My best advice (part 1!)..
Well there is an interesting question, a question that can have a thousand answers.
Often though, the answer if given from Joe Bloggs, friend, a family member or work colleague will be based on the very small number of Boiler brands that this individual knows and the pretty limited number of past boiler purchases made in the last 10 years. Think about it, how many Combi boilers have you, your Dad or the neighbour next door had installed in the last ten years? More than one or two?
So, who can you trust?
When looking for information on a new boiler try not to ask “them”, the non professionals listed above.
Some people will take the route of asking several Local Plumber / Gas / Heating Engineer’s or popping by the plumbers’ merchant in town.
Now I’m not wanting to tarnish all Heating professionals as, there are some salt of the earth types out there and some of the information given will be good and totally correct for you and your situation, but as with everything in life just be aware that not all advise is good advice:
When taking advise on a new boiler consider the following:
Plumbers & Builders merchants don’t stock all brands of boilers and neither will the chap behind the counter have much experience of installing boilers in the public’s house. Recently I sent a list of 9 boiler manufacturing brands with 50 or so individual boiler models to one supposedly large builders merchant who also owned a dedicated plumbing supply company. 3 weeks later my quote finally came in the post, with just 2 boiler brands and only 5 boilers to choose from! So, I guess these are the boilers that the unnamed company recommends as being best for any enquiring customer’s requirements, regardless of the property or budget that this customer has to spend.. Hmmmm…
This was the most extreme example I can think of but regardless, the point is that plumbing merchants do not stock a huge amount of options for their customers. So, what the homeowner is likely to be advised is either what boiler they (the merchant) currently have a promotion on, or, the boiler that the merchants regular customers, the boiler installer’s are buying from their own ( limited ) selection of boilers.
As with all forms of retail the seller will push the products that give them the better margins of profit.
“Did you know that national and Independent merchants do deals with the regional boiler brands rep on price and sometime warranties offered? To simplify this, remember that the merchant may be able to order most brands of boiler on 24/48h delivery but if they don’t keep in stock, that boiler is not a common selling boiler for “them”, so they will advise you that the best boiler is the one that they normally keep in stock.”
Almost the same can be said about “most” and I will make highlight the word, “Most” Plumber / Gas / Heating Engineer’s will only have experience or prefer to quote and install one or two different brands of boiler. If your installation is relatively simple and what is commonly known in the heating industry as a straight boiler swop, then given any budget, it is hard for any Boiler Installer to get this advice wrong, as far as what boiler will do the job required.
But, what is often missed when recommending the choices available, is the added details such as the
- number of people living in the house,
- the properties hot water requirements i.e. is there one, two or three bathrooms?
- Is there a electric shower or does it run off the boiler?
You don’t need a 42kW Worcester Bosch, when the never used shower in the ensuite is electric and only used when a guest visits at Xmas..
Another nugget of information that is often missed when choosing a new boiler is to consider how long you the customer are planning on keeping the property as there is no point buying a 7 year warranty when the house will be on the market next year. If you are planning on keeping the house for the foreseeable future then the best advise for any customer is “buy the boiler with the longest warranty that you can afford”. Currently, there are a number of options available with the boiler manufacturer’s 7,8 and even 10 years full parts and labour warranties.
If your budget cannot stretch to the longer warranties offered don’t worry, as the boilers with the smaller 2,3 & 5 year warranties are just as reliable, they are “mostly” only cheaper as the user interface is usually a more basic trimmed down version of the more expensive option, and of course these cheaper boiler options have less warranties attached which will cost the manufacturer if the boiler fails within warranty in the future.