Ever wondered why when you put that new boiler in your let property, it never seems to save all that much money on heating bills compared to your old boiler, asks David Lawrenson of www.LettingFocus.com.
Well it seems that for years we have been mis-sold on the efficiency of boilers.
A whistleblower has recently revealed that the energy performance labels on boilers are typically overstating the efficiency of them by ten per cent, because the official EU tests used to generate the scores do not reflect how most people heat their homes.
Under European Union rules, every boiler sold must have a water heating score from A to G, thus rating the boiler efficiency.
You will see the label clearly on all boilers.
Most of the 1.6 million boilers sold in the UK every year come with an A rating, indicating an efficiency of 80 per cent or above. But the tests used to get the A grade would bear little relation to how they are really going to be used in practice.
British homes, on average, use around 80 litres of hot water each day, yet most energy labels base their efficiency score on consumption levels of 325 litres a day, more typical of a small commercial laundry than a home.
And why are the tests so wrong?
Well, it seems a quarter of the members of the EU testing committee who say what the tests should be have interests in boiler manufacturing, including Vaillant and Bosch, the two biggest German boilermakers, who have seven members on the committee.
It is just like the Volkswagen dieselgate scandal, but actually worse, because this test is sponsored by the EU states!
Boiler Central Heating Efficiency
In addition to providing the hot water boiler efficiency score, EU rules also specify boilers to have a rating of A+ to G for how well they do the central heating – with an A rating meaning an efficiency above 90 per cent. But here too, tests do not reflect how most people use boilers because they involve an assumption that people run them at 35 degrees half of the time. In practice, boilers run at 35 centigrade do not provide enough central heating nor hot water performance. In the UK climate, the norm is to run them at 70 centigrade.
Boilers working at lower temperatures are more efficient because they recover energy escaping in the flue, in the process known as condensing. However, boilers working at full whack are unable to condense, so are much less efficient.
The report on this first appeared in “The Times”. The paper looked at efficiency data for five boilers and found the energy labels gave central heating and hot water efficiency ratings of A. Yet in real world conditions they only scored a B rating for central heating.
The Building Research Establishment (BRE), the independent body that sets the UK’s building control standards, has concerns about the labelling regime too. An internal report from them, looking at boiler efficiency, stated that none of the 500 boilers it analysed over the previous four years satisfied building regulation standards that require 92 per cent efficiency, when the results were corrected for “observed bias”.
So now you know!
For more on this, see the article in “The Times” here :
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We advise a range of organisations too to help them develop and improve their services and products for private landlords. David Lawrenson, founder of LettingFocus, also writes for property portals, speaks at property events and is regularly quoted by the media.
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