How Long Do Boilers Last?
How long do boilers last?
A new boiler is a significant investment. So, it’s not surprising that many of us ask ourselves the question, ‘just how long does a boiler last?’
Well, our research tells us that the average combi boiler should last between 10 – 15 years.
Now that’s a pretty long time, and it doesn’t mean to say that your boiler will stop working when it becomes 15 years old! A modern condensing boiler is likely to continue providing heat for many more years.
However, that old boiler is likely to be less energy efficient, and that means higher energy bills. So that’s already a pretty strong case for buying a new boiler.
What influences the life and how long a gas boiler lasts?
There are many factors that determine the working life of your water heater system. Whether you get 10 years, 15 years, or even longer before you need a new boiler can be down to a range of factors.
This includes who the manufacturer of the boiler is and the operating conditions such as temperature and pressure.
You also need to take into account the frequency of use, how much heat is being produced, and whether the manufacturers servicing recommendations have been followed.
We’re going to look at some of the ways to extend the life of your boiler, giving you peace of mind that you’ll get the maximum value from your appliance.
Regular servicing increases the boiler lifespan
One of the most important factors for extended boiler life is maintenance.
An annual service can detect malfunctioning parts before they become a problem, and manufacturers’ recommendations should be followed to prevent damage to your unit.
Heating engineers will carry out a number of checks when carrying out the service. This then ensures your boiler is operating within a safe working range.
Annual inspections are a good way to find out what’s going on with your boiler, and they can help you avoid parts failures down the road, even if you think you have the best combi boiler on your street.
Always use a gas safe heating engineer
Do make sure that you arrange for a gas safe registered engineer to carry out the boiler service. This ensures that the engineer is suitably qualified to carry out the work.
Many boiler manufactures, such as Worcester Bosch, require any work and servicing to be carried out by a qualified gas safe registered engineer. If you don’t follow this requirement, you may find that your warranty has been voided.
Choose a boiler suitable for your needs so it lasts longer
If your boiler is under capacity for your heating requirements, you will find that it won’t last as long as a boiler of adequate size for the job.
The thing is, undersized boilers require more maintenance to keep them in working order, and they may have to be replaced before their time.
This can also lead to higher energy bills because they are on too often and not running efficiently. So buying a new boiler that has a lower power output than your hot water needs require may be cheaper, but it can be a false economy in the long term.
Combi boiler, regular or system?
The type of boiler you have installed will also impact its working lifespan.
The Combi boiler is the most popular choice of condensing boiler. And that’s not surprising when some manufacturers claim that they can last for 25 years or more.
However, if you have a very high demand for water that could causes the combi to be working at full capacity for much of the day.
As a result you may find that it is pretty short-lived. In that situation, a different type of boiler may last longer.
You’ll also get some idea of how long the manufacturer thinks each type of boiler will last by comparing the warranty on offer. For example, in our Viessmann 100 review, we highlight the impressive 12-year warranty currently on offer.
If your boiler is supplied from the mains water supply, then heats, and stores it in a hot water cylinder, then you have a system boiler.
Many manufacturers offer similar lengths of warranty for a system boiler as they do for a combi boiler. Viessmann and Worcester Bosch, for example, offer up to 12 years.
Often considered to be an older type of central heating system, it needs both tanks and cylinders, so it can be a challenging boiler installation in smaller homes.
Quality of manufacturer
The quality of manufacturing and the parts used have a significant influence on how long a boiler lasts. This then means that there can be huge variation between individual models of boilers.
A high-quality combi boiler from a well-established boiler manufacturer will last for many years longer than a cheaply made one.
This means that a low-cost new boiler may not be a good investment especially when you consider installation costs.
When choosing your new boiler, look at the materials used and pay attention to online reviews from other owners.
Remember to check the warranty offered on each boiler. That will give you an idea of how long the manufacturer believes their brand of boiler will operate before a replacement is needed.
Type of water
The quality of your water and its hardness or softness should also be considered. That’s because it can affect the boiler’s seals.
Hard water can corrode them, while soft water often leads to deposits inside the boiler, reducing longevity.
Boilers are designed with a specific degree of hardness in mind. So, different levels may lead to breakdowns or damage.
If you live in a hard-water area, or the water gets harder in summer because of high temperatures, it’s advisable to use an anti-lime system.
Limescale is a deposit of calcium and other minerals that can build up inside your boiler. Because there’s always water in your heating system pipes, it’s tough to completely prevent limescale from forming.
Some can be removed by using a descaler during the boilers annual service, but there will still be some that stays stubbornly in place. In turn, your heating efficiency is reduced, and you may find that the boiler becomes damaged over time.
If you live in an area with soft water then you won’t experience as many lime-based problems.
That means that you can expect your boiler to have a longer working life. For hard water areas, a softener might also be a good investment in the long term.
Don’t delay a repair job on the central heating system
That annoying drip coming from the central heating pipe may seem pretty small.
You might even be tempted to put a container underneath and empty every now and then when it’s full. But, you should be aware that every drop of water means that the pipes leading from your boiler are deteriorating.
It may sound odd, but hot water and central heating pipes don’t mix. The heat makes the hot water expand, which puts pressure on the pipe’s joints and causes them to rust and leak.
If you don’t attend to a leak quickly, it will only get worse and soon cause much bigger problems. It’s already likely that the efficiency levels of your boiler have dropped.
Call out the professionals!
Calling out the engineers is so important as soon as there is a leak. Not only will you be able to take measures to prevent further leaks from entering your property but also the engineer can inspect the pipework for any other damage that may need to be fixed.
If possible, pull away any loose insulation and that from your pipes.
The most common places for leaks to start are where a pipe bends, where there is an elbow and along the pipework towards radiators and convectors.
Indication of a leaky pipe
- wet patches on ceilings, walls, or floors
- discolouration around joints
- condensation on windows
- noisy pipes, hot to the touch, or allowing steam to escape
Regular power flushing of your heating system
One of the best ways to prolong the life of your boiler is by carrying out regular power flushes on all the radiators and pipes on your property.
This is a procedure that will remove any deposits or sludge build-up that has occurred in the pipes over time.
Sludge that’s made up of dirt and dust causes blockages in the pipes. In turn, it will reduce the flow to and from the radiators, leading to a drop in system efficiency, increased costs for heating bills, and a reduction in radiator performance.
How is power flushing carried out?
Power flushing is carried out by a plumber who will attach a high-pressure hose to the valve of each radiator on your property.
The pipes then fill, flushing away any deposits or residue they contain. In turn, this reduces energy costs and provides more efficient heating for your home.
Power flushing should be carried out at least once a year in order to prolong the life of your boiler and the central heating system and to keep it all running efficiently.
It’s important to note that power flushing won’t restore a central heating system that is past its lifespan; it will only prevent further damage from occurring and slow down the ageing process.
Bleed the radiators to extend the lifespan
Even though combi boilers have built-in automatic air vents, air can still get trapped, affecting efficiency levels. So that gives a strong reason as to why you still bleed the radiators on a regular basis.
Check the manual that came with your boiler for a full step-by-step guide on how to carry this out, or ask for advice from an engineer who is on the gas safe register.
When is the time for a new boiler?
You should start thinking about exchanging your old boiler for a new one when:
- A repair will cost more than the boiler’s value
- You’re having multiple repairs to maintain it as it gets older.
- It can’t supply your family’s needs
You should also consider that boiler manufacturers are updating boiler technology all the time.
That then means that a boiler purchased 10 years ago is likely to be lower in its energy efficiency compared to modern boilers that are now available. In turn, your energy bills will be higher than they need be.
Now it is important to remember that there’s not just the boiler replacement cost incurred when getting a new one. itself.
If you’re changing from a system or regular boiler across to a combi boiler, then it’s not just the boiler replacement that needs to be considered. That’s because the installation costs are also likely to be higher when changing the type of heating boiler.
So, how long does a boiler last?
As you’ve seen, while you can expect your boiler to last at least 10 years, there is more than one factor that will influence whether you get another 5 years or another 10 beyond that.
However, just like all mechanical devices, your condensing boiler will get to a point where energy efficiency drops and it no longer offers the reliability you need.
In the long term, a boiler replacement can actually save you money.
When you’re ready for a new boiler it can be challenging to find the right one for your home. This is a great reason for turning to the experts for a new boiler quote.
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