Posted on 6 July 2020

What You Need To Know About Boiler Efficiency

You’ve probably noticed the stickers on white goods such as washing machines and dishwashers, showing you an energy rating guide.

The information is crucial when you’re shopping for a boiler as it is for large appliances. Being mindful of our energy use and reducing gas emissions is becoming increasingly important. In 2009, the ERP Directive was signed, bringing positive change to improving energy efficiency.

What is ERP?

ERP (or Energy Related Products Directive) is a piece of European legislation which applies to all products that consume energy, including within their manufacturing process. This Directive includes domestic heating products such as boilers, water heaters and other electrically powered products.

The ERP’s Directive is to encourage manufacturers to offer products that are better for the environment by reducing harmful gas emissions. It’s the manufacturer’s responsibility to ensure that their products are ERP compliant and products are only sold if they meet the requirements.

What is boiler efficiency and why is it important?

Boiler efficiency is worked out by evaluating the fuel it converts into usable energy and how much fuel is wasted throughout the process. Depending on the percentage, the product will receive a rating, in the form of a letter, which will help you to identify which products are more energy efficiency.

Heating up your home is a large percentage of your energy bills, so having an efficient boiler is a must. The better your ERP boiler rating, the cheaper your energy bills will be. The Energy Savings Trust estimates that installing a new boiler could save the average household up to £200 every year on their gas bill.

New boiler regulations from 2018 ensure that any boiler installed from April onwards must have an ERP rating of least 92%. This was put in place to help stabilise climate change. It’s important to consider the ERP rating before buying a new boiler to make sure you’re doing your bit to help the environment as well as lowering your heating bills wherever possible.

It’s now also a requirement (post-April 2018), for all new boilers to include programmable timers and thermostats. This enables you to control your heating times, temperatures and to make sure your boiler is only used when needed.

How efficient is my boiler?

Modern condensing boilers are potentially 89-94% efficient whereas a boiler that is more than 20 years old can be as little as 60% efficient.

a boiler’s efficiency is the percentage of the total energy used by the boiler to provide useful heating. For example, a boiler which is 94% efficient will have 94% of the energy used going towards heating the home and only 6% is ‘lost’.

You’ve probably seen efficiency ratings of A-G on other domestic kitchen appliances and boilers are the same. Modern boilers must be A rated and this will be shown on their literature.

  • A: 90% and above
  • B: 86-90%
  • C: 82-86%
  • D: 78-82%
  • E: 74-78%
  • F: 70-74%
  • G: below 70%

Things to consider

  • Combi boilers can reduce energy by heating water on demand. This means you’ll never pay for water to be heated which may go unused. This is often a much more energy-efficient solution, especially in a smaller household. You can find out more about the different boilers available by reading our blog post, Types of Boilers and Fuels Explained.

To find out more about our boiler with central heating cover and how our other types of cover are here to solve your home emergencies, including plumbing and drains and home appliance cover, contact our friendly team on 0330 09 48 301. You can also request a call back to discuss your requirements or get a free quote online in minutes!

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Posted on 8 June 2020

Types of Boiler and Fuels Explained

With so many different terms used and so many options, it’s difficult to know what type of boiler you have, what the different in the fuel types are and which can be covered under a home emergency insurance policy.

At Home Emergency Assist, we can cover a variety of boiler types and fuels as long as it’s not over 15 years of age, has no preexisting faults and doesn’t have an output in excess of 70kw/hr. Read on to find out more about the types of boiler and fuels we cover:

Combi Boiler

A combination or ‘combi’ boiler is a water heater and central heating boiler in one unit. These boilers heat water directly from the mains when you turn on a tap, so you don’t need a storage tank in your attic.

This type of boiler is both cost-effective and energy efficient as the water is heated instantly rather than being heated and stored in a tank.

Pros

  • Ideal for smaller properties and where there is little or no loft space
  • You only heat the water you need

Cons

  • Better for small households as hot water can only be used for one task at a time; e.g. one person can’t shower while another uses hot water to wash up with

Traditional Boiler

These are also sometimes known as conventional boilers and hot water is stored in a hot water cylinder or storage tank. Often, there’ll be an on/off switch so you can heat the water in the tank when you know you’re going to neet it and switch it off when it’s not in use.

Pros

  • Best suited to larger households where several people need to use hot water at the same time on a frequent basis
  • Good option for low mains water pressure areas

Cons

  • Hot water is not on demand, so once the storage tank has run out of hot water, you’ll have to wait for more to be heated
  • Less efficient than a combi boiler

Condensing Boiler

A standard gas boiler works by burning natural gas in order to heat your water. When you burn natural gas, water vapour and carbon dioxide are created as a by-product; these will travel through a flue and escape into the outside atmosphere, taking heat with them. A condensing boiler can capture some of the heat that would be otherwise lost from these by-products, cooling and condensing them back into condensate. This is then used to warm up the cool water that returns from your radiators.

Since 2015, all new boiler installations are condensing boilers as they’re at least 25% more efficient than older models. If your flue is made of plastic rather than metal, you most likely have a condensing boiler.

Pros

  • These are extremely efficient (a good condensing boiler can achieve efficiency of over 90%) meaning they make the fuel you’re burning go further and are much more eco-friendly.
  • Safer than non-condensing boilers

Cons

  • A straightforward gas boiler replacement can typically cost around £2,300
  • Require an extra pipe to drain away the condensate liquid.

Types of Fuel

Most UK households are connected to mains gas for their heating and hot water however, properties that aren’t connected to the mains grid will have to find an alternative solution. There are approximately 4 million people in the UK currently not connected to the mains grid for gas.

Unlike some insurers/service providers, we cover boilers that run on three types of fuel:

  • Gas: this is the most common type of fuel for homes connected to mains gas. This is still generally the cheapest fuel type and isn’t reliant on being delivered by road. You also don’t have to rent/buy a storage tank.
  • Oil: An alternative for homes that don’t have mains gas. Oil boilers are typically more expensive to run than gas. Oil boilers also tend to be more expensive to buy/maintain than common gas powered boilers.
  • LPG: Liquid Petroleum Gas is delivered to your door and stored in a gas tank on the property. Like natural gas, it’s very efficient and when used in tandem with a condensing boiler can save you money on your heating bills.

 

To find out more about how we’re here to solve your emergency breakdowns with our boiler and central heating cover and other types of home emergency cover including plumbing and drainage and home appliances cover contact our friendly team on 0330 09 48 301 or request a call back online and get a free quote in minutes!

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Posted on 11 May 2020

Does My Boiler Need Repairing Or Replacing?

Having your boiler break down, especially when its cold outside, can be worrying and stressful; even more so in light of the coronavirus crisis. This is particularly true when you’re not sure if your boiler needs repairing or replacing completely.

In many cases, your broken boiler can be repaired easily and quickly, restoring your warm home. However, sometimes replacing your old boiler for a new, more efficient model is the best course of action.

So how do you know what’s the best course of action?

Safety First

If your boiler is old, it may not meet current regulations or safety standards. The first thing you should do is consult with a Gas Safe/OFTEC registered heating engineer to make sure that it can be safely repaired.  You may find even if it can be repaired, it may still be potentially unsafe and prone to further problems.

By taking out a Complete Boiler and Heating insurance policy with Home Emergency Assist, you can be assured that we will send out a qualified engineer in the event of a complete breakdown of your boiler and, if it were found to be beyond economical repair, a boiler replacement contribution payment would be made*.

Efficiency Savings

Even if your boiler can be fixed, you may find that a new boiler would be more energy efficient and therefore that you could save money in the long run.

Rather than paying for repairs, its worth asking yourself if it’s a good opportunity to replace your boiler and make efficiency savings.

However, if your boiler is already a new, energy efficient model, having it repaired by a registered engineer may be the best course of action.

Frequency of Breakdowns

If boiler breakdowns are becoming worryingly familiar to you, replacing it with a newer model may be the best option as the cost of repairing an older boiler will only increase over time.

Frequent breakdowns can be stressful too; especially over the winter months, so think about whether you’d want to avoid this stress completely and replace your existing boiler with a newer model, which is likely to be lower maintenance.

If, however, your boiler is a newer model already then repairing it is likely to be the better course of action as frequent problems are unlikely.

Its also worth bearing in mind if your boiler is out of its warranty period as you’ll no longer be covered for breakdowns and will need to cover the full cost of dealing with any issues yourself.

Our Complete Cover Boiler and Central Heating insurance is designed to help you if your boiler and/or central heating system breaks down completely, giving you peace of mind that your home will be warm again in no time even while you’re in lockdown.

To find out more about how we’re here to solve your emergency breakdowns with our boiler cover including service and other types of home emergency cover, including plumbing & drains and home appliances cover, contact our friendly team on 0330 09 48 301. You can even request a call back to discuss your requirements or get a quote online!

While social distancing guidelines are still in place, we are making every effort to keep both you and our engineers as safe as possible and to prevent the spread of coronavirus. This includes the use of PPE (personal protection equipment), frequent handwashing and you won’t be asked to sign anything. You can find out more about what to expect from an engineer visit on our Covid-19 FAQ page.

*BRC is automatically included in our Enhanced and Premium Cover Packages and an optional extra on the Standard Home Emergency Cover Package.

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Posted on 26 November 2019

When Should I Arrange A Boiler Service?

A boiler service is hugely important to ensure that your boiler is functioning as it should be. At Home Emergency Assist, we offer home emergency boiler cover with an optional boiler service, which we recommend doing once a year to reduce the chance of a sudden breakdown.

But is there a certain time of year that you should arrange your boiler service? Definitely! If you already have, or are interested in boiler and heating system cover with us, there are various benefits to suggest that it is better to arrange your boiler service during the warmer months. This is why we aim to complete our boiler servicing between April and September.

Flexible and convenient for you

Generally, there are less boiler breakdowns during the summer, which means that our engineers are not as busy compared to colder months of the year. If you arrange your service included in your boiler cover with us during the summer, there is often the chance of more flexibility to choose an appointment that is convenient for you, as well as a shorter waiting time.

Ensure your boiler is ready in time for winter

Arranging your boiler service in the summer months means that your mind will be at rest in time for winter, when boiler problems are more likely to occur and are more problematic if they do so. If you choose boiler cover and hot water tank insurance at Home Emergency Assist, we can ensure that your boiler is working as it should be but will also be there for you in case the worst was to happen during winter.

Provide your boiler with consistent care

During the summer, our boilers are turned off because the weather is a lot warmer. When the colder weather creeps back in, problems are more likely to occur when you turn your boiler back on after months of being dormant.  If you opt for an annual boiler service when purchasing home emergency cover, we can assess your boiler in accordance with the Gas Safety Regulations, so you are all set for winter. Our UK approved engineers will also recommend areas that may require further maintenance. For extra protection, our boiler and central heating cover will ensure that you are fully protected if you did happen to suffer an unfortunate boiler or central heating emergency breakdown.

To find out more about how we’re here to solve your emergency breakdowns with our boiler cover including service and other types of home emergency cover, including plumbing & drains and home appliances cover, contact our friendly team on 0330 09 48 301. You can even request a call back to discuss your requirements or get a quote online!

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Posted on 26 July 2019

4 Common Boiler Problems To Look Out For

Is your boiler feeling under the weather? A boiler breakdown is an inconvenience and worry for many homeowners, due to not knowing how much time or money it could take to fix.

Making sure you have cover in place before your system develops these problems is crucial, so you know you’ll be covered in the event of an emergency and with the majority (15.6%) of breakdowns happening in January of each year, according to research conducted by boilerguide.co.uk*, now is an important time to make sure you have insurance in place.

Here are 4 of the most common boiler issues to look out for:

Loss of Heating or Hot Water

One of the most noticeable signs of something not being quite right is a loss of heat from radiators or hot water from taps. This has a variety of causes, including motorised valve failure, thermostat problems or damaged airlocks and diaphragms.

Low Boiler Pressure

Another common boiler problem is low boiler pressure. We would highly recommend always keeping an eye on your boiler’s pressure to ensure everything is operating smoothly. When the needle is showing the pressure is below 1, this indicates low boiler pressure. This means your central heating system will not operate as it should.

Low boiler pressure can be caused by factors such as a water leak, a broken pressure relief valve or radiators that have been bled recently.

Water Leakage

If your boiler is leaking water, it’s a sign that something isn’t quite right. The cause of this common boiler fault is usually a damaged pressure valve or pump seal, which will often need replacing. If the leakage is bad enough to cause a complete boiler breakdown, this can cause a huge amount of inconvenience if your boiler is not protected.

Frozen Condensate Pipe

A frozen condensate pipe is one of the most common boiler issues. Condensate pipes quite often freeze due to the cold weather conditions during the winter, either causing your boiler to display a warning light or resulting in complete heating loss. You can insulate your condensate pipe with waterproof lagging to prevent this from happening. You can also read our handy guide to thawing a frozen condensate pipe.

 

We’re here to solve your home emergency problems. To find out more about our boiler and heating cover packages and or other types of home emergency cover, including plumbing and drains and home appliances cover, contact our friendly team on 0330 09 48 301. You can also request a call back to discuss your requirements or get a free quote online in minutes.

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Posted on 26 June 2019

Caring For Your Boiler This Christmas

The festive season is the most wonderful time of the year…when you have a working boiler! A broken boiler at Christmas has the potential to ruin the holiday mood by leaving you in the cold and with your money being dedicated to presents, turkey and Christmas parties, the cost of a boiler breakdown in November and December is something that nobody wants to deal with.

With the UK being hit by freezing temperatures over the winter period, it’s undoubtably the most common time for boiler breakdowns. According to experts, four in ten people across the UK didn’t arrange a boiler service in preparation for winter in 2018*.

Here’re a few top tips for how to look after your boiler and central heating system this Christmas:

Regularly check your boiler

Keeping an eye on your boiler before the freezing temperatures fully set in is a great way to make sure that your boiler is working as it should be. There’s nothing worse than leaving your boiler alone for months and then when you finally need it come wintertime, it’s broken down!

Bleed your radiators

To ensure your radiators are working as they should be, we recommend bleeding your radiators every now and again. If you notice cold spots near the top of your radiators, there is air present that shouldn’t be there. Bleeding your radiators releases this air and gets them working effectively again. Whilst doing this is vital, it can result in a drop of pressure. Make sure your boiler’s pressure is topped up by checking your pressure gauge after bleeding your radiators.

Prevent your pipes from freezing

Dropping temperatures increase the risk of pipes freezing and ultimately bursting, but there are ways to prevent this from happening. Keep your pipes warm by keeping your heating on low when you’re not in the house or allow your heating to come on at intermittent periods. There are also insulation materials available to purchase at DIY stores to prevent your pipes from freezing.

Get home emergency cover

What better way to care for your boiler and central heating system than with home emergency cover? Our central heating system, boiler, plumbing, drainage and utilities cover is here to solve your problems by providing peace of mind with complete protection for boiler breakdowns, heating failure and other home emergencies.

To find out more about our boiler and heating cover packages and or other types of home emergency cover, including plumbing and drains and home appliances cover, contact our friendly team on 0330 09 48 301. You can also request a call back to discuss your requirements or get a free quote online in minutes.

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