The transition into autumn can be marked not only by the falling leaves, but by the momentous day we decide to turn on the central heating.
It's a concession that summer's truly over, and no amount of piling on the layers can beat the comfort of warmth in every room where there's a radiator.
As that time is approaching as quickly as Christmas, now is the moment for pre-winter checks to make sure that everything is working as efficiently as possible, ready for cooler times ahead.
You want to avoid the rude awakening of a chilly room in the morning and have the reassurance of a cosy space to come home to at night. And you want to rely on there being enough hot water for the whole family to use as you get ready to face the frosty day.
Get your boiler checked
The first place to begin is with the boiler. It should be seen every year by a Gas Safe registered engineer, this is to prevent issues arising but also to ensure its longevity.
Engineers can carry out two types of checks. The first is a safety inspection where they will check the connection to the gas supply and test that the boiler is functioning properly and safely. A faulty or incorrectly fitted boiler can lead to deadly carbon monoxide poisoning, or in the case of a gas leak, it could potentially cause a fire.
The second is servicing the boiler, and it makes financial sense to get this and the safety inspection done at the same time. Regular servicing will help to maintain the boiler's performance levels, which can drop over the years, finding and replacing any worn parts. Your boiler operates more efficiently which reduces its fuel consumption and saves you money on bills – it’s also better for the environment!
Time for a replacement?
Though regular servicing can prolong the life of your boiler, after a decade or more it can start to show its age and become unreliable. Too-frequent calls to the repairman may mean it’s uneconomical to hang on to it and a replacement is in order. It is better to plan ahead and invest in a new one during the warmer months – when you are using it least – before the old one finally breaks down at the most inconvenient time for you and your family.
A combination boiler, known as a combi, is an efficient water heater and a central heating boiler in a single unit. Switching to one of these means you can do away with the separate hot water cylinder that used to be a feature in old houses, cocooned in its lagging jacket in the airing cupboard. Without the need for a cylinder, a new combi can free up space where the water heater used to be, and help you realise your dreams of an expanded bathroom with shower in place of the old cupboard. The combi can also help you streamline the space where the old boiler was, if it replaces a much bulkier older model, and can be hidden away in a kitchen unit to match the rest of the room.
It would cost around £1,700 for a new E-Tec Plus boiler from Alpha Heating Innovation, including installation, depending on the model, output (which can be from 28kW and 33kW to 38kW) and geography. They come with a 10-year warranty, which can be increased to 13 if it is fitted in an advanced wall-mounting jig with built-in magnetic filter that helps to protect it from being damaged by debris in the heating.
Stay gas safe!
Gas Safety Week takes place from September 13-19 to promote gas safety within the home. Here are the warning signs that a boiler isn’t working properly:
- Lazy yellow flames on gas appliances rather than a crisp blue one.
- Pilot lights that frequently blow out
- Excessive condensation on windows
- Unusual dark marks or staining around or on gas appliances
- Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning (including headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, tiredness and confusion, stomach pain, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing
Always fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm, available from most DIY stores. If you smell gas or suspect a problem with any gas-fired appliance, call the National Gas Emergency helpline free on 0800 111 999.
Alpha Heating Innovation
Alpha Heating Innovation has been providing energy efficient domestic boilers for more than 50 years. It is part of the Immergas Group, one of Europe’s leading heating appliance manufacturers.
Alpha offers market leading warranties on its range of boilers. Their E-Tec combi,
system and regular boilers are supplied with a seven-year warranty as standard,
while the E-Tec Plus comes with a 10-year warranty.
Alpha’s high-quality products and expert, friendly service has earned it a rating of ‘Excellent’ on Trustpilot.
Follow them on Instagram on @alphaheatinginnovation