It is easy to forget that a complicated piece of machinery sits at the very heart of our homes. During the cold weather we take for granted that our boiler will be there for us, to efficiently heat our homes and give us warm water. But how many of us really consider the efficiency or reliability of our boilers until it’s too late?Heating our homes during the summer months sits very low on all of our priority lists but if you are considering a boiler replacement in the near future this would be a great time to do it. Not only would this cut down on heating disruption during the colder months but the availability of an installation engineer is more likely. At Northern Energy we would always recommend an OFTEC registered engineer (watchdogs of oil safety within the UK) to carry out any work and to get a minimum of two independent quotes.Click here to visit the OFTEC website for further information.Like any machine, advances in technology and research can only improve the ability for it to do its job better. When we are looking at advances in boilers, we expect newer machines to be more efficient thus saving us money over the course of its life. Adding a new boiler to your home can even add value to your property. After the initial installation, we must consider the savings we can potentially make across the year.
When you should consider replacing your boiler
If you are continuously calling out a qualified engineer to fix a problem with your boiler. Speak to the engineer and ask if they think the boiler is cost effective.
If you don’t have full control over your boiler and it won’t do what you need it to, i.e. the controls and timer don’t fit your requirements. A new boiler may offer more control to appropriately fit your lifestyle.
Some of the older boilers often fire up unnecessarily when there is still sufficient heat within the circulating system. This loss or ineffective use of energy dumped via the boiler flue is called dry cycling. In the new boilers this is managed more efficiently, saving energy and more importantly money.
If your domestic heating oil boiler uses a pilot light or uses the old “iron” form of ignition, you could save energy by switching to a boiler with a newer and more reliable "electronic ignition".
If your boiler has a low SEDBUK rating. The SEDBUK (Seasonal Efficiency of a Domestic Boiler in the UK) rating is the average annual efficiency achieved in normal domestic situations. It takes into account assumptions about climate, control and pattern of usage.
The government is currently running an initiative called the Green Deal which offers help to make energy-saving improvements to your home and find the best way to pay for them.There are many different improvements currently available on the Green Deal – they include double and triple glazing, a new boiler, cavity wall insulation, solid wall insulation, floor insulation, draught-proofing, a new front door, new or replacement storage heaters, and loft and hot water tank insulation. Wind turbines and solar panels could also be eligible, suggests the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC).Dependent on your circumstances you may be eligible to claim back some of the costs incurred from your improvements. To take advantage of the Green Deal, your property must be assessed by an approved Green Deal Advisor to identify the most appropriate improvement. Please click here for further information.
Which boiler is best for me?
When considering a new oil boiler, from 1st April 2007 new condensing boiler regulations were put in place to improve the environmental impact. This now means that all new and replacement oil boilers that are installed into domestic homes have to be condensing boilers unless the home has been classed as exempt. A condensing boiler has a more efficient component called a heat exchanger. This integral part of the new boiler prevents the hot gases from disappearing out of the flue, and returning it back as heating. It is the job of the heat exchanger to only lose cooler gases. When the gas released from the flue gets very cool it can condense the water vapour. At this point the efficiency gets higher still.
Combination oil fired boilers
Combination oil boilers heat the radiators and hot water when the boiler is turned on. The main advantage of this is instantaneous hot water which is ideal for most families. However their flow rate can be quite slow due to the water being heated as it flows through the boiler making combination oil boilers not really suitable for larger houses or those with more than two bathrooms.
Regular or conventional oil fired boilers
Regular oil boilers use a hot water storage tank, which is normally located in the airing cupboard. Once the boiler is turned on, the radiators and hot water heat up, then the hot water is stored until it is required. Regular oil boilers are well suited to large houses where hot water might be needed on demand by a family or more than one person at the same time. Their flow rates are generally quite high, which means they can easily provide hot water to multiple appliances without a decrease in performance.Regular oil boilers can also be fitted externally, maximizing space in compact houses, offering a reduction in noise and easy access for any visiting engineers.
System oil fired boilers
System oil boilers are similar to regular boilers as they use a hot water storage tank. The main difference between the two is that a system boiler contains all of the important components of the heating system actually within the boiler case, which makes installation and maintenance much easier and quicker. This can however be a disadvantage as it makes the boilers larger in size.
Contrary to popular belief oil fired boilers are often as quiet, clean and efficient as gas fired boilers. They are also very similar in size which makes them just as suitable for most kitchens. Some oil boilers can also be fitted externally, maximizing kitchen space and minimizing disruption during installation.When making improvements to our own energy efficiency figures, it is important we do our part to maximize potential from the boiler. When considering heat loss prevention, we should also consider looking at insulation of the loft and walls, draught exclusion where possible and double glazed windows so that we cut down on the loss of heat.A step further would be to use a form of renewable energy such wind or solar power. Although the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is not part of the aforementioned Green Deal, there are financial incentives set by the government to encourage the owners of buildings to use cleaner, renewable energy sources instead of fossil fuels.This can dramatically reduce your energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint.For more information, please get in touch.