Moving into a house is like rescuing a pet, because you honestly don’t know how well the previous owner looked after it. The lifecycle of a boiler is a bit like a car, much depends on whether or not it was operated and maintained properly.
An average gas boiler might last for 15 years, however this is not a promise. The life of a boiler also depends on the particular model and whether it had regular servicing. That’s not an attempt to sell you anything. It is a matter of fact if you put off replacing a boiler for too long it is going to let you down, possibly at an inconvenient moment.
Let’s Talk About Boiler Safety First
A gas boiler should be totally safe if it is a reputable brand installed by a certified Gas Safe technician. However keeping a faulty boiler running longer could not only increase your energy bills. It could fail in winter when you need it most, and worse still endanger your family.
It is therefore a false economy to keep it for the full theoretical design life of 15 years to ‘get back what you paid for’ regardless of the actual circumstances. We discuss some of the warning signs a boiler may be failing shortly. Never attempt to repair a faulty boiler yourself because that’s the job of a qualified boiler specialist. Besides which you could invalidate your insurance, which you may regret if something goes wrong.
Things You Can Do to Make Your Boiler Last Longer
Boilers like all other mechanical devices benefit from regular safety inspections, and adjustments if required. This is not something we recommend UK households DIY because it is illegal.
Moreover boilers combine hot water, high pressure, and gas which is not something you want to fiddle with. Therefore, it follows the only smart thing you can do safely to make your boiler last longer is arranging regular inspections by a Gas Safe licensed engineer.
8 Vital Tips that Suggest Your Boiler May Need Replacing
If an average boiler is going to last 15 years, it stands to reason your boiler might last longer, or less. As a smart householder you obviously need to keep tabs on the situation, so you can manage the inevitable when it happens. These are the critical signs you need to watch out for.
# 8: Your gas bill is going up while utility prices are the same. A modern A-Grade boiler may achieve 90% thermal efficiency, while you’ll be lucky to achieve 70% with an old G-Grade one. Everything – including our bodies – slows down as we age and boilers are no exception.
Hence an old boiler reaches the point where it is cheaper to replace it. It may be 15 years old and it may not be. A decent boiler brand and a skilled Gas-Safe technician do make a difference.
# 7: Your boiler is not as good as it once was. You are having your boiler serviced annually, and are getting used to the engineer saying your boiler is old; you need to change it sometime. It’s taking longer to warm up nowadays, and the radiators are no longer piping hot. If you find yourselves adding layers of clothing with the heat turned up high there’s no point in kidding yourself. You need a new boiler because the old one is due for recycling.
# 6: Your boiler keeps breaking down. This should not be the case if you service it regularly using a boiler company that knows what they are about. It’s pointless pouring money down the drain on emergencies and spares. Your boiler’s time may be up.
# 5: You hear tapping sounds on the pipes. Contraction and expansion are normal, however if your heating keeps you awake at night wondering, then you should have your system looked at. It could just be sludge that needs flushing. On the other hand it could be something more serious. Never take a chance with a boiler.
# 4: The pilot light flame is yellow not blue. This could be serious because your boiler is not working properly and carbon monoxide might be leaking into the room. Turn off the boiler. Call a Gas Safe engineer right away for advice
# 3: You smell sulphurous rotten eggs when the boiler comes on. You have a gas leak! Turn off the boiler. Call the emergency national gas grid on 0800 111 999 and follow their advice. Chances are your boiler has reached the end of its life, although a competent Gas Safe engineer may be able to keep it going a while longer.
# 2: Your boiler is leaking water. This is not supposed to happen! Water leaks can damage your home and the insurance may not pay out if you ignored the situation. Boiler makers go to great trouble to prevent water leaks. Turn it off and ask for help. Your boiler’s useful life is over.
# 1: Your technician can’t find spares or they are expensive. This means your type of boiler is failing often and spares are in short supply, if at all. You may still find some at Amazon, but what with transport repairs are uneconomic. This is crunch time. Do you want to pay premium or let an old friend go?
At the End of the Day it’s a Logical Decision
A gas boiler has a job to do, and as long as it does so we say keep it. Please remember to insist on a regular inspection. All gas boilers eventually need to be replaced.