Q Please can you help me? My house is over 35 years old. It's a large house about 372sq m (4,000sq ft). My boiler is on its last legs and I need to replace it. My husband says that we can't as it will burst all our old pipes. Can you advise on what boiler to buy and where to buy one? It's gas oil that I buy. Can you tell me how much approximately it would cost as we haven't a clue? And where to go to purchase? Please help.
A Firstly I can advise that boilers can be and are regularly replaced in isolation when they reach the end of their useful life, without any significant impact on the existing pipework.
A potential problem, however, is that if the pipework is very old - say 30-35 years plus - then the pipework may be in poor condition and in need of attention, or possibly even replacement. This is when the problem is with the pipework and not with the boiler.
In fact, a good efficient new boiler can be spoiled by old existing pipework, particularly if there is debris within the pipework/system or corrosion to the pipework which can affect the performance of the heat exchangers within a new high efficiency boiler.
It is unfortunate, if the pipework is very old or in poor condition, as you may also have to look at upgrading or replacing the pipework at the same time.
There is a wide range of boiler types and it is a very open question as to what boiler to buy. Firstly, you need to consider the fuel source. I note that you are on oil and you need to consider the cost of this together with the storage requirements and indeed the risk of smells and leaks and possibly even theft.
Gas may be an option if there is a gas supply in your area. As an alternative you should consider green energy, such as wood pellets or an alternative energy renewal source, but you would need to consider how you can store the fuel.
When you have decided on the fuel source, you can then choose the most appropriate type of boiler.
Boilers can be purchased directly in plumbing and heating merchant suppliers but you should be mindful that you also need to get the boiler fitted and thus it is probably better to do this through your plumbing and heating contractor. They can source the boiler directly for you as part of the service of fitting the boiler.