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How to increase boiler efficiency

Heating and hot water are essential for day-to-day life, and your boiler works hard to provide this, but how can you make it run more efficiently? Keep reading for our expert advice on running your boiler at its optimum to save money on your energy bills.

Your boiler is one of the biggest energy consumers in your home and making sure it’s running at its peak will keep you warmer for longer and save you money to boot.

Read on to find out how to increase the efficiency of your boiler and the warning signs you should look out for. We’ll also explore potential cost savings and offer advice on when a replacement is necessary.

Old boiler vs new boiler efficiency

Do boilers become less efficient with age?

Over time, a loss of boiler efficiency is a normal part of wear and tear.

Considering older boilers weren’t designed with energy efficiency in mind, they’re less likely to perform as well and are likely to cost more to run than their newer, greener counterparts.

Related content: The most efficient way to heat a house.

Is it worth replacing an old boiler?

Energy efficiency is baked into the design of new boilers. Some models boast an efficiency rating of up to 98%. With the gas boiler ban pending, it’s always worth weighing up your options.

Newer boilers use less fuel to heat your home. As a result, they emit less carbon dioxide and other harmful pollutants, which makes them kinder to the planet and your pocket. Plus, many new boilers are also equipped with advanced features such as smart thermostats and digital controls, which help you save even more on your energy bills.

What causes a decrease in boiler efficiency?

The efficiency of your boiler is determined by its ability to convert fuel into heat. As your boiler ages with the passing seasons, it loses its ability to do its job as effectively. As a result, 25-year-old boiler efficiency ratings are never as good as models under 15 years old. In fact, most well-maintained boilers only remain at their peak for 10 to 15 years (20 if you’re lucky).

Over time, the components of a boiler often deteriorate, leading to a reduction in their overall efficiency. For example, the heat exchanger might become coated with soot or limescale, which reduces the transfer of heat from the burner to the water. Additionally, the burner might become less efficient over time, resulting in incomplete combustion and wasted fuel.

If a boiler isn’t maintained regularly, it becomes less effective. For example, if your boiler’s air intake or exhaust vents become blocked, this affects the combustion and makes it incomplete, leading to a reduction in efficiency. Similarly, if the boiler’s water pressure is too low, it makes the boiler work harder and reduces its efficiency in that way.

Find out how much a boiler service costs.

How much will a new boiler save me?

According to the Energy Saving Trust, upgrading to a new, more efficient boiler could save you around £380 per year on your energy bills (for a semi-detached house based on the April 2023 Energy Price Guarantee).

Related content: Geothermal energy: Sustainable heating for your home.

Annual boiler service

How can I increase the efficiency of my boiler?

If you have an older boiler and you’re not ready to replace it, here are several things you can do to increase its efficiency in the meantime:

Get your boiler serviced regularly

Regular maintenance helps your boiler run more efficiently and prevents it from breaking down. You’ll need to hire a Gas Safe boiler engineer to do this. They can identify any issues affecting your boiler’s efficiency and fix them to avoid bigger problems.

Insulate your pipes

Insulating your pipes helps prevent heat loss as your home’s hot water travels from your boiler, through your pipes, and into your radiators. This means your boiler won’t have to work as hard to heat your home, which will save you money on your energy bills.

Upgrade your controls

Installing a room thermostat, timer, or smart thermostat will help you control the temperature of your home more effectively. In turn, this will save energy and reduce your monthly heating bills.

Bleed your radiators

If your radiators aren’t heating up properly, you may need to bleed them. This involves releasing any trapped air from the system, which can improve circulation and make your heating system more efficient.

Related content: How to bleed a radiator in 6 easy steps.

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How to make a combi boiler more efficient

Combi-boilers are a popular choice for UK homeowners as they offer both heating and hot water on demand. If you have a combi-boiler, here are some expert tips to help you increase its efficiency:

Use a water-saving showerhead

Combi-boilers are less efficient when supplying hot water to a shower. Therefore, using a water-saving showerhead will reduce the amount of hot water used and increase the efficiency of your combi-boiler in the long run.

Reduce heat loss from your hot water pipes

Insulating your hot water pipes will help prevent the water from cooling down too much as it travels from your combi-boiler to your taps and showers.

Install thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs)

TRVs help you control the temperature in each room of your home by adjusting the flow of hot water to each radiator. In return, you save energy and money on your bills.

Checkatrade tradesperson servicing a boiler

FAQs

Should I replace my 30-year-old boiler?

If your boiler is 30 years old or older, it’s worth replacing it with a new and more efficient model. Although boilers can and do last for several decades, they become less efficient over time due to wear and tear, component deterioration, and advances in technology.

Replacing your old boiler with a new, more efficient model can have several benefits:

  • Lower energy bills: Newer boilers are designed to be much more energy-efficient than older models, which means they can help you save money on your energy bills
  • Improved comfort: New boilers can heat your home more effectively and evenly, providing better comfort and a more consistent temperature throughout your home
  • Increased reliability: Older boilers are more prone to breakdowns and can be more expensive to repair. A new boiler can provide improved reliability and require less maintenance over time
  • Reduced carbon footprint: Newer boilers are designed to be more eco-friendly, producing fewer emissions and reducing your impact on the environment

Why not speak to a trusted Checkatrade boiler expert and ask for a quote?

Can a boiler last 50 years?

While it’s certainly possible for a boiler to last 50 years or more, it’s not common. The lifespan of a boiler depends on several factors, including the quality of the boiler, the frequency of its maintenance and repairs, and the type of fuel it uses.

Most modern boilers are designed to last between 10 and 15 years, although some can last up to 20 years or more with proper maintenance and care. However, boilers that are more than 30 years old are typically less efficient and more prone to breakdowns. As a result, they tend to be less reliable and more expensive to maintain.

How can I reduce the gas consumption of my boiler?

The best way to reduce the gas consumption of your boiler is to increase its efficiency.

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