Our old gas boiler has broken what to replace it with?

Our old gas boiler has broken what to replace it with?

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Our 20 year old gas boiler broke down again we  decided it may be an ideal time to replace it   as it's broken down once a year for the past  three years. This video is a first in a series   where I take you through our current setup, my  research into new boilers, my learning curve   along the way and the final product choice.  I'll also cover the installation and review.   It may turn out to be more than just a  simple boiler replacement as you'll see. Our current central heating and hot water  setup is 20 years old as I mentioned.  

It was new when the house was built in 2001. It's  an Ideal Classic FF260 condensing heat only gas   boiler in an open vent system. I've had to learn  all about different types of heating and hot water   configurations in typical UK homes. It's a whole  new set of jargon to learn for example F&E tank   is a feed and expansion tank. As always please  like, comment and if you've not already done so  

please consider subscribing. It's free and it  means you get notified when I upload new videos.   The old boiler has been fixed and is working again   so we're holding off replacing  it until the warmer weather.   It's currently March 2021 when I'm filming this  which means a series of videos I was referring   to in the intro won't be filmed in weekly  instalments. Rather over a longer period of time.   We had been pondering air source heat pumps and  electric boilers for a couple of months as a few   YouTubers I follow who have them whilst I was not  actively looking to purchase I was interested in   these technologies. Current events with a faulty  boiler have moved that interest into more of an   active research topic. I soon find out that in  order to research new products in greater detail  

I needed to know what we currently have in order  to understand if product A would meet our needs   and slot into our existing setup. Probably a good  time to give you a rundown of our current setup.   The boiler you know about, an Ideal Classic  FF260 condensing gas boiler putting out a maximum   of 17.6kW. We have a conventional copper 140 litre  hot water cylinder in the airing cupboard which   replaced our original one about five years ago  the original one sprung a leak due to corrosion.   Our system is an open vent system  meaning we have a cold water header tank   in the loft. There's just the one tank in the  loft. Often there's a small F&E tank feed and   expansion tank for the central heating  which tops up the radiators if required.   We have this valve here which you can add  more pressure to the boiler indicated by   this dial here. I'm assuming we don't have an  F&E tank in the loft then this valve is doing  

the same job. So if anybody knows for sure  please let me know in the comments below.   As you'll soon find out, if you've not already  guessed, I'm no plumbing and heating expert! We have a wet radiator system with 17 radiators.  9 downstairs and 8 upstairs which are fed by 10mm   microbore pipework, which was  common in houses of our era.   We have a four bedroom house, one bathroom  with a bath and a gravity-fed shower   and an ensuite with an electric shower.  There's two adults living in the house.

When I started to pulling this video together the  gas boiler was broken which actually was repaired   on Tuesday the 9th of March by Rob from Ideal  boilers. The spark igniter had died which meant   a new circuit board. Thankfully Rob had one on the  van fitted and tested and working within an hour.   Our current gas boiler is actually a very simple  device there's no LCD screens or readouts.   There's an on/off switch, a temperature  setting and that's it. Now we have a   working boiler which means we're not  in so much of a rush to swap it out.  

It's no longer a distress purchase which  is obviously a much better place to be. Whilst I was researching  information on our current boiler   I found out being that it's 20  years old it's not very effective.   It's actually laughable how inefficient  it is and more on that in a bit. According to Which Magazine the cost of heating  your home particularly during colder months   makes up about 60% of your energy bill. Before  I tell you how inefficient our current boiler is   I need to give you some background on  the rating system for boiler efficiency. Traditionally in the UK boilers were rated using a  lettering system A to G. However, this system was  

withdrawn to avoid confusion with the European  energy labels which use a similar rating but   based on different criteria and principles. SEDBUK  which stands for Seasonal Efficiency of Domestic   Boilers in the UK. This system classifies and  compares boilers on how efficient they are   at converting fuel to heat. There are  two different types of SEDBUK rating   known as SAP scores. 1. SAP Winter Efficiency  this is a measure by an independent laboratory   and is the measure efficiency energy efficiency  of the boiler including space heating and hot   water it is calculated to the industry standard  called SAP2009. 2 SAP hot water efficiency. The   hot water efficiency figure is how effective the  boiler is at producing hot water for your taps   there tends to be a much bigger difference  between boilers on this measure so if you are   keen to get the most efficient boiler possible  it should be this figure that you hone in on.

So good news. Brilliant a consistent  measure of efficiency. Unfortunately   it's not all plane sailing. This SEDBUK rating  was replaced by ErP (Energy Rated Performance)   another European directive introduced in  2015. This stated that all new boilers   fitted into existing properties  must have an ErP rating of 92%.   To muddy the waters, SEDBUK rating is still  used for boilers in new build homes under the   current building regulations and requires  a seasonal efficiency of at least 89.5%.   SEDBUK is also used for EPC calculations and more  on Energy Performance Certificate calculations   in a bit. The good news is that all new gas  boilers have a SEDBUK efficiency between 89 - 90%  

and an ErP of at least 92%. So all toasty in the  heat department. So back to our current boiler.   How efficient is it? When new back in 2001 it  had a SAP rating of 76.%! That's bad! Add-on 20   years of wear and tear means it certainly won't  achieve that figure anymore. Even though it's   had a yearly service. Some new gas boilers  I've looked at have a SAP rating of 98%.   Which means if I just swapped to a new gas boiler  it would be as a minimum 27% more efficient.   Almost a 30% saving on fuel  costs. That's a big saving.

When faced with the need to replace something  outside your normal area of knowledge and skill   set then you've got a few options. Number 1. call  a professional rely on their expertise to guide   you to the best choice. Number 2. do your own  research research research call in a professional   so you have some idea what they're talking  about and can ask intelligent questions.  

3. do your own research and order what you need.  4. do nothing and hope the problem goes away.   I'm a 2 guy, with less emphasis  on asking intelligent questions!   What I have learned is the the Internet  is a wonderful thing for research   but it can also be misleading  and very generic in its advice.   For example, typing 'The best boiler in 2021'  into Google is not going to give you the best   option for the size of your home, your lifestyle,  available budget to replace what you currently   have. It's most likely to take you to a range of  reviews, or best buy options, for internet based   companies who want to sell you their product  or service. Or to a whole range of products   some of which certainly won't meet your needs no  matter how many ratings and top reviews they have.  

I'm going to take you through my research to date  a little less than two weeks into starting it as   my new full-time job! It's fair to say I've not  come to any concrete decisions at this point.   However, I do have an inkling of which way to go.   My research has also grown in breadth,  and there's definitely scope creep.   It now covers some technologies that I didn't even  know existed before I started. For example heat  

batteries from Sunamp Ltd who use a phase-changing  material to heat hot water on demand.   And then there's Teopo stored heat battery  technology. There's also huge efficiency   improvements on existing hot water cylinders  from products like Mixergy hot water tank.   85% of our UK homes have a gas boiler. If your  gas boiler breaks down, as it stands today, the   cheapest option is to replace it with a new like  for like gas boiler. Which is what most people do.   However, the science is telling us to stop burning  fossil fuels; gas and oil. Which means electricity  

is the greener option. Electricity on is on  average 3 times the price of gas in the UK.   What subsidies go into gas to making this  pricing ratio an imbalance I have no idea.   If you factor in the green electricity  generated from solar, wind farms, hydro   it feels that electricity should not be three  times the price. However, I don't believe these   generation methods are factored into the wholesale  and shipping level. Only at consumer level  

and at consumer level it generally means you pay  a little more for green electricity. In short I'm   saying that heating a home by just electricity  even if you have solar PV is certainly not the   cheapest option. Gas is as we stand today. So my  heart is telling me to go down the electric route   and stop using gas. My head is saying otherwise.  The research I've been doing into greener heating  

technology has led me into watching many  Passive house build projects on YouTube.   The Passivhaus standard is designed for new builds  and makes a home incredibly efficient to heat   often resulting in no utility bills at all  for heating. This results in a house that is   very low energy use to keep heated. However, it's  not practical to apply the Passive house standard   to existing buildings. I then found out about the  EnerPhit standard which is specifically designed   to retrofit existing housing stock using  the passive house methodology but adapted   to existing buildings. Depending on the level  and components used with a retrofit application  

it's possible to reduce the heating and energy  demand between 70 and 90% for a deep retrofit.   I'll leave links down below to videos  and resources are found along the way   so be sure to check those out  if that's of interest to you.   So my thoughts started to turn to how can  I make our home more energy efficient,   if we did go down the electric route for  heating. By making the home more energy   efficient we could cut down on the amount we use.  As I record this there's no government initiative   looking towards making our current housing  stock more energy efficient within England.   If we are to reach the government's  2050 target of reducing the UK's net   emissions of greenhouse gases by 100%  relative to the 1990 levels which would   mean a net zero emitter there needs to  be a strong lead from the government.  

Making a house more energy efficient must  start by looking at the fabric of the building.   If we can reduce the amount of energy  you need to keep the building warm   not only will it be cheaper for the owner in terms  of their utility bills but it also cuts emissions. Having carried out some research into the  EnerPHit Standard the only sort of sensible   option seems to be to go for a deep retrofit,  as anything else it's a halfway house at best.  

Excuse the pun! So a deep retrofit is a  massive cost and will only be achieved by   most householders with some kind of government  support, us included. Looking online at recent   Energy Performance Certificates, or EPCs for  houses in our road I've found the following.   There are 14 EPCs for houses in our road  ranging from a D to a C energy rating.  

There are 7 at D and 7 at C. There's 28 houses  in our cul-de-sac so it's a good measure   to work with as they were all built at the same  time. But what does it actually mean? An EPC gives   a measure across the range of criteria as you  can see here. The EPC also gives you a potential   rating for the property if you were to carry  out some improvements to its energy performance.   Looking at the outcome of the rating for the other  properties I know our house will definitely be a   C and could even be at the low end of a B  rating. How can I be sure? The houses are  

all built at the same specifications. The C rated  houses have recommended improvements listed as;   adding solar PC, adding LED lighting throughout,  adding solar water heating. All of which I have.   If the other property owners applied these  recommendations it would move them to the top of   a C rating or just into a B band. Our house will  never be an A rated without a deep retrofit. My   thoughts at this stage are to improve the house  with items that will meet the EnerPHit standard   so they're in place if and when there is  government support to do the whole house.   First step is to complete a deep  installation of the loft space.   I've done sort of 80% of it to a depth 350mm  but need to do the rest. I need to replace our  

drafty old front door which has thin wooden panels  either side of it which are not well insulated.   Just have a look at these infrared photos and  temperatures I took. There's a massive variance   across these panels around 15% of your heat  escapes through a poorly insulated front door.   We also have one or two windows where the 20 year  old double glazing is leaking and you can feel the   drafts. We have a chimney in the front room where  the gas fire is which we don't use so this can be  

blocked up. My plan is to go around the house  chasing down drafts with the infrared camera   and dealing with them as I find them. This will  produce a list of items that need to be replaced   or improved and then look for products that meet  the EnerPhit standard. For the front door we have   chosen a thermally insulated front door with  a u-value of 0.72W/m2K. Oh that's a mouthful.   From a company called RK doors based in Truro.  This door is rated to passive house standards.  

The replacement windows will end up probably being  triple glazed rather than double glazed as they   are now. Also the type of glass is as important  as the frames. There's a balance to be had between   solar gain and thermal efficiency from the glass.  So depending on the orientation of the windows;   sound for north facing. Letting heat through  solar gain into the room may be more important   with south facing windows, whereas with  north facing windows thermal efficiency   will probably be more important. Therefore  two different types of glass will be required. Those things will reduce our heat loss  significantly and improve the house's   thermal efficiency. So this is where I am at  the time of recording this video. Still work   in progress as they say. What are your thoughts?  So coming back full circle are still not settled  

on a heating source. I've looked at the Viessmann  Vitodans 100-w conventional gas boiler which is   probably the brand and model I would go for if I  went down the boiler route. It's 98% efficient.   Air Source Heat Pumps sound like a great idea but  I'm worried about them because we have that 10mm   microbore pipework that could cause issues  with flow rates. Then there's a large upfront  

cost to install, and then what happens after the  seven-year Renewable Heat Incentive scheme ends. We don't have massive amounts of excess  solar production in the winter months   which was when we would certainly be  using the heat pump more. The RHI,   the Renewable Heat Incentive, was due to end for  new applications on the 31st of March 2021. This  

actually has been extended to the end of March  2022 so some good news there. I've just started   reading an ebook titled Heat Pumps for the Home  by John Cantor. So I can learn more about them.   My concerns as I mentioned are microbore and flow  rates let's put those aside. How they perform in   lower outside temperatures, how much electricity  they use, will it be sufficient to heat the home   or will supplementary heating be required in  really cold weather. There are plus sides to   heat pumps they're very effective if designed  to meet the building and householders needs.  

They're measured against a coefficient of  performance or COP. So for example a COP of   3 means you get 3kW of useful heat delivered to  your house for 1kW of electricity. On paper that   makes them as cost effective to run as gas, being  that gas is a third of the price of electricity.   For me the jury is still out on heat pumps. More  research needed before investing around £10,000   on an installation. I've also  looked at new electric technologies   hot water storage systems. Like the one from  Mixergy looks like a great option and can work  

with any heat source. I've also investigated  advanced thermal energy stored storage batteries   from a company called Sunamp limited which use  phase change material to heat hot water on demand.   The more you investigate the more  confusing the array of choice.  

However, what is clear is the large variance  between the price of gas and electricity   and that seems to be the sticking point  at present. Any thoughts or ideas then   please drop them down below in the comments  below. Thanks for watching and I'll see you   on the next video when will hopefully be a  bit further forward take care cheers, bye.

2021-03-31 16:09

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