Boilers: What you need to know

They may not be on display… they’re not one of the chosen interior design options that you take pride in when you’re making your home look just how you like it, but you could say that your boiler is the most important (if hidden away!) part of the day-to-day workings of your home. 

I think everyone would agree that their boiler going wrong would be a hugely disruptive nightmare, let alone the repercussions of damage and organising repairs if it leaked, or the dangerous health hazards an older boiler could cause.

Plus, with the current costs of energy, it makes good financial sense for us all to make sure that our boilers are working as efficiently as possible.

For all these reasons, knowing your stuff when it comes to boilers is something all homeowners should devote a little time and attention to. 

We’ve made it easy for you with a summary of answers to questions we’re frequently asked…



What makes a good quality boiler?

The most important thing to look out for, regarding the quality of the boiler you choose, is the material they’re made of. Two key components of a boiler are the hydroblocks and the heat exchangers. Good quality hydroblocks are made out of brass, whereas lower quality hydroblocks are made of plastic. Good quality heat exchangers are made out of stainless steel; lower quality heat exchangers are made out of aluminium.

More expensive brands like Vaillant, Baxi and Main use stainless steel and brass, whereas some of the cheaper brands use aluminium and plastic. Cheaper materials are more likely to break down, to cause leaks or other problems that can prove inefficient and costly, so it’s definitely a false economy to buy cheap.


Which are the best brands of boilers?

At JPS Plumbing, Gas and Electrical, we pride ourselves on keeping up to date on what’s best in the marketplace. In our opinion, this means Vaillant and Baxi. These are the two brands that we believe are the best quality, so these are the boilers we generally recommend. We are approved contractors for those brands, which means we get longer warranties for our customers.

Because we think they’re the best, and what is best for our customers is always our top priority, most of the boilers we fit are the brands Vaillant and Baxi. We also install Main boilers, a good quality budget brand that is also manufactured by Baxi.


Why do you recommend these two types?

We recommend Vaillant and Baxi because they use top quality materials and we can offer longer warranties with them. Worcester and Ideal are other well-known brands, too, but they sometimes use cheaper materials and we don’t have an approved contractor relationship with them which would enable us to provide our customers with extended warranties, so we tend to not use them.


What kind of boiler system should I go for?

It depends on the type of home you’re living in. Combi boilers were hugely popular a few years ago and, if you only have one bathroom, this is still likely to be the best option for you.

However, it quickly became apparent that, if you had a larger home, a Combi boiler would struggle to cope with maintaining hot water pressure if more than one bathroom was being used at the same time. So, we recommend a system boiler and unvented cylinder for larger properties that have en suites and/or more than one bathroom, to make sure that you aren’t inconvenienced by poorer performance through loss of hot water pressure.


What warranty comes with a boiler?

It depends on the brand. We can offer a 10-year warranty on Vaillant and Baxi boilers, as we are one of their approved contractors. Main is our budget boiler, and it’s really popular with landlords. The Main boiler comes with a five-year warranty. You can get a seven-year warranty on Ideal boilers  and we can give you a five-year warranty on Worcester boilers. If you buy through one of their approved contractors you will get a longer warranty on a Worcester boiler.


What is covered in the warranty?

In the vast majority of situations, everything will be covered. The boiler warranty will cover all costs relating to parts and labour, in order to rectify anything that goes wrong within the warranty period. For example, if you have a 10-year warranty on a Vaillant boiler they will come out and fix any problem for you free of charge, within that 10-year period. It’s excellent cover. Do make sure, though, that you read up on the boiler manufacturer’s terms and conditions so that you are aware of any exclusions. Any rejected warranty claims would normally be to do with the water quality in your home, or if you hadn’t had your boiler serviced annually which would invalidate your warranty, for example.


Can I easily swap my boiler?

It is very straightforward to swap a ‘like for like’ boiler, i.e. going from combi to combi, or replacing a system boiler with a system boiler. It gets a lot more complicated to convert from a combi boiler to a system boiler and unvented cylinder, as you’re changing the workings of the system as well as the boiler. It is relatively easy to make the change from an old vented system, comprising of a cylinder in the airing cupboard, a tank in the loft and a separate boiler downstairs, to a combi boiler. That’s something we regularly do. Going the other way, replacing a combi boiler with a system boiler and vented cylinder, is more complex. Everything is possible though and, if it is what you want, we will make it happen for you!


How often should I service a boiler?

Everyone should get their boiler serviced every year, and part of the manufacturer’s warranty is going to say that you need to get it serviced every year, or your warranty will become invalid. For older boilers, an annual service is also a necessary safety check as well, to make sure that there is no carbon monoxide leaking out into your property. In the worst-case scenario, carbon monoxide leaks can tragically prove fatal.


Will a new boiler save me money on my energy bills?

Yes. As a general rule of thumb, the newer the boiler is, the more energy efficient it will be. Nowadays, more boilers are A rated from an energy efficiency point of view. Conversely, some of the old floor standing boilers consume a LOT of gas!

Whatever your boiler needs and circumstances, if you would like to find out more, get a quote or arrange for us to visit, please get in touch. Our experienced and friendly team at JPS Plumbing, Gas and Electrical would love to help you.

Read our useful blog article about what the cost of a new boiler is.


Southampton office: 02381 733139

Winchester office: 01962 448013