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23-year-old boiler going strong, but...

(18 Posts)
ShortLass Thu 11-Aug-16 07:58:04

I want to move my boiler from kitchen wall to under the stairs. This gets it out of the way ahead of my kitchen refurb and puts it at the centre of the house for me to run low profile underfloor heating pipes from there. I could get a combi and get rid of the airing cupboard to make more room in third bedroom. It's only me in the house, so combi is ok. All this is supposedly more efficient.

Except, I talked to the gasman who services the boiler and he says I currently have one of the best boilers in the world. Why would I want to replace a boiler which will continue to give me great service with a combi which will break down? Moving the boiler to under the stairs is not a good idea because of moving pipes. It will cost a minimum of £2.5k and I'll never get that back in efficiency savings.

He says they usuallly put a cupboard around the boiler in the kitchen and it looks like it's part of a row of cabinets. Which is great, except I was going to do away with cabinets on that wall so it feels more open (and also saves me about £1k on cabinets (yeah, I want a nice kitchen)).

I feel my grand vision is slipping away as sensible, practical voices step in. I guess I'm asking for any experiences.

JT05 Thu 11-Aug-16 08:22:15

It depends on what you really want. If keeping your old boiler means that you are disappointed with your kitchen, then move it. An old boiler could break down at any time. Parts become obsolete. Then you have to put a new one where the old one was.

If you move a new one to under the stairs, you will have the kitchen you want, a boiler with a guarantee and more space. It will cost, as you have pointed out, but how happy will you be with the result?

ShortLass Thu 11-Aug-16 08:37:52

Thanks JT, I need to listen to more people like you smile

PigletJohn Thu 11-Aug-16 09:05:19

If you currently have a hot water cylinder with an immersion heater, there is no hurry.

If your simple old boiler happens to go wrong, you just turn on the immersion and you have hot water while you decide what to do, and maybe a couple of electric convector heaters if it's winter. The energy cost will be higher for a couple of weeks perhaps, but nothing like the cost and upheaval of a new boiler.

It is only people with combi boilers who have to panic when it breaks, because their hot taps stop working.

What insulation do you have on your cylinder and pipes?

ShortLass Thu 11-Aug-16 11:55:38

I'm actually refurbishing the whole house. New kitchen, new bathroom, flooring etc. So it's either move boiler now or never.

Not sure about insulation. Tank in the airing cupboard is covered in a strange, hard green covering thing (not a fluffy red jacket like in my last house). I assume there's some sort of tank in the lot. I'm not aware of any immersion heater.

ShotsFired Thu 11-Aug-16 12:01:59

I'd stick with an elderly but reliable boiler over a new combi pretty much any day of the week.

I get what you mean about having a clean clear wall, but I think that if you box it in well (by which I mean match colour schemes, use appropriate materials etc) you'll probably stop noticing it pretty quickly. You could even make it a thing - a noticeboard on the door or (perhaps on the side wall) a hanging thing for woks or large pans or your favourite piece of macrame - so it has a purpose other than 'boiler cupboard'?

Balletgirlmum Thu 11-Aug-16 12:05:25

Considering your gas man could probably she quite abut of money installing a new boiler & doing the paperwork mods I'd say he was being really honest with you with regards to your existing boiler.

ShortLass Thu 11-Aug-16 12:18:04

I agree he was being honest. It's what they all say, isn't it? Old boilers keep working forever, new boilers won't last. In my first house, my boiler was probably original 1976 and was 25 years old. There was no thermostat for central heating, just on or off. I thought it was so old it was bound to fail sooner or later. But gasman said it was fine and would just keep going.

I'm going to see kitchen designer next week to talk about boiler disguising opportunities. You're right about it fading into background eventually and I'm not that bothered about removing the airing cupboard. It was just I was so excited the other day when I realised I could just leave wall cupboards off that wall (that I wouldn't really use anyway), open up the space and save £1k.

I've watched too many Grand Designs programmes, I know...

Greengager Thu 11-Aug-16 12:26:26

If you have an old boiler it's likely that the pipe work is to small for modern bookers so all would need to be replaced. This is what puts us off changing our boiler form the late 70's which only has about three working parts and much less potential for any of them to go wrong.

leccybill Thu 11-Aug-16 12:32:40

We have a Baxi back boiler. It is ancient but has never gone wrong in 13 years and gives wonderfully hot water.
We'll be sad to see it go.

ShortLass Thu 11-Aug-16 12:32:52

Boiler likely to be original with house build -- early 90s

ShortLass Thu 11-Aug-16 12:43:04

Thanks for everyone's opinions. It's really helpful

PigletJohn Thu 11-Aug-16 14:08:23

hard green plastic foam is factory-applied insulation, and suggests the cylinder is about 20 years old (today's version is blue) and quite efficient. It would be unusual, but not impossible, to fit a cylinder with no immersion heater.

If you post a photo of the top and side of the cylinder, I can probably tell.

PigletJohn Thu 11-Aug-16 14:20:58


Some boilers are 285mm deep and will fit in an ordinary wall cupboard (wall cabs are usually 300mm) but remember the flue and some pipes will probably come out of the top.

Depending on your height you might consider 900mm tall wall cabs. IMO they look more elegant and they are better able to hide a boiler. Unless you are taller than me you will use the top shelf for your asparagus cooker, fondue set, sandwich toaster, fish kettle and other things that you never use.

You can still get modern, efficient boilers that run a HW cylinder and are not combis. They have less works inside so are smaller and go wrong less often.

ShortLass Thu 11-Aug-16 15:51:30

Even though you are a piglet, I am a shortlass, so I doubt I am taller than you (5 feet).

This would be my boiler wall cabinet to match rest of kitchen:
(max height 1000mm)

There are pipes coming out of top and bottom of boiler, as I recall. The flue goes to the outside wall and will need to be replaced next year (I'm told)

Could get cabinet of similar height to go on opposite wall I suppose.

Slight issue that boiler is lower down the wall than wall cabinets

Thanks for suggestion.

PigletJohn Thu 11-Aug-16 16:10:15

you could get an extra-big door, but it will not look quite so elegant.

I think cabs reaching the ceiling look best.

Or at the end of a run, a full-height cab (you can keep your steps in it)

Lelivre Sat 13-Aug-16 04:38:24

I haven't read all the replies and boiler chat doesn't float my boat grin

But...I had a similar dilemma and moved my boiler upstairs. It was perfectly good, a Bosch and only 17 years old.

I love the new layout of my kitchen. I'm hours and hours and hours in my kitchen each day so getting that right matters. Trying to work how to have cabinets around a boiler was a headache also it wouldn't have given me the layout or look I wanted and would have used up space. Also now, no boiler noise in the kitchen. Plus savings on the water bill have been a nice surprise. Additionally the water comes through hotter, faster. So no regrets here. I have a 7 year warranty.

PeterWeg Sat 13-Aug-16 05:59:15

"You can still get modern, efficient boilers that run a HW cylinder and are not combis. They have less works inside so are smaller and go wrong less often."


Do not buy a Combination hot water and heating unless you need the space. They are much more expensive and un-necessary for most people. But newer boilers are much more efficient.

How much are you spending on gas per year?

Have a look at this as a starting point

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