Energy Efficient Eco Gas Boilers
We’ve come a long way in the way we heat our homes and access valuable hot water in the last 50 years, no more so than in recent times when energy usage is a pretty hot topic of conversation. Not only do we need ways to keep those dreaded fuel bills down but we also want to be more eco-friendly. That means producing technology that cuts down emissions and decreases our use of fossil fuels.
The latest range of eco gas boilers are designed to produce more heat for less gas and combined with better insulation and better monitoring technology they allow us to make smarter choices when it comes to heating.
History of Gas Boilers
We don’t give our central heating or hot water much thought nowadays but right up until the start of the 20th Century it was a perpetual problem. Yes, we could build fires and heat up boilers or the surrounding air but the method of providing sustainable heating throughout every property continued to elude most households for a long while. Those that had access to all round heat, even from the times of the Romans, were generally the people who had the most money.
Early versions of steam and hot water heating systems used coils placed onto walls at strategic points. It wasn’t until the 1920s however that this kind of heating became democratized and more and more of us began to see it in our homes. You would have to wait until the late 60s and 70s when gas fired central heating started to become a staple of all homes. Coal fire hearths began to disappear and many of us became used to our reliance on gas as a way of heating the house. Thermostats meant that we could regulate the time boilers came on and the temperature of each room.
In recent times, the focus has been on making eco gas boilers that use less resources and have much less of an impact on the environment. Changing from a boiler that is ten to fifteen years old to a more environmentally friendly one can save as much as 40-50% on fuel costs depending on the systems.
How Eco Gas Boilers Work
Even with updates to make them more eco-friendly, gas boilers are fairly simple devices. Gas is supplied to a central box and is then ignited onto a heat exchanger that heats water in a pipe. This pipe leads out to a tank or straight to the home and spreads through a network of pipes to various radiators.
The boiler is also be used to heat hot water for your taps. Eco gas boilers are different from old style models in that they are designed to make the most of the heat energy produced so that waste is kept down to a minimum. One area where old gas boilers used to lose a lot energy is through the flue which handles waste gases. In something like a condensing boiler, this heat is recycled and used to reduce the amount of work the main boiler has to do, cutting the cost of heating.
The Benefits of Eco Gas Boilers
Updating your old boiler to an eco-friendly one can make an initial dent in your bank balance but there are substantial long term benefits in doing so.
- Heating your home could take up as much as 60% of your energy bills, particularly in the winter months. The majority of new eco gas boilers have an energy rating of around 90% which means that you can make significant savings on your long term bills by switching.
- If you also swap to thermostatic radiator valves you can have greater control of the temperature in each room. With greater control you can then help keep the costs down further.
- The new breed of eco gas boiler are not only smaller, they’re quieter which means you don’t have the problem of excessive noise for the spare bedroom where the device is installed.
Types of Gas Boiler
Depending on what the requirements are for your home, there are three different types of boiler:
- Combi Boilers are the most popular choice and provide both heating and hot water without the need for a bulky tank to store the water. They are ideal because they don’t take up much space and provide hot water as and when you need it. The only major problem is that they are not suitable for homes where a large number of people might want hot water at the same time as pressure in the pipes is reduced.
- System Boilers have a water cylinder added and has all the benefits of the Combi Boiler. If you have a larger number of people in the household they are the more sensible choice. The main problem is that because water is stored in the cylinder it can run out and usually takes time to heat up again.
- A Conventional Boiler has both a cylinder to store water and a tank above (usually in the loft). These have similar setbacks to System Boilers in that the water can run out and then has to reheat.
All three types of boiler can also be condensing boilers which are highly energy efficient in that they capture waste heat and push it back into the system. This means the main boiler has to do less work and can save on energy bills. All new boilers have this innovation and have done since 2005.
Domestic Eco Gas Boilers
There are a now a wide range of gas boilers that are highly energy efficient and it pays to have a shop around to find the one that suits your needs. A combi boiler is ideal if you are short of space and don’t need access to hot water for a large number of people. Despite the recent changes to Government subsidies on renewables, there are grants available for those on low income who think they might benefit from a new boiler.
Commercial Eco Gas Boilers
Eco gas boilers in the commercial sector are, of course, bigger and more complex but all are designed to provide businesses with a more sustainable way of heating and hot water management. Nowhere is it more important to save money than in the heating of commercial premises and the new range of condensing boilers available on the market provide the opportunity for substantial long term savings.
The Cost of Eco Gas Boilers
The cost of a new domestic boiler varies considerably from about £500 to £2,500 and the model you choose will depend on your household and your needs. That does not include the cost of taking out your old boiler and installing the new one which could add nearly double to the costs – mainly because it has to be installed by a registered and qualified engineer. A combi boiler is generally cheaper than a conventional boiler which requires more room and more work by the engineer.
How much you save in the long term in replacing your old boiler with a new one depends on a number of circumstances including the efficiency and how much you pay for your new boiler. If your old boiler was operating at around 60% that could equate to an average home saving of around £230 per annum which would create a return on investment in about 8 years. If your old boiler was 75% efficient, then the return may come in about 15 years, with annual savings of around £122.
Manufacturers and Suppliers
There are plenty of manufacturers and suppliers of eco boilers in the UK and here are just a few:
- Baxi is one of the oldest companies in the UK and boasts over 100 years of manufacturing. They produce a range of combi, conventional and system boilers that all have an A energy rating.
- Glow Worm is another longstanding UK company that began back in the 1930s and is also now part of the Vaillant Group. In addition, they produce renewable technologies such as heat pumps and solar systems.
- Ideal Boilers produce a range of boilers aimed at the home, commercial and installer market and include a number of boiler case studies on their site.
- Worcester Bosch are one of the most well-known boiler suppliers in the UK and pride themselves on high standards of manufacturing.
You can explore a full list of manufacturers and installers of eco gas boilers on our database.
Is it Time to Change Your Boiler?
Choosing the right time to replace your boiler is important, but it can certainly provide large savings over the long term.
- First of all, take the advice of any engineer if they come to repair or carry out maintenance on your boiler. If they say it’s on its last legs, then the time has probably come to consider replacing.
- If you don’t have great control over your home heating then you may well be able to achieve something better with a replacement.
- Check with your engineer if your system has a dry cycle – it continues heating even when you reach the thermostat temperature – which could cost you money.
- If you have a pilot light that is continuously on, you’re wasting money for nothing – time to change to an eco-friendly boiler.
The Future of Eco Gas Boilers
Maintaining your gas boiler properly may become law in the future. One of the big problems with ensuring your system operates at maximum efficiency is that you have to have an engineer come and check it out regularly. This is already law in many European countries and will no doubt be legislated for in the UK.
The big concern is whether gas is still going to be seen as a fuel for the future or whether it is set to become an energy of the past. Industry logic dictates that gas will be with us for a good time to come, even though it is a fossil fuel, but that we will continue to innovate and make it as eco-friendly as possible. Some 80% of our homes are connected to a gas supply and with the Government focusing on fracking in the UK it will take a long time for any change to a purely renewable way of heating homes.