

tomcat
18-10-2009, 09:42 AM
Not sure if I can ask anyone to recommend a supplier on the forum, but does anyone know anyone in the Bristol area who could supply and fit a replacement boiler. I know I don't need to say it, but I want someone honest and reliable, who will not sell me something I don't need. Thanks.:)

P.Pilcher
18-10-2009, 13:50 PM
With a rented property a private contractor is the way to go as has been stated above. Do you use an agent as your property is so far from where you live? They may be able to recommend a private contractor.
As far as I am concerned, I installed a "Pottie" in my own home in 1988. This was a successor to the "Pottie" installed by my father (assisted by me as a teenager) when we first got central heating in 1961 after the horribly cold winter. So far (touch wood) my "Pottie" has never broken down - I just service it every year. I am assured that any spares that I should need are still in stock. Of course, by modern standards, I am burning too much gas. If I install a new condensing boiler or combi, I will save, I am told, about £100 a year in gas bills. As such an installation will cost over £2000, I will break even in 20 years - and the life of a modern, new-fangled condensing combi? Less than 20 years I expect!

P.P.

mind the gap
18-10-2009, 13:55 PM
As far as I am concerned, I installed a "Pottie" in my own home in 1988. This was a successor to the "Pottie" installed by my father (assisted by me as a teenager) when we first got central heating in 1961 after the horribly cold winter.

P.P.


In Jeffrey's absence I feel moved to point out, in a pedantic sort of way, that the horribly cold winter was actually 1963. :)

HairyLandlord
18-10-2009, 14:54 PM
The buying decision as a landlord is different to that of an owner occupier... I'm afraid that as a landlord, the efficiency rating of the boiler isn't going to my highest priority as it isn't going to me paying for the gas it uses. That may sound harsh/unecofriendly, but when it comes to choosing a property, tenants have not the slightest interest in boiler efficiency. I've never been asked about it once; not even whether the boiler is a condensing or non-condensing type (which are substantially different in efficiency) never mind whether a particular model of condensing boiler is more efficient than another (which will carry a relatively trivial difference in efficiency).

Agree about W-B but wouldn't touch another Vaillant with a barge pole as my own has been condemned at just 6 years old, with a known issue.

That view may need changing as I (and others) have recently had to start including the utility bills in the rent in a couple of my properties in order to secure tenants in this tough market and gas and electricity consumption is unknown in advance.

I can only charge the market rent (tenants don't seem interested in much else at this time) so trying to factor in energy usage at the highest level and adding that to the rent is not possible.

These costs are not as small as they once were and it hurts me each month - but its better than having empty accommodation.

P.Pilcher
18-10-2009, 23:08 PM
Mind the Gap - I'm sorry, but I can remember trudging through the snow when in the fifth form - winter of 61-62 on the way home. 62-63 winter I was in the first year 6th. We didn't have a horrible one then. er - not that today it really matters.

P.P.

mind the gap
18-10-2009, 23:15 PM
Mind the Gap - I'm sorry, but I can remember trudging through the snow when in the fifth form - winter of 61-62 on the way home. 62-63 winter I was in the first year 6th. We didn't have a horrible one then. er - not that today it really matters.

P.P.

Just so you don't think I'm making it up!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/weather/big_freeze.shtml

Perhaps 61-62 was severe as well. And I was extremely small at the time so perhaps the snow was bigger than me.

I think winters like that will soon be the stuff of memories only.

cartimandua51
19-10-2009, 09:31 AM
So far (touch wood) my "Pottie" has never broken down - I just service it every year. I am assured that any spares that I should need are still in stock. Of course, by modern standards, I am burning too much gas. If I install a new condensing boiler or combi, I will save, I am told, about £100 a year in gas bills. As such an installation will cost over £2000, I will break even in 20 years - and the life of a modern, new-fangled condensing combi? Less than 20 years I expect!


Think more like 5-7. They are delicate twitchy beasts.In one of my properties we had an old boiler that hadn't broken down in 20 years. new one broke down within 3 months of installation (& it was a Worcester Bosch). OK, it was fixed under guarantee but it was a week's inconvenience for the tenants in mid-winter.
Two new boilers in other properties broke down just out of guarantee - the main board in both cases, so you're looking at c. £140 plus labour. In your shoes I'd hang grimly onto the old boiler till you absolutely have to change it - and certainly don't believe what BG say - their engineers are, I believe, on commission for new boilers....