If you are a property owner or planning to buy your first house, you'll likely be thinking about ways you can improve your home. Fashion trends change, things start to look dated, or they get worn down or broken and need replacing.
Sometimes this happens all at once and you face a decision about which improvements to make first. For most people, budget limitations mean we have to prioritise which jobs go to the top of the to-do list.
We tend to focus firstly on the home improvements which are most eye-catching: painting and decorating, changing the kitchen cupboards or fitting new carpets. When it comes to committing to bigger and more expensive improvements we like to know that it's a worthwhile investment, as well as whether they will bring immediate benefits to our homes and families..
Installing a new boiler isn't always at the top of people's list of priorities, but, as this article will reveal, it can be one of the property renovations that will give you the biggest return on your investment.
Can a new boiler add value to your home?
The simple answer is yes. A study in 2018 by GoCompare and property expert Henry Pryor revealed the property investments that provide the best and worst returns. One of the best home improvements you can do is install a new boiler, adding an estimated 4% increase to the value of your home.
The investment calculator estimates the average cost of installing a new boiler at £1,750. The average cost of a home in the UK recently reached an all-time high of £242,000. At a 4% increase, this would add £9,680 to the value, providing a profit of £7,930 on the initial investment.
We'll take a look at how installing a new boiler will add value, but first, let's tackle the issue of whether to keep on fixing an old boiler or get a new one.
Replace or repair?
If you've recently bought a property, are in the process of renovating your house, or even if it's just been a few years since you spruced the place up, then you'll likely be faced with a list of home improvements you'd like to make. Deciding what to focus on first can be tricky.
Replacing an old boiler isn't necessarily the most aesthetically pleasing job to undertake, but as we've already discovered, it can add a lot of value. When deciding on whether to replace a boiler, you should ask yourself the following questions:
Is it efficient? - If you've had your boiler for 10 or 15 years then that itself isn't a reason to go out and buy a new one. Some boilers are very well made and with regular servicing will last a long time. However, if your boiler isn't efficient, it might be time to consider getting a new one. If your energy costs are soaring, then it can be a sign that your boiler is struggling. New boilers have efficiencies of 90%+ which could save you plenty of money compared to keeping your existing one.
Is it still under warranty? - If your boiler is running without any problems and still has a few years of warranty left you likely don't need to worry (unless you are upgrading to a more efficient model). If your warranty has ended and your boiler is getting on in years, then it brings up the question...
Is it breaking down or costing a lot to repair? - If you have to call out an engineer every few months to fix your boiler, then it will cost you money and time and inconvenience. Also, the older a boiler gets the harder it becomes to source replacement parts or find companies prepared to provide insurance. A new boiler will be more efficient and usually comes with a long warranty, so you won't have to worry about losing hot water or your heating not working when you need it most.
How does a new boiler add value?
There are lots of ways a new boiler can add value and save you money at the same time. Let's dive right in and take a look.
Better energy efficiency
The energy efficiency of a boiler is the percentage of the total energy the boiler uses to provide heating. It's inevitable that some of this energy will be lost in the process, but there is a big difference in efficiency ratings of new boilers compared to older models.
Modern boilers are condensing boilers, which mean they recover more heat and send cooler gases up the flue. A-rated boilers are more than 90% efficient, while older G-rated boilers can be as little as 60%, meaning there's a pretty wide difference between these models.
Save on energy bills
As boilers get older, they become less efficient. As we've already discovered, the energy efficiency between an old boiler and a new one can be as much as 30-40%. This means that the energy you are paying for is being lost rather than being used to heat hot water or provide central heating in your home.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, heating and hot water account for over half of what you will spend in a year on energy bills. If you have a low efficiency boiler, then you effectively let the money float away for nothing.
To see how much you could save, it's worth calculating the efficiency performance of your current boiler vs a potential new model.
What each household spends on hot water and heating will be different, as well as the fuel supply they use, but we'll look at an average figure. Figures by Ofgem show that the average gas usage for a UK household is 12,000kWh.
The average cost for roughly an hours worth of gas is around 3.5p. At that usage for the year it would give you a total cost of £420. If the difference in efficiency between your old boiler and new boiler is 35%, this will provide you with a potential yearly saving of £147. Obviously, not everyone looking to replace an old boiler will have an efficiency as low as 65%, but even at 80% you could save £42 a year. The longer you are in your home, the more money you save every year, which slowly reduces the cost of the initial outlay.
If you come to sell your home, the type of boiler, efficiency and what you spend on energy bills will be of interest to a prospective buyer. Having a newer boiler with lower energy bills is a much more attractive proposition than immediately having to fork out for a replacement.
Many consumers are increasingly conscious of how they can lead a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Having a more energy efficient boiler is one way to achieve this: eliminating as much unnecessary wasted energy as possible. A more energy efficient boiler means it takes less time to warm up your home and reduces the amount of time the boiler needs to run.
You could also go one step further and install a biomass boiler. Biomass is biological material from plants and organisms and is a renewable energy source. We typically associate biomass with wood, but you can also use pellets. The advantage of a biomass boiler is that it is considered carbon-neutral as plants and trees absorb the carbon dioxide released from burning the material. Biomass boilers can be much more expensive than other boilers, ranging between £5,000 and £20,000, but your energy costs will drastically reduce if you have access to your own fuel supply (wood).
Longer boiler warranty period
Most modern boilers come with an extended warranty of between 5-12 years, providing you with peace of mind that your boiler is covered if it happens to suffer a fault or a breakdown. Warranty cover will differ between each manufacturer, but in general, it should cover all or certain parts of the boiler. If the boiler or the parts suffer a fault, the manufacturer will repair it free of charge.
To have a valid claim for your warranty, you will need to register with the manufacturer after your purchase and usually have your boiler serviced once a year by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
If you are buying a boiler then a warranty will give you peace of mind if anything goes wrong, but it will also add to the value of your house if you sell. Typically, the warranty will be registered against the property so it can be transferred to the new owner of the house. For a potential new owner, this is one less thing they have to worry about fixing or replacing.
Compatible with modern technology
It's a fact: most people like things to be easier and simpler. The same applies to boilers and central heating. Why spend hours trying to programme an old thermostat when you can log in to your phone and make all the changes you need with a few swipes and clicks. If you have smart technology, your house becomes much more attractive to buyers and increases the value as it's something they don't have to put a lot of thought into.
Whilst a boiler itself isn't 'smart,' it becomes so when paired with a smart thermostat. The thermostat connects to your boiler and allows you to control your heating from a smartphone or tablet, whether you are in your house or in a completely different country. This flexibility means you can switch your heating on when you are close to arriving home or schedule to keep it warm if you are away during winter.
If you are selling your house, all you need to do is remove your details from the app and let the new owners set up their own settings.
You can also go one step further than a smart thermostat and add thermostatic radiator valves (TRV's) to each radiator in the house. TRV's work by controlling the flow of water through the radiator. To cool a room down, they restrict the amount of water able to pass through the valve and to provide additional heat they let more water pass through. Combined with a smart thermostat, you can use TRV's to set different temperatures in each room of the house - ideal if you have family members who each have a different idea of what the perfect temperature should be!
Smart thermostats and thermostatic radiator valves can also help to cut your heating costs. Once the temperature reaches it's setting, then the boiler turns itself off, meaning that you aren't using more energy than you need (thus saving money). Some smart thermostats can also detect when you enter or leave the house, so the heating is only ever on when it needs to be.
Save on engineer call-outs
It's very rare that someone buys a house and doesn't immediately want to change something. It might be the colour of the walls, the doors, or renovating the kitchen.
Unless a property is completely rundown, it's unlikely that a buyer to want to change the boiler straight away. That would be an unexpected expense and one that they might not have budgeted for. The value to them is having a boiler that works and one that they don't need to think about changing for a good few years. That means no unexpected breakdowns and the need to call out an engineer.
As we've already covered, new boilers are much more efficient, the parts are more modern, and they have extended warranties that can last over 10 years. The likelihood of a new owner having to fix the boiler is much lower, and if they do, there is a good chance of a warranty being in place which will cover them in the event of an unexpected fault.
Create more space in your home
Another way a new boiler can add value to your house is in the extra space it can generate for you. This won't apply to all boilers - a combi boiler replacement would usually go in the same position as the old boiler - but in some situations it can give you a lot more square footage.
If you have a system boiler or regular boiler, then you will also need a hot water cylinder and cylinder/cold water storage tank respectively. The cold water storage tank has to be positioned in the loft, and the water cylinder is usually placed on the floor below, directly underneath the tank. System and regular both have their advantages, but space-saving is not one of them. If you switch to a combi boiler, you could suddenly find yourself with a lot more room in your property.
You could remove a storage cupboard in a bedroom housing the cylinder to make the bedroom bigger. Removing the water tank gives you the option of adding a loft conversion, giving you a whole extra room in your property.
Using the calculator from GoCompare, and the average UK house price (£242,000), they estimate a loft conversion will add 10% to the value of your home. At an estimated cost of £15,000, it would give you an increase of £24,200 to the value and a profit of £9,200. Even if a conversion isn't something you plan on doing, it becomes an attractive possibility for a potential new owner.
There are further improvements you could also look to make if you fitted a new boiler. Installing central heating could add up to 4% of the value of your house, and installing double glazing, providing more efficiency to prevent heat loss, would also give an expected increase of 4%
If you find yourself in the situation of needing to replace your boiler, then this information shows that it's definitely worth the investment in installing a new boiler. As well as the extra efficiency and money it will save on energy bills and potential engineer call-outs, it will also give a nice increase on the value of your home if you come to sell.