Your boiler is an integral part of your home, ensuring that you have hot water from your taps and a toasty home in the chilly winter months. So, when your boiler stops working altogether, starts to make unusual noises, or causes your monthly bills to skyrocket, you have an important choice to make. What should you do – repair it or replace it?
Deciding whether to repair or replace your boiler can be a difficult decision, both financially and practically. When faced with the daunting thought of having to buy a new boiler at an unexpected time, it can be tempting to just keep repairing it and hoping your boiler holds out through the winter. Yet, if your boiler is at the end of its lifespan, these repair bills will mount up over time and could even exceed the price of a new boiler.
So, how do you know whether you should repair or replace your boiler? Let’s take a closer look at the key factors to consider.
Is your boiler safe?
Here at NCS, we always make sure to put customer safety above all else. That’s why the first question when considering your next move should always be whether the boiler is safe to operate or not.
Our first point of call for boiler safety is ensuring that you do not have a carbon monoxide leak. Carbon monoxide can be deadly, with symptoms of poisoning including headaches, shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea and loss of consciousness. There are a number of warning signs that signal if your boiler is emitting carbon monoxide, and if you experience any of the following issues please turn off gas appliances, open your doors and windows, evacuate your home calmly and call the emergency gas line on 0800 111999 immediately.
Carbon monoxide warning signs from your boiler include:
- Your boiler has a yellow or orange flame, rather than a crisp blue flame
- Your boiler has black soot marks or staining on or around it
- Your boiler’s pilot light is frequently going out
- You can see increased condensation in the boiler window
Aside from carbon monoxide, old boilers may not meet modern legislation on safety and operations. From unusual noises and leaking or dripping, to your radiators taking a long time to heat up, it’s important to ask a qualified boiler technician to check your boiler and let you know if your boiler can be safely used – or if it’s time for a replacement.
Is your boiler under warranty?
Another essential step towards deciding between a boiler repair and replacement is to check the warranty on the boiler. If you are experiencing an issue with your boiler, try calling the manufacturer to check if you are covered by a warranty, which can cover you from two up to ten or fifteen years depending on the company. If you are covered under the boiler’s manufacturer-backed warranty or any form of guarantee, make sure to ask what your cover includes.
However, it’s important to note that many warranties come with strict conditions that must be met – such as how often the boiler should have been serviced, whether the boiler was installed by a qualified professional, to maintaining all records of boiler servicing throughout the years. You may also have to pay in full for any non-boiler related faults, or if the boiler is found to be full of sludge, so make sure to read your Terms of Service.
How old is the boiler?
Sometimes, as with all appliances, old boilers simply do just need to be replaced. Everything has a natural lifespan, and if your boiler is past a certain point then a replacement might be the only available option.
A boiler’s lifespan depends on a huge range of factors, from the boiler manufacturer and model quality, to how often the boiler is serviced. Most modern boilers last for around 12-15 years, so if your boiler is coming to the end of its natural life expectancy this should play a key part in your decision. An experienced engineer will be able to tell you if this is the case, or how long it may be before you should replace the boiler.
How often is the boiler breaking down?
It may seem more cost-effective to have your boiler repaired, with smaller and more manageable bills. But in fact, these costs can build up over time, and can end up being significantly more expensive in the long run than a one-off replacement that keeps your boiler problem-free for years to come.
Frequent breakdowns of the boiler can also be stressful, especially if you are dealing with it in the cold winter months when the last thing you need is an equally cold home. From finding a reputable repairman online and calling round to find urgent availability, to waiting in for them to arrive, regular repairs can be detrimental to your lifestyle, income and career. In this situation, it’s vital to consider if it’s time for a replacement – initial investment costs aside.
However, if breakdowns are infrequent, your boiler generally works well, and is not at the end of its natural lifespan, then repairs could be the most suitable option.
What is the cost of a repair?
Repairs can cost different amounts depending on a variety of factors, such as what symptoms your boiler is displaying, the extent of the issue, and the availability of the spare parts you need. For older boilers, repair costs can be substantially higher, so it’s worth considering the financial impact and boiler lifespan before choosing to repair rather than replace.
Could you make efficiency savings?
Whilst efficiency itself may not be first on your list of pros and cons, this should always be considered when comparing a short-term and long-term solution, as older boiler models are significantly less efficient that their modern counterparts. Having your boiler replaced could reduce your energy bills by up to £300 each year, so this is a vital aspect to consider when factoring in the cost of a full replacement too.
To replace or not to replace?
In summary, if your boiler is unsafe, very old, or costing you a fortune in repair costs, sometimes replacement is the better option. But, on the other hand, if it’s only a one-off repair then this is often going to be more cost-effective. Whatever the case, always call a professional engineer for advice on the matter who can clearly display their OFTEC or Gas Safe registration, depending on what type of boiler you have.
NCS are proud to install and service gas, oil and LPG boilers in homes all over the South East, with an award-winning team of OFTEC and Gas Safe registered engineers. Our specialists have over two decades of experience in all aspects of domestic boilers, from installations to servicing, repairs and central heating system maintenance.
If the decision weighs heavily on your finances, remember there are always other options than using up your rainy day savings. At NCS, we offer a range of flexible finance options to suit your budget and spread the cost, so why not get in touch today?