Here at the Gas Safety Guy, we have been pleasantly surprised by the number of people who do the ‘sensible’ thing and replace their ageing boiler in the summer months, before the cold weather hits and they end up in crisis territory! If only we could all be so organised!
On a weekly basis we are called out to boiler faults and on systems of a certain age our customers are faced with the dilemma of whether or not the boiler is ‘worth’ repairing. Of course, we are happy to give our opinion, although unfortunately people do tend to think that it’s in the gas engineer’s interest to suggest installing a new boiler!
I thought some customers might find it useful to understand the thought process of an engineer when this is recommended and also how you may be able to weigh up the pros and cons of going for a new boiler over a repair yourself.
So, how do we go about assessing viability of a repair? Factors we may take into consideration include the age of the boiler, its general condition, how much remedial work has already taken place, cost of repair and likelihood of longevity of repair.
Firstly, let’s look at AGE. If a boiler is more than around 7 or 8 years old, more expensive repairs start to become less attractive a proposition. Usually the warranty has expired by this point and boilers are starting to show wear and tear.
Now, GENERAL CONDITION. Boilers are a bit like cars. 2 cars the same age are not necessarily going to look and behave in the same way. A Volkswagen that has been regularly serviced and maintained will likely run better and be more reliable than a more budget brand that has not been serviced regularly. The same really applies to boilers! A Worcester or Baxi which has been serviced annually and looked after may be more ‘worth’ saving than a budget boiler which may have been neglected.
Next up, REMEDIAL WORK. Some boilers we attend look like they’ve hardly been touched and others have been through the wars!! If a boiler looks like it’s already had several major repairs, it’s probably time to consider an upgrade.
COST OF REPAIR. Oh, now we’re on to the controversial one! If your boiler is older, showing signs of wear and tear and then needs an ‘expensive’ component replaced, this is when you really need to weigh up the cost benefits of replacement. Some brands are prone to intermittent faults which are often traced back to the PCB – this is an expensive part to replace. When you are facing a repair bill of £450 or more, you really need to start thinking about throwing good money after bad.
LONGEVITY OF REPAIR. Another controversial one. We are sometimes reluctant to make expensive repairs on older boilers and have even seen ourselves walk away from this kind of job. Why walk away from a job with good profit, you may ask? Well, if we are completing £500 of repairs on a 10 year old boiler (say we are replacing PCB), there is a good chance of another major part going within 12 months of the first repair. Say a pump or a fan or a diverter valve goes and we are looking at upwards of another £300 or so. The customer then finds themselves more thank halfway towards paying for a new boiler, but with the same old one on the wall!
So, hopefully some of you have found this insight helpful and it may even help you make an informed decision on boiler repairs in the future. If you have any concerns about your boiler or want to discuss replacement, it’s easy to get in touch with us at the Gas Safety Guy.