1. Get your boiler serviced
A serviced boiler is a more efficient boiler. It will ensure that everything is working at its peak, any minor problems are picked up before they become big expensive issues, and all insurance paperwork is kept valid.
We recommend that you keep up to date with your boiler health by getting it serviced once a year. Ensure that whoever carries out your boiler service is a fully qualified Gas Safe boiler engineer.
2. Invest in a cylinder jacket
You wouldn’t go out in the winter without a coat, so why should your hot water cylinder?
If you’ve got a traditional conventional boiler with a hot water tank, it’s most definitely worth considering how it’s insulated. Most modern tanks come with sufficient insulation installed already as standard, but some older models don’t.
Adding a simple cylinder jacket can save you around £150 a year or more. You can pick these up for about £25, meaning that payback is remarkably quick.
|Current Insulation||Top up Savings / year||Payback (Assuming cost of £25)|
|25mm Loose Jacket||£25||1 year|
|38mm Loose Jacket||£18||18 months|
|50mm Loose Jacket||£10||2.5 years|
|25mm Spray Foam||£15||2 years|
|38mm Spray Foam||£8||3 years|
Using high powered water pressure and a chemical blend, powerflushing removes accumulated sludge and debris from your heating system. This clears the pipework and allows the hot water to flow more evenly and efficiently through the system.
Unlike a boiler service, this is not something you need to do annually, since the rust and gunk takes a little while to build up to problematic levels. Once every 5 or so years is generally fine to keep your central heating in good working condition.
It is possible to do a powerflush yourself using a specialised machine, but for most people it will make more financial sense to get a qualified gas engineer to do it. Depending on the size of the system, this can cost between £280 to £650.
4. Lag those pipes
Now that the boiler itself is sorted, it’s time to look at the adjoining pipes. Pipe lagging is just another way of describing pipe insulation.
Frozen pipes can cause chaos in the winter months. Cold radiators, no hot water, and concerning noises from the boiler are the least of it – if the weather gets below freezing and you’re not prepared, you may well find yourself with a burst water pipe and all of the agony that it brings.
Even when it’s not freezing, there is still the huge problem of heat escaping through the uninsulated pipework, making your boiler have to work harder and eat up more energy. Energy that you have to pay for.
Pipe lagging is almost always a cheap and easy job that can be done over a free afternoon. Although most plumbers will do it for a reasonable fee, the job is essentially just a matter of wrapping purpose made foam tubes around the pipes and securing them, usually with cable ties.
5. Upgrade your boiler
If your heating system is on its last legs but you’ve been putting off getting a new boiler, this might be the time to do it. Winter is coming, heating bills are rising, and you don’t want to be lumped with the bills when it does.
Boilers have come a long way in the last 10 – 20 years. Although your old central heating might still be working, a brand new, energy efficient boiler could save you anywhere up to £300 a year compared to your older system.
A brand new boiler costs anywhere from £500 to £2,500, but can pay for itself in money saved within just a few years.