There is lots to consider when you are considering a new boiler installation. This guide will take you through the process from start to finish. This is quite a difficult task describing in words what a Gas Safe engineer does every day. Not all of the points will be relevant to your particular installation but this guide will at least give you an idea of what to expect from your new boiler and what to expect from an installer coming to your house.
Things to consider:
– Your budget – grants, loans and other schemes
– Finding an installer – getting 3 quotes
– The current water pressure of your system
– Your current system – layout/design and condition, boiler siting
– Your hot water demand – bathrooms, ensuites etc
– Choosing a boiler
– Upgrading your pipework – gas and water pipework
– Adding a MagnaClean
– Adding thermostatic radiator valves/room thermostat
– Adding additional radiators
– Powerflusing your system or flushing your system
– Commissioning your system
– Filling in the benchmark/notifying building control
– Advising the customer on how to get the best efficiency from their boiler
– Installers working to best practice
Your budget – grants, loans and other schemes
There are lots of schemes available depending on your circumstances. The new Boiler Scrappage Scheme is available to all households in England who have a G rated boiler in their home. It gives £400 towards the cost of a new boiler installation. There is also a scheme called the Warm Front Scheme which provides upto £3500 towards home heating and insulation improvements. To be eligible you must be on some sort of benefit or be a low income household. It is normally a bad idea to finance your boiler installation using a credit card or bank loan. Although there are cost benefits to be gained by having a new condensing boiler these will be eaten up by repaying the loan. If your current boiler is in good working order and you are worried about it breaking down then a British Gas homecare agreement is advisable at around £19 per month. An Npower agreement which offers less benefits is also available at around £7.99 per month.
Finding an installer – getting 3 quotes
You should aim for 3 quotes. This is more than adequate to get a good idea of what you want. Each individual engineer will give you different ideas on how best to go forward. They will also have their own favourite boilers and methods of working. It is a good idea to bounce ideas and questions around to ascertain whether the engineer is actually competent in the field he will be required to work within. Unfortunately there are lots of newly qualified plumbers and gas engineers in this industry and although they are perfectly safe and ‘passed off’ to work they may not be a) able to advise you of the most efficient method going forward, b) advise you completely wrongly or c) not actually have an answer. Sometimes it may be difficult to find someone you trust; after all, this will be a huge investment.
Often using the yellow pages can be a bad idea. So can using someone who posts leaflets through the door. The best and trusted method will always be by personal recommendation. Asking the engineer lots of questions can also give you some degree of confidence. Checking their Gas Safe registration should also be a priority. Unfortunately there are lots of illegal gas engineers operating and these people are putting lives at risk. Checking someones gas safe registration is very easy. Ask to see a Gas Safe registration card. Every engineer carries a card and it amazes me that 99.5% of customers do not ask for ID. Every engineer should be proud of their qualifications and love to show them off. Do not be shy and in future make a point of it.
Once you have got your 3 quotes you need to analyse what you are getting. Quotes should be broken down as much as possible. This will give you an idea of what exactly you are paying. I don’t understand how companies can justify listing a load of materials and specifications and then adding a figure. Costs should be fixed price costs whether you are a millionnaire or on a very low budget;)
It is best to get a written contract for your own benefit. If the company doesn’t offer one then you can easily draw one up. This will protect against faults that might furnace installations Vancouver develop later on after the system has been installed. If installed to best practice and following all manufacturers instructions then a central heating system will only rarely breakdown due to a manufacturer component fault. That is why respected installers offer a personal guarantee on all their work, this can be upto 5 years but 3 years is normal. This is alongside normal manufacturer guarantees which can be upto 5 years parts and labour. Other ways of finding an installer can be the internet however personal recommendation is always the best method.
The current water pressure of your system
Its very important to measure your mains water pressure to ascertain whether a combi will actually work. You might not have enough pressure for a combi system to work so this will need to be measured. A competent engineer will make sure that this is one of the first things he does. If you do have low pressure then your installation options will be limited. One example is when a mains pressure of 0.8bar from a customers property is measured. A certain Vaillant boiler which gives their full hot water output at just 0.5bar would be recommended by any competent engineer. This means that this boiler would be one of a very few boilers that could be considered for this customers property. It could have been a costly mistake not testing the mains water pressure and this is one reason why this should be done as standard. Having said all of the above, problems are very very rare. Your water company can advise on what your water pressure is likely to be if you are concerned. If for say you live on a very big hill you may have reasons for concern.