Don't do it on the cheap

 

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A GOOD INSTALLATION AND A BAD ONE – AND WHY IT COSTS SO MUCH

The Installation of a new gas boiler is not a simple procedure & the good old days of a straight swap are a thing of the past.

There are a plethora of rules and regulations that govern the fitting of your new boiler. Adhering to all of these rules means the installer will need to be trained, qualified and experienced. This will mean any good boiler installation will be expensive.

Poole Heating Ltd always factor in these requirements and will be reflected in the cost. Sometimes, this can appear to customers as suspiciously high. Particularly when some firms are prepared to cut corners and offer to conduct the installation at half the price!

If a customer asks us to actively avoid these requirements we will politely decline. We have invested years of our time and thousands of pounds to become qualified and accredited in our trade and we make no exceptions. 

Below is a brief list of the requirements for installing a boiler and the associated costs.

1) CONDENSING BOILERS ARE COMPULSORY UNDER THE BUILDING REGULATIONS IN MOST IF NOT ALL SITUATIONS

A condensing boiler will generally cost between £100 and £200 more than a non condensing boiler  On top of this there is a big difference between boilers i.e. the life span of a boiler is as follows: Budget boiler 3-5 years, Mid range 5-7 years & high end 10-15 years. A condensing boiler will also require a drain connection to carry away the condensate they produce.

Depending on the location of the nearest drain this can be relatively straightforward. However in some cases, if a suitable drain is not available, the only way to achieve a drain connection is to relocate the boiler. This will require considerably more time and labour therefore increasing the cost of the whole installation.

All this is avoided by ignoring the Building Regulations and fitting a non-condensing boiler instead creating a potential cost saving of anywhere between £100 - £1000. This, of course, is illegal and the wrong thing to do.  Please note we have seen boilers fitted with the condense going into a bucket! and on one it was just pocked into the wall cavity:( 

2) 'ENERGY-EFFICIENT' CONTROLS ARE ALSO COMPULSORY UNDER THE CURRENT BUILDING REGULATIONS

It is common practice to just fit thermostatic radiator valves to all the radiators, again this is illegal and not advisable.  All systems should now have a room thermostat that tells the boiler to turn off when the property has reached temperature.

 The cost of this will vary but could be as much as £800, so again avoiding these regulations could potentially reduce costs. 

3) GAS SAFE GUIDELINES ON PERMISSIBLE PRESSURE DROPS

Gas Safe guidelines on permissible pressure drops between the gas meter and the appliance can also heavily influence the cost of your installation

In fact some customers may find that they need to replace their gas pipe to adhere to these requirements. A drop of 1 mbar in pressure from the mains to the appliance is the maximum permissible allowance and some existing gas pipes are too narrow to prevent this from occurring.

A new boiler will generally work correctly when connected to the existing pipe with a pressure drop of up to 4 mbar, but complying with the guidelines will require running a larger gas pipe all the way from the boiler to the mains.

This doesn't always mean a lot of additional work but if the boiler is on the opposite side of the house to the mains pipe – a day of extra work may be required. Again ignoring this guideline and reusing the existing pipe can save anything from £200 to £1000. But it is not advisable and could have safety implications.

4) POWER FLUSHING. ALL BOILER MANUFACTURERS INSIST THEIR BOILERS ARE CONNECTED TO A CLEAN HEATING SYSTEM.

Warranties and guarantees provided by the manufacturer will generally become void if a claim is made due to a failure or failures caused by sludge or corrosion deposits in the circulating water.

Powerflushing will remove any such debris or deposits currently circulating in the system. This makes it a good investment. It will prolong the life of your boiler, reduce wear on parts such as the heat exchanger, increase efficiency of the hot water system and allow even heat distribution in individual radiators.

The typical cost for this process - including labour and materials per radiator is £45. Neglecting this service or conducting a much less effective 'chemical cleansing' could save you as much as £350 on a typical 8 radiator system. But you may well pay more in the long run on repairs.

5) PUMP OVER-RUN WIRING

In order to distribute the residual heat created by normal use of your boiler, condensing boilers have a built in device to control the pumps operation after the boilers burners have been shut down. This protects the fragile heat exchanger.

This will require the installation of an additional cable from the boiler location to the pump location (usually next to the hot water cylinder upstairs in the airing cupboard). Installing any extra cable will take more time and more money.

By Installing some models of non-condensing boilers you could avoid this requirement or alternatively you could just not connect the pump over run at all. But this might mean that your heat exchanger fails in as little as 2 years. One trick used by some so called installers is to have the pump running permanently, as a standard pump consumes around 125 watts this can get expensive, would you have a 125 watt light build burning 24/7?

So again cutting corners here is a false economy, in the short term you could save up to £300, but heat exchangers are very expensive to replace & energy costs are not getting cheaper.

6) POST-INSTALLATION CLEANSING AND CORROSION INHIBITING

All Central heating systems slowly corrode on the inside over time, creating a build up of black sludge that damages heat exchangers and blocks radiator pipes.

A dose of corrosion inhibitor will greatly reduce this. Failure to conduct a post installation cleanse can even accelerate the corrosion process but if its skipped you probably won't notice initially. But the corrosion problems may start early and a power flush (see above) will become necessary. If you leave out the post installation cleansing you could save £100, but is it worth it when a power flush will cost £350?

7) GAS WORK NOTIFICATION. THIS IS COMPULSORY GAS SAFE REQUIREMENT

Adherence to the regulations involves all gas engineers notifying the appropriate body of every central heating or boiler installation conducted. The engineer must supply his details, date of installation, customer's name and address etc.

Gas Safe will then send the customer a certificate specifying the installations adherence to the latest Building Regulations. This certificate itself becomes part of the mandatory 'Home Information Pack' (HIP) and will be required when you come to sell your property. It will also allow Gas Safe to conduct assessments of installations to insure full compliance. Failure to conduct any of the above could prevent this notification being sent to Gas Safe. So in short if you don't receive this certificate its probably because your engineer has contravened one of the above regulations.

IN SUMMARY

It makes sense to request comparison quotes for you boiler installation. 3 quotes should give you a good idea of pricing. But the old adage still holds true:- If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

A proper installation from a reputable company is going to be more expensive - because they won't cut corners or ignore regulations - but in the long term will be a much wiser investment.