When to replace your boiler: 6 signs you shouldn’t ignore

Your boiler is ticking along in the background without giving you much cause for concern when, out of the blue, you notice a funny smell or a worrying noise. Does this mark the end of your boiler? Is it time to replace your old one with a new one? 

Read on to learn when to replace your boiler and the dangerous signs you shouldn’t ignore. 

How often should a boiler be replaced? 

Your boiler’s life expectancy is partly determined by its make and model. A well-looked-after gas boiler should last between 10 and 15 years (assuming your boiler is serviced annually).

If your boiler is approaching 15 years old, it’s time to consider a new boiler installation. You may need to upgrade before this date if you’ve extended your property or your family has grown and your old boiler can’t keep up with demand. 

The other obvious reason to replace your boiler is if it’s underperforming. It may be more cost-efficient to replace your boiler than pay for frequent repairs. Moreover, new boilers are more efficient, so you’ll save money on your gas bills over the long term.

That’s good news for the environment as we approach a net zero future.  

Signs that it’s time to replace your old boiler

It can be hard to pinpoint when to replace your boiler, but there are some signs that your boiler is on its last legs (and a few signs you definitely shouldn’t ignore). 

1. An odd smell coming from your boiler 

If you smell something odd coming from your boiler, don’t ignore it. A sulphurous or “eggy” smell indicates that your boiler is leaking carbon monoxide. A CO₂ leak can stop your boiler from burning correctly, causing the “eggy” smell.

Breathing in carbon monoxide can lead to headaches, dizziness, nausea, and confusion. Ultimately, it can be fatal, so it’s vital you act promptly. 

What to do if you smell a sulphurous, eggy odour when you use your boiler: 

  • Turn off your gas 
  • Call the Emergency Gas Line: 0800 111999

Any smell coming from your boiler requires the attention of a Gas Safe engineer. If your boiler is leaking gas, it will almost certainly need replacing. 

2. Your radiators take longer to heat up 

Your radiators taking longer to heat up could be a sign of a relatively easy problem to fix. It could be that your radiators need bleeding, or there’s a build-up of sludge in the system, and it needs a power flush.  

If the problem persists, then it’s time to call the experts to diagnose the root cause.  

3. Frequently adjusting your boiler pressure 

It’s relatively easy to tell if your boiler pressure is too low or too high by checking the gauge (or digital display) on the front of your boiler. When your heating is on, the pressure should be between 1.5 and 2 bars (it will drop when you switch it off). 

You can adjust your boiler pressure yourself by topping it up or letting air out of the system. But if you have to do this frequently, it could be a sign of a bigger problem that needs the attention of a gas engineer. 

Get to grips with the difference between high and low boiler pressure in this guide

4. New noises (banging and gurgling) 

No doubt, you’re already familiar with the noises your central heating system makes, so much so that you probably don’t notice them anymore. However, new and unexpected noises can be a cause for concern. 

A tapping sound in your pipes, for example, could be a sign of sludge in your system, and a power flush is all that’s needed to rectify it. However, gurgling, banging, and vibrating could be a sign of a bigger problem.

Turn off your system and call your local Gas Safe heating engineer for help identifying the underlying problem. 

5.  Leaking from your boiler 

Your boiler leaking water is a sign that there’s a problem with an internal component. It might be something simple like a corroded seal or a faulty valve, but leaving it can cause permanent damage.

If the water causes an electrical fault and your system shortcircuits, you’ll be left with a hefty repair bill. Worse still, a leak could cause structural damage to your home. Get it checked out before it’s too late! 

6. Your bills are going up without explanation 

If you’ve spent months telling your family to put a jumper on before switching on the heating, but your energy bills are still going up, then it’s time to ask yourself why.

G-rated boilers run at 70% efficiency, which means you’re paying for gas that’s been wasted because it can’t be turned into usable energy. Switching to an A-rated boiler with improved efficiency can save you hundreds of pounds on your gas bill. 

Less wasted gas is good for your pocket and for the environment.  

When to replace a boiler – the bottom line

The cost of regularly repairing your boiler can soon exceed the cost of a new boiler. As your boiler ages, parts become harder to find and more expensive. Before you know it, a minor fix has become a costly headache (not to mention the cost of running an old boiler!). 

If you have to call out a gas engineer to repair your boiler more than once a year (in addition to your annual service), it’s time to replace your old gas boiler. 

Find your next boiler with our guide to the Greenstar range of Worcester Bosch boilers. 

Post author

Daniel Arter

Date of post

April 12, 2024


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