Why you should avoid cheap boilers
Buying a new boiler is often a cost that can appear out of nowhere. And since being left without hot water and heating is not ideal, especially during the colder months, it's important to get it replaced as soon as possible. Even though your boiler is your primary source of comfort at home, it’s far too easy to forget about it while it sits in your kitchen cupboard without being looked at for most of the year.
You have probably come across some cheaper boiler models throughout your search. While the price may be attractive, you may want to think twice before reaching into your wallet. Often the short-term savings are not worth the long-term costs. In this article, we will run through the advantages and disadvantages of cheap boilers and show you exactly why exactly it turns out that it’s better to spend a little extra on a new boiler.
What are the advantages of a cheap boiler?
The main selling point of a budget boiler is obviously the price, and the price difference between boiler brands can in fact vary greatly. A new Glow-Worm boiler complete with installation will set you back around 25% less than a comparable boiler by Vaillant or Worcester Bosch. If you are left without heating and hot water, and your budget is tight, a cheaper boiler is your best option.
If you’re looking to replace a boiler in a property in which you won’t spend longer than, say, five years, a cheaper boiler is a great short-term solution. Some cheaper boilers will offer the same functionality as their more expensive competitors. However, beware that the manufacturers’ warranties offered with cheaper brands are considerable shorter (see below).
What are the disadvantages of a cheap boiler?
Lower quality parts
It’s essential for all boilers to come with the most reliable and energy-efficient components that can cope with everyday use. Although, in cheaper boilers this is not always the case. The parts used for cheap boilers are more likely to show signs of wear and tear at an early stage. For example, modern heat exchangers made of more expensive stainless steel ensure longevity, while those made from cheaper aluminium are known to wear faster and put your boiler at a higher risk of an early breakdown.
Cheaper boilers tend to be larger and can take up more space in your home, which is generally due to the use of more inexpensive parts and lower quality manufacturing. A cheaper boiler manufacturer will spend less time designing their boilers as compact as possible.
One of the most significant disadvantages of cheaper boilers is the lower efficiency rating. You could come face-to-face with higher energy bills with a low-energy rated boiler. A more expensive boiler will be more future proof with reduced energy consumption and a reduced cost to run. You should also consider your carbon footprint and how a cheaper boiler could increase your footprint.
As mentioned before, cheap boilers are more likely to break down and will come with a shorter warranty period. Most recommended manufacturers will offer a standard warranty, which can be extended with the use of a manufacturer-approved installer. However, if you did go for a cheaper deal that includes the boiler and installation, you might not get the peace of mind you're looking for (at least not in the long run).
A lot of cheaper boilers will lack quiet-design features and tend to make more noise due to their shoddy build quality. You'll notice with a high-quality boiler that they will spend more time to reduce noise output and work toward a Quiet Mark status for their boilers.
Parts harder to source
In some cases, it may be a challenge to find the spares needed to fix your boiler problems. Not to forget that if the boiler is already in need of repair, it’s probably better to replace the entire unit. Before any boiler purchase, it's best to consider the amount you may need to spend on maintenance, especially if you have decided to venture down the cheap boiler route.
Why you should spend more on your new boiler
Having run through all the advantages and disadvantages of cheap boilers, why should you spend more on a boiler? Well, the answer is simple – the more reliable the boiler model is, the less money you should expect to pay on expensive repairs or servicing in the future. Cheaper boilers could leave you with a long list of issues over time especially if the boiler isn’t serviced frequently. So, if you’d like to avoid cold showers or a cold unheated home in the winter, it’s best to invest in a more reliable and reputable boiler brand. As an installer, Hometree only stocks the most reliable and efficient boilers to suit your home’s hot water and heating needs, and we’re more than happy to advise you on the correct type and size boiler for your home.
What types of boiler are there?
When investing in a new condensing boiler, you have the choice between three main types:
• A combi boiler (short for combination boiler) heats water on demand and caters for both your hot water and heating requirements. It eliminates the need for a storage tank since it heats water as you need it. The water will enter into the boiler directly from the mains from the moment you turn on a tap. Combi boilers are also the most cost-effective and energy-efficient type of boiler on the market, making them perfect for smaller flats and homes.
• A regular boiler (also known as conventional or heat-only boiler) is suited to homes with a traditional heating system with older radiators and an existing cylinder. It requires a large cold-water storage tank in the loft which may take up quite a bit of additional space.
• A system boiler is quite similar to a heat-only boiler, but with a few more additional components. A system boiler will heat water that is pumped through both radiators and to a hot water cylinder (with no need for a loft-installed tank to store water), which saves on both running costs and space in your home.
What is a condensing boiler?
Modern changes to boiler technology and the changes to government legislation has meant that more recent boilers are converting as much useful heat and fuel into suitable heat for your home, rather than wasting it. Condensing boilers ensure that as much heat is being converted as possible through its heat exchanger.
How do I know how efficient a boiler is?
ErP labels are present on all energy products to give you an idea of how efficient the really product is. The ErP directive is designed to monitor and improve existing energy products in both their efficiency and performance. As of 2015, all products must be labelled with their efficiency levels rated from G to A+++, which means that all manufacturers are required to improve their grading under the guidance of the directive.
Boiler manufacturers are required to supply an energy label which displays the efficiency grade for heating and (in the case of combi boilers) hot water production. The manufacturer will need to display the label so that the consumer can be made aware of the heating output, sound output and efficiency of their new boiler. The consumer will also be able to find ErP information for energy products through the manufacturers’ sites.
In addition to ErP, SEDBUK stands for Seasonal Efficiency of Domestic Boilers UK. SEDBUK provides both a percentage efficiency score as well as A to G rating enabling an easy comparison of boilers (much like the ErP directive). SEDBUK has been integrated to the ErP labelling directive, however, some manufacturers and sites may still use old SEDBUK ratings for their boilers.
If you're still not sure what to decide when looking for a boiler, it's best to weigh up the pros and cons to make your final decision. You could still benefit from a low-cost and short-term solution to your boiler troubles, but it's important to consider the risks of investing in a cheaper boiler. You could save yourself a lot of hassle in the long-run if you pay at least a few extra hundred pounds and perform a little additional research. During the research process, we recommend you take a look at the manufacturer and their reputation, as well as reviews of the boilers themselves.
It’s also important to note that old “Standard Efficiency” boilers will waste large amounts of heat as they may not offer the same condensing features of a new modern boiler. So if you’d like to be able to waste the least amount of heat as possible, avoid any second hand older boilers or cheaper boilers and make sure that you opt for a modern condensing boiler instead.
Make sure to head over to our Boiler Guide where we have a series of boiler reviews. We take a look at some of the top boilers and pit some boilers against each other in a head-to-head.