In addition to a new downstairs bathroom, we’ve also invested in a new central heating boiler for our house.
This was mainly a necessity rather than a desirable enhancement. The existing boiler dates from 1976, making it 40 years old, which is far older than most boilers – by comparison, my parents have had their boiler replaced twice in this time. If it broke down, I doubt we would have found anyone able to fix it and so we would have needed a new boiler anyway, so we might as well get a new one at a time that’s convenient for us. With Christine still on maternity leave, and the weather warming up, last week seemed like a good time to do it.
The old boiler was a so-called ‘back boiler’, located in one of the chimneys in the house and with a gas fire in front; there were also two other gas fires in the house that we had removed in the summer. We also had a large hot water tank upstairs in what will be Elizabeth’s room. The new boiler is a combination boiler that provides both heating and hot water, so the old boiler, hot water tank and gas fire were all removed as part of the works. Additionally, we had to have the boiler in a different place, as it wouldn’t have fitted in the chimney and would’ve been awkward to access even if it did fit. So it’s now in the kitchen.
As it’s a newer-style condensing boiler, it should use significantly less gas than the previous boiler. Which is good – we spent a fortune over the winter as Christine was at home all day with Elizabeth during the coldest months of the year. It’s manufactured by Worcester-Bosch – one of the better makes and comes with an 8 year guarantee. There’s also a filter, to remove impurities from the water in the system, thus pro-longing the life of the boiler – that’s the black thing on the pipes in the photo.
We got two quotes for the work. The first was our current energy supplier – a large British firm specialising in Gas, who quoted us over £6000 for the work. Thankfully a local firm quoted us less than £4000, so we went with them. They managed to do the job in two days, rather than three, and we got an interest-free credit deal for two years.
As well as the new boiler, we also got a new thermostat (more on that later), and four new radiators in the downstairs rooms. One of these, in the kitchen, replaced a hugely inefficient electric radiator; the others replaced existing radiators that were removed and stored during our earlier renovations, but haven’t worked well since they were reinstalled.
Whilst the work has been costly, I’m hoping it will pay off in terms of lower gas bills, and should mean that we’re not stuck with a broken boiler in the middle of winter.