Many homeowners and business owners might be unaware of recent advancements in boiler technology, and the crucial role these systems play in providing your heating and hot water. In this article, Warmable will review some of the common myths about boilers and hope to ease any concerns you might have before getting a boiler installed.
Myth 1: Boilers Are Dangerous
The perception that boilers are inherently dangerous is a common myth that can lead or hesitancy when it comes to choosing a heating system. While it is true that improperly maintained or installed boilers can pose safety risks, the same is true for many other household appliances, including gas stoves and water heaters.
Modern boiler designs include multiple safety features that reduce potential hazards. Pressure relief valves, temperature controls, and fail-safes are all components that ensure boiler safety.
An boiler service, conducted by qualified professionals, helps to keep these safety mechanisms in working order. Understanding and following safety guidelines, such as proper ventilation and avoiding blocked flues, is essential for minimising risks associated with boilers.
To arrange a boiler service or get a free quote, fill in Warmable’s quick form. Our expert team will match you with a trusted local engineer who will come to your home, look at your boiler, and provide you with a free quote.
Myth 2: Turning Off the Boiler When You’re Not Home Saves Energy
The idea that turning off the boiler when you’re not at home conserves energy seems logical but is often counterproductive. Boilers are at their most efficient when they maintain a consistent temperature.
Turning off your boiler and then reheating your home upon your return can end up wasting energy and producing uneven heating. Most modern boilers come with programmable thermostats that allow you to set lower temperatures when you’re away, offering an efficient way to reduce energy consumption without causing fluctuating temperatures. You could also consider getting a smart thermostat installed to help save energy for your home.
Myth 3: Bleeding Radiators Is a One-Time Job
Bleeding radiators is a task frequently associated with boiler maintenance. While bleeding radiators is indeed an essential step, it is not a one-time job.
Over time, air can enter the heating system, causing radiators to become less efficient in transferring heat and making the radiator cold at the bottom. Regularly bleeding radiators, typically during the cold months, ensures even heating throughout your space. Neglecting this task can result in cold spots, reduced boiler efficiency, and higher energy bills.
Myth 4: Bigger Boilers Are Better
The belief that bigger boilers are better is a common misconception. People often think that larger boilers produce more heating power. However, this oversizing can lead to inefficiencies and increased costs. The ideal boiler size depends on the heating needs of the building it serves.
An oversized boiler will frequently switch on and off, known as short-cycling, which not only wastes energy but can also lead to premature wear and tear. Properly sizing your boiler with the specific heating requirements of your space, is essential for ensuring both energy efficiency and comfort.
Myth 5: Boilers Are Maintenance-Free
The idea that boilers are maintenance-free appliances is a dangerous myth. Boilers, like any mechanical system, require regular maintenance to function optimally and safely. Neglecting maintenance can lead to breakdowns, inefficiencies, and, in some cases, hazardous situations.
Regular maintenance tasks for boilers often include cleaning the heat exchanger, inspecting the flue, checking safety controls, and conducting pressure tests to identify and address leaks. Regular boiler servicing by qualified technicians is a vital part of ensuring the longevity and efficiency of your heating system.
To arrange a maintenance visit, contact Warmable. We can connect you to a trusted boiler engineer in your area, or even arrange an annual boiler service so you don’t need to worry about remembering to call an engineer each year.
Myth 6: All Boilers Are the Same
Boilers come in various types, including combi boilers, conventional boilers, and system boilers. Each type is designed with unique features and is suitable for different situations. Combi boilers, for instance, provide hot water on demand and are ideal for smaller homes with limited space.
On the other hand, system boilers are better suited for larger properties with multiple bathrooms, as they can deliver hot water to various outlets simultaneously. Understanding the different types of boilers and selecting the one that best fits your specific heating and hot water needs is crucial for achieving efficiency and comfort.
Myth 7: Boilers Don’t Need Insulation
Boilers may produce heat, but this doesn’t mean they are exempt from the benefits of insulation. Insulating the pipes and the boiler itself can help reduce heat loss and increase overall efficiency. Proper insulation prevents the boiler from working harder than necessary, which not only saves energy but also reduces wear and tear on the system.
Insulating pipes can help maintain hot water temperature during transport from the boiler to taps or radiators, ensuring consistent and energy-efficient heating.
Myth 8: Boilers Are Obsolete Technology
The idea that boilers are outdated and inefficient is far from accurate. Modern boiler technology has evolved significantly over the years. High-efficiency condensing boilers, in particular, have become more common, as well as heat pumps which have gained prominence as part of the boiler upgrade scheme.
These boilers extract additional heat from combustion gases, making them much more efficient than older models. Boilers can be a sustainable and cost-effective choice when properly maintained and installed, making them far from obsolete.
Myth 9: All Boilers Are Noisy
While older boilers might have been notorious for producing a lot of noise, modern boiler models have been engineered to be much quieter. High-quality insulation, improved combustion techniques, and advanced engineering have significantly reduced the sound associated with boiler operation.
If your boiler is making excessive noise, it may be a sign of a maintenance issue or a problem that needs immediate attention from a qualified technician. Boiler banging noises are often a sign that something needs to be addressed.
Myth 10: Boilers Are the Main Cause of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Boilers can emit carbon monoxide (CO), a colourless, odourless gas that can be lethal when inhaled in high concentrations. However, they are not the primary source of CO poisoning in homes.
Malfunctioning gas appliances, such as water heaters, stoves, and furnaces, are more likely to be the culprits. Nonetheless, every home with a gas boiler should have a functioning carbon monoxide detector installed to provide an early warning in case of a leak.
Regular maintenance and inspections of the boiler are also critical to prevent CO emissions and ensure the safety of the heating system. Fill in our quick form to arrange your regular maintenance inspection.
Myth 11: Boilers Can’t Use Renewable Energy Sources
Traditional boilers often rely on fossil fuels for heating. However, there are now renewable energy options available for heating systems. Biomass boilers, for example, burn organic materials like wood pellets or corn to generate heat, providing an environmentally friendly alternative.
These systems help reduce the carbon footprint associated with heating. Additionally, hybrid systems combine traditional boilers with renewable technologies such as solar panels, harnessing sustainable energy sources to further reduce environmental impact.
Myth 12: Electric Boilers Are Always More Efficient
Electric boilers are often considered more energy-efficient than gas boilers because they don’t emit combustion byproducts or produce exhaust gases. However, the efficiency of electric boilers is highly dependent on factors such as the local cost of electricity and the source of the electricity.
In areas where electricity is primarily generated from fossil fuels, electric boilers may not be more environmentally friendly or cost-effective than their gas counterparts. Assessing the local energy mix and costs is essential when determining the most efficient and eco-friendly heating solution for your specific circumstances.
Myth 13: Boilers Are Only for Heating Homes
Boilers are incredibly versatile and can serve various purposes beyond heating homes. They are commonly used for heating swimming pools, providing hot water for commercial facilities, and powering various industrial processes. The ability of boilers to maintain consistent and controlled heat makes them indispensable in numerous industries, from manufacturing and agriculture to healthcare and hospitality.
Myth 14: It’s Cheaper to Install a New Boiler Than to Repair an Old One
Some individuals may assume that replacing an old boiler with a new one is always more cost-effective than repairing the existing unit. However, this is not necessarily true. The decision between repair and replacement depends on factors like the age, condition, and efficiency of the existing boiler.
Older boilers can often be brought back to peak performance with targeted repairs, saving homeowners money and reducing waste. Conducting a cost-benefit analysis and seeking professional advice can help you make the most cost-effective choice when facing a boiler issue.
Myth 15: A Boiler’s Efficiency Never Changes
The efficiency of boilers can change over time due to various factors. Wear and tear, sediment buildup, or ageing components can lead to a decrease in efficiency.
Regular maintenance and cleaning are key to preserving a boiler’s efficiency. In addition, advancements in technology have led to the development of more efficient boiler models. Upgrading to a newer, high-efficiency boiler can result in significant energy savings, especially if your current unit is outdated.
Myth 16: All Boilers Come with the Same Warranty
Boiler warranties can vary significantly depending on the manufacturer, model, and installation. Some boilers may come with extended warranties that cover parts and labour for a more extended period.
Understanding the warranty offered with your specific boiler is important to avoid unexpected costs in case of malfunctions or failures. It’s crucial to read the warranty documentation carefully, as it may contain conditions and requirements for maintaining the warranty’s validity.
Myth 17: It’s Okay to Install a Boiler Yourself
Boiler installation is a complex and specialised task that should not be attempted by individuals without the necessary expertise and qualifications. Incorrect installation can result in safety hazards, inefficiencies, and voided warranties.
Hiring a licensed and experienced technician to install or repair your boiler is imperative to ensure that it operates safely and efficiently. Proper installation not only guarantees safety but also maximises the performance and lifespan of the heating system.
Myth 18: Boilers Can Heat Water Instantly
While some boilers can provide hot water on demand, others require time to heat the water stored in their tanks. It’s important to understand the type of boiler you have and how it heats water to avoid inconvenient surprises. Instantaneous hot water boilers are designed to heat water as needed, which can be advantageous for homes with high hot water demands.
On the other hand, boilers with storage tanks may need time to heat the water before it’s ready for use. Knowing the characteristics of your boiler’s hot water delivery system is essential for planning and optimising your water usage.
Myth 19: Boilers Don’t Need a Carbon Monoxide Detector
Boilers can indeed emit carbon monoxide, which is a colourless and odourless gas that can be deadly when inhaled in high concentrations. However, they are not the primary source of carbon monoxide in most homes. Malfunctioning gas appliances, such as water heaters, stoves, and furnaces, are more likely to be responsible for carbon monoxide leaks.
Nevertheless, every home with a gas boiler should have a functioning carbon monoxide detector installed to provide an early warning in the event of a leak. Regular maintenance and inspections of the boiler are also crucial to prevent carbon monoxide emissions and ensure the safety of the heating system.
Myth 20: Boilers Are Always More Expensive to Install Than Renewables
The idea that boilers are always more expensive to install than renewables is not universally accurate. The cost of installing a boiler versus a renewable heating systems such as solar panels depends on a variety of factors, including the how many panels you require and local installer costs. A boiler installation can be much cheaper than an upfront solar panel cost of £7,000.
Selecting the right heating system depends on individual circumstances. Factors to consider include the type of fuel available, the local cost of energy, and the specific heating requirements of your home or building.