I maintain but don’t install boilers because I’m a lazy old man and don’t believe I’d excel at installation. However, I do try to advise customers on products and installers. I’ve spent a fair amount of time pondering boiler makes and models to recommend.
Occasionally in life, a thought comes along that simplifies the choice, and so it has proved to be with boilers. In recent times, manufacturers have sought to gain market share by taking part in a warranty “arms race”. Ten year manufacturer warranties are now available.
That’s it – choose a boiler with a ten year (or more if available!) warranty and enjoy peace of mind. Sure it may cost a bit more, but why make a false economy? To an extent, it doesn’t matter if the manufacturer has got it wrong and the reliability doesn’t live up to expectations – the manufacturer takes the risk and will fix the boiler if it goes wrong.
Here’s a summary of my advice:
• Choose a boiler with a long warranty.
• Find an accredited installer (look on the manufacturer’s website).
• Study the warranty conditions carefully.
• Make sure the warranty is registered promptly.
• Make sure the warranty conditions are met (see below).
• Keep the Installation & Service manual safe and readily retrievable (it contains the commissioning record and service log).
• Expect the manufacturer to walk away from the warranty if the conditions are not met in full.
Notes on warranty conditions:
As stated above, read the warranty conditions carefully, which are likely to include:
• The boiler must be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
• The commissioning record in the Installation & Service manual must be properly completed. (I find as I go round servicing boilers this is not always done.)
• The warranty must be registered in a timely fashion.
• The boiler must be serviced annually (I’d love to do that for you!).
• Faults caused by poor quality heating water (corrosion sludge) or limescale will not be covered – cleaning the heating system as part of the installation process is essential.
Regarding manufacturers, I will restrict myself to the following:
• Worcester support for their boilers is particularly good, but the hydraulic sections (the wet bits) of their combi boilers are difficult to work on.
• The only combi I would have is an Intergas – see http://www.intergasheating.co.uk/ You may not have heard of them but they’re big in their native Netherlands. A very clever heat exchanger design has enabled them to design out the parts such as diverter valves that fail in mainstream combi boilers leading to time-consuming and expensive repairs. They’re also very quiet.
The reason I don’t wish to say more about manufacturers is that I tend to see boilers that have been around for some time. Some makes improve while others decline. That’s why I’d go by the latest warranty information on the manufacturers’ websites.