Condensing Combi Boilers May Have Been A Con
Have we been conned into replacing boilers with new ones that actually cost more to maintain and could be less green?
If you have a number of properties (and even if you just have one) you will know that the good old fashioned cast iron boilers lasted for 25 years + and you only really had to replace them if the parts became simply unavailable. (Smart landlords and letting agents always had an “old school” boiler repair man on their books with hair coming out of his ears, big mucky hands and a big shed full of old parts so as to keep old boilers going as long as possible.)
Rather neatly, the old boilers would have an immersion which would allow your tenant clients to have hot water whilst the old one was being repaired. This was very handy in the winter and most clever landlords would back this up with a ready stack of convector heaters to keep their tenants warm for a few days, whilst they got the broken boiler fixed. Everyone was happy.
Condensate boilers have been a legal requirement for 5 years now, but we already know enough to assess the durability of the new more efficient combi condensate boilers – and the news is not so good. With pumps at about £130, fans at £150 and heat exchangers at £300, replacement of parts ain’t cheap.
Also, when they go, you also lose the hot water too as there is no immersion so landlords and property owners find themselves under huge pressure to get the boiler fixed fast -which of course allows them to be exploited by installers, often working for the big utility firms.
So I wonder if we have been conned into the new combi condensate boilers by the Green Lobby, the government (who let’s be honest believe all the boiler industry tells them especially about green issues) and of course, the installers on this issue.
Sure, the new condensate boilers are more energy efficient but the lack of lifespan and their poor economics makes me question whether this is even true. I have heard from many honest gas installers that you are doing well to get 10 years life out of them.
Once you add in the energy cost involved in their manufacture and add the environmental cost of disposing of the old boilers onto the total carbon footprint, I’m not sure that even the claims that they are more green even stack up.
My advice is this: Until the performance of the new condensing boilers has demonstrably improved, you should keep your old boiler going as long as you can – and ignore the likes of British Gas who will too often tell you that you need a new one (fitted and supplied by them, natch.)
Find the man with hairy ears and the big shed instead and see if he can keep your old reliable boiler going a little bit longer!
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