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to think we are being conned by 'energy efficient' boilers?

(9 Posts)
unlucky83 Fri 28-Oct-16 10:27:10

A year ago I bit the bullet and replaced my 11 or so yr old combi boiler with a new highly efficient condenser combi boiler. At a cost of about £2.5k including lots of faff to get a drain in etc...
My old one was on its last legs, needed an expensive repair and the new one was 20% more efficient.
So especially after a mild winter I would expect my gas usage (in kW) for a year to be at least 20% less ....especially as I am constantly improving our insulation/draught proofing...and trying to save energy.
Nope - it is 7% less and actually about 7% more than the year before that... so I would say about the same.
I used to love combi boilers - endless amounts of hot water when you needed it, no tank to run out.
Except my last boiler was a PIA the water took ages to get start- then if you turn off the tap (to save water) and turn it on again you get cold water whilst it decides to heat it up again. I thought it was because it was on its last legs - but I use a newish condenser boiler somewhere else and have the same problem -maybe it has a long pipe run or something? Nope my new combi is just as bad...dishwasher broken so hand washing up -I'm rinsing in cold water as things are rinsed by the time it is warm. Quick hand wash -also just getting warm as you finish rinsing...
I think they only use less energy cos it takes so long for the water to get hot you give up and hardly use any hot water!
These new boilers last 10 yrs or so before they end up binned and are so complicated they develop lots of faults.
My dad has a boiler with a hot water tank - he replaced his 30 yr old one about 6 yrs ago (for a condenser but still with a tank) - couldn't get the parts any more for his old one and thought it would be more energy efficient.
In those 30yrs it broke down/needed repairing 3 times...his new one has had 3 repairs already...last time he was told it was getting on a bit now...
And his energy bills didn't go down noticeably...
So AIBU to think this is all a big con? They aren't really environmentally friendly - waste lots of water, more manufacturing and actually don't save you money - I've been tempted to boil a kettle to heat water rather than wait for the boiler to heat water for a bowl...

candybar007 Fri 28-Oct-16 11:46:00

You are not wrong, the government was misled by the claims of the boiler manufactures when doing their research.
Regarding the heat up time, some boilers have a preheat setting so the boiler modulates to give you hot water on demand, as yours is now due the annual service which must be done to keep up your warranty I suggest you raise this problem with the service engineer at the time.

A combi boiler is a pressurised system and as such only a gas safe registered engineer with the g3 ticket is allowed to work on it so please ask to see his/her gsr card (they won`t mind you asking) and is full of helpful plumbers should you need any help or somebody to service the boiler.

Theoretician Fri 28-Oct-16 12:11:32

I agree, the government had good intentions, but it was wrong to make them compulsory.

I'm holding onto my current (non-condensing) boiler as long as I can. In 2002 when it was installed, it cost £1500. After a recent repair, British Gas (who keep urging me to replace it) gave a rough estimate of £5000 to replace it. Given the shorter life of about 10 years, that's £500 a year in depreciation alone, compared to £100 so far for my current boiler.

(Part of the reason it's expensive is that a waste pipe needs to be run beneath the floor from boiler to one of the bathrooms. A lot of my neighbour's flats have the waste pipe just going into the rain drainpipes. British gas man told me that's illegal, even though where I live the drain pipes and the soil stack water go to exactly the same place.)

candybar007 Fri 28-Oct-16 12:38:41

Drop the BG contract and put the same amount of money in a piggy bank then find a local gsr person that knows your make of boiler you feel you can trust and get on with.

In time the BG engineer will consult his laptop and tell you part XYZ is no longer available and you need a new boiler where a good independent person will know where to get the part and keep it running.

Regarding the pipe run, a) can`t advise without seeing eyes on, & b) the regs have changed.

c3pu Fri 28-Oct-16 12:58:08

Meh, I had a crummy combi from the 90's that stopped working a couple of summers ago.

Got my friendly gas man in to rip it out and install a nice new Vailant in the loft (previous boiler was in the small bedroom, and i had a small boy I wanted to put in there instead).

Yes the pipe run is a bit long from up in the loft down to the kitchen sink so it takes a few seconds to get hot water, but that would be the same if i had a hot water tank in a similar position... I get around it to an extent by making sure that all the hot water pipes are very well insulated so the heat stays in the pipes longer.

It may or may not be more efficient that the old crappy one, it ought to be better as it doesn't have a pilot light to keep burning 24/7, but what I do notice is that it has a decent flow rate and the water is lovely and hot. Miles better than the old one.

unlucky83 Fri 28-Oct-16 13:39:47

I have a good local plumber - only problem is he is so good he is always really busy - I'm waiting for my year service appt...I will mention the preheat bit see if mine does that (I have a feeling it probably doesn't)

BG are expensive -so might be worth looking getting a few quotes (having the central heating put in (12yrs ago) their quote was £1k more than the next expensive - £2.5k more than the cheapest...) but I would imagine it will still be a lot - a new condensate drain added £500+ to the fitting of mine.
(My boiler is in an upstairs cupboard - I would need a pump to get to the bathroom or ugly pipe running along an outside wall or dig out a soak away - and we are just above bedrock - or lift the boards in 1.5 bedrooms to run it under the floor etc - now it runs down a corner of my kitchen, under the floor and into the sink drain...)

c3pu - no point in insulating the pipes as the water runs cold before hot - so you would get a pipe run of warm water -then cold then warm. I would if I had a tank - although there is an argument that the heat from the pipes contributes to the overall heat of your house so you save on heating...
Not sure about having a boiler in the loft - my last one -a worchester bosch was faulty on delivery/installation. An intermittent fault it took a few weeks and eventually a WB engineer to fix. A safety shut off kept coming on and it had to be reset on the front of the boiler - every 1 or 2 days. I would have been more pissed off than I was if I had to keep going up in the loft every time - it was super sensitive anyway and even after it had been fixed cut off 3-4 times a year...and I have a loft ladder etc but still be a faff and a bit mucky ...
I think we should all go back to basic nothing much to go wrong system boilers...without pesky pcbs and the like...

candybar007 Fri 28-Oct-16 13:55:53

What make and model is it, I`ll look into the preheat option.

c3pu Fri 28-Oct-16 14:03:20

c3pu - no point in insulating the pipes as the water runs cold before hot
Quite right, but it does help in so much as when you shut the tap off the pipe is full of hot water, so you get a run of hot before the unheated water comes through... Some boilers (mine included, but i choose not to use it) have a setting to fire up for a few seconds every so often to keep warm, which tackles the problem but is less economical and less environmentally friendly. On my vailant it's called "comfort mode" or something like that.

Yeah having it in the loft is a bit of a compromise, but mine has been supremely reliable for the past 2 years since it's been installed. I needed to pop up there to top up the central heating last month, but thats the only input it's needed from me in the past 24 months. Still better than having it in the kids bedroom though! :D

ThereIsNoSuchThingAsRoadTax Fri 28-Oct-16 14:26:37

* no point in insulating the pipes as the water runs cold before hot*

But if you have a boiler that keeps warm so that it can start heating the water quicker, then it will run very little cold before the hot comes on. Insulating the pipes and keeping the water in them warm should then help.

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