Back oiler removal. These three words are most likely to strike fear in the heart of every homeowner- even more so if it is a back boiler that needs removing and replacing.
These heating systems are considered the antiques of the central heating system world and thought to be rather dangerous!
As the owner of an older home with a unique back boiler heating system, this is not something you wanted to hear, we are sure.
However, the fact is these boilers are terribly inadequate, cost more to maintain, aren’t energy-efficient and sadly, now fall short of government regulations.
Back Boiler Removal Guide
What Does The Government Say?
According to the building regulations updated in 2005, all new builds must have condensing and energy-efficient boilers installed.
Unfortunately, there is much confusion around whether back boilers are illegal, they aren’t (well, not all of them anyway), but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be!
- Back boilers updated to new back boilers are legal.
- Old back boilers heated by gas fire are legal.
- Old back boilers (not upgraded & not gas-fired) are illegal.
Are Back Boilers Dangerous?
The short answer is yes, they are! Firstly, they are positioned behind a fireplace or stove, which should be reason enough.
However, although many homes in the UK still have old back boilers in situ, very few are used. Cue the audible sigh of relief – until you hear this.
Even if the boiler is empty and unused, it has the potential to explode!
How? Residual moisture within the boiler may heat up if there is a fire in the fireplace, causing a build-up of internal pressure and boom!
The rest is self-explanatory. However, aside from the obvious danger they pose, other factors may be causing you to think about removing your back boiler.
What Is A Back Boiler?
This may seem a little redundant, especially if you own one and need to remove it from your home. But understanding what a back boiler is and how it works will clarify what goes into its removal and replacement.
A back boiler is situated behind the fireplace or stove, fitted to the floor or chimney and connected to a cold water storage tank. The cold water is heated by the fire and then pumped around the system using an electric pump.
How To Remove A Back Boiler
If you don’t know anything about boilers, or even if you do, a back boiler should be removed by a registered boiler installer or engineer.
This will ensure the back boiler is safely disconnected, and you can avoid any nasty mishaps.
Typically engineers will remove the water from the boiler and disconnect the pipes to the tanks. However, this just leaves you with a non-functioning boiler, brrr!
So now is the time to decide what type of boiler you will be replacing it with, but first things first, how much will it cost?
Costs And Funding
If you currently use your back boiler and have it removed, you will need to install a new one at the same time. Depending on the new system you choose, the removal cost could be as high as £3,000, plus.
This may seem very pricey, but upgrading your heating system will exponentially improve your home’s energy efficiency and reduce costs in the long term.
Obviously, not many people have a spare £3,000 lying around to be used on a new boiler. However, there are ways to pay for a new boiler without outlaying an initial lump sum payment.
- Government Grants
This funding is for homeowners who are struggling financially. They are specifically designed to help people pay for necessary repairs or upgrades, such as removing an outdated back boiler, but who don’t have the means to pay for it.
However, they are not always available, and homeowners in this situation are advised to check online to access the most current and up to date grants and financial assistance.
Alternatively, you could apply for a personal loan or boiler finance and spread the cost over a few years.
Depending on the boiler provider or lender you select, you may be able to obtain 0% interest boiler finance for between 12-24 months.
Disadvantages Of Running A Back Boiler
The price of removing a back boiler may cause you to think it’s best to leave things as they are. After all, it’s working. Not so, there are some very significant drawbacks of running a back boiler in the home.
Although popular during the 60s and well into the 80s, the back boiler has become virtually obsolete.
While it was considered a compact, affordable boiler for families way back when it falls short of three distinct markers in today’s world. These include:
- Poor energy efficiency
Back boilers are only 78% energy efficient compared to modern combi boilers with 98% efficiency.
UK government regulations state that boiler systems must have a minimum of 86% energy efficiency. This shows how far short the back boiler falls!
- Not cost-effective
The lower the energy efficiency of your boiler, the more it will cost to heat your home; this is because it takes a lot more energy to keep your home cosy.
Therefore the low energy efficiency of the back boiler will sting you in the proverbial pocket.
- Not environmentally friendly
For most homeowners reducing their carbon footprint and doing their bit towards eliminating global warming is important.
However, a 78% energy efficient back boiler will not reduce your home’s environmental impact!
Other Messy Factors To Consider
Aside from safety, cost, and efficiency when replacing an old back boiler, a certain amount of mess and inconvenience is bound to be involved.
In truth, it’s not for the faint-hearted! Below are some additional factors to be aware of when upgrading your old back boiler system.
- Carpets and Flooring
Removal of an old back boiler involves a certain amount of brick and plaster removal. This means dust and brick pieces can easily damage your floor and carpets. Use a dust cover to protect carpets and highly polished wooden flooring.
You are removing a water holding unit – the boiler; therefore, there will be a few buckets of dirty water. Keep a couple of buckets handy to catch any residual water after emptying the boiler.
One Last Back Hand On The Back Boiler Matter
It’s going to be a messy process if you are removing the actual boiler – which is the safer option.
Furthermore, if you decide to get rid of the original fireplace, this could further increase costs.
However, many homeowners tend to keep the fireplace and run it with gas or electricity to avoid running up building costs.
But all the mess and inconvenience will undoubtedly be worth it when your home is cosy and those pesky energy bills are reduced!