The cost of utilities is one of the bigger chunks of money that comes out of our bank accounts each month. Within the cost of the gas and electricity, the cost of heating the home is often around 60% of this amount. This is why it is important to understand how energy efficient your boiler is and if a change is needed.
How boiler efficiency is measured
As a customer, you don’t need to know all of the technical side of how boiler efficiency is calculated but it is worth understanding the basics because it has an impact on your pocket. To calculate boiler efficiency: we divide the total energy output of a boiler by total energy input given to the boiler, multiplied by hundred. (Energy output)/(Energy input) X 100.
There are a few different systems in use that then transform this measurement into a rating that customers can easily understand. One example is ErP – every boiler will carry one of these labels which rates them as energy efficient from A to G. The ErP directive means that all new boilers being installed need to have an energy rating of A and be 90% energy efficient, although there are A+, A++ and A+++ ratings above this.
Another measure used to look at boiler efficiency is called SEDBUK which stands for Seasonal Efficiency of a Domestic Boiler in the UK. This gives each boiler a percentage score with an A rating being 90% or above. A boiler than is a B rating is still 86-90% efficient so there’s not always a massive saving here. However, a G rated boiler is below 70% and therefore an upgrade could make a big difference.
SEDBUK also has two ratings rather than one. These help you get a complete picture of the boiler efficiency at different times of the year:
- SAP Winter efficiency – this measures the efficiency of the boiler for both heating and hot water which is what it would be used for in winter
- SAP hot water efficiency – this measures just the hot water efficiency which is what would be used mostly in the summer
What are the most efficient boilers?
Generally, the most efficient types of boilers on the market are condensing boilers because they use modern heat exchangers that recover energy from condensing vapour – that’s where their name comes from. This is different from older boilers where that vapour and its potential heat was lost.
There are also three main categories of boiler in use in homes around the UK:
- Combination or combi boilers – these offer hot water on demand and are very cost-effective to run but don’t have a hot water storage cylinder so aren’t ideal for larger properties or bigger families
- Conventional boiler – this is the most common type of boiler in use and has a water tank so allows you to have more hot water at the same time
- System boilers – these are between the two, offering hot water and an efficient heating option
Why is boiler efficiency so important?
While all of this is very interesting, most customers want to know the core question – why is boiler efficiency important to them? The answer is simple – an efficient boiler uses less energy than one that isn’t, and this saves you money.
For example, if you have a semi-detached property with a grade G rated boiler and you upgrade to a new A rated boiler, you could save over £200 a year according to British Gas. A mid-terrace house could also make a saving of around £175 a year by doing the same upgrade. Even a mid-floor flat could save almost £100 by upgrading to an A rated boiler.
Any boiler that is 15 years or more in age is considered an old boiler and with some of these, the savings can be anywhere from 55% to 89% of your annual fuel costs. That’s because over time, these boilers become less efficient but also cost more money to repair and you may even find that you can no longer get the parts for it.
Other benefits of an efficient boiler
While the financial benefits of an energy efficient boiler are definitely the primary reason most customers choose to make a change, there are additional benefits to consider, primarily for the environment.
Because you are using less gas and electricity, you are lowering your utility bills. But you are also lowering your carbon footprint – the phrase used to describe our use of resources and impact on the environment. The less energy we use to heat our homes, the less our carbon footprint is, and it is one of the easiest ways to reduce our personal impact on the planet.
Paired with good insulation, an efficient boiler will also allow you to heat your home to a comfortable level at a lower setting. This saves money and fuel but also means the boiler is releasing fewer greenhouse gases into the environment as it isn’t operating as much.
Keeping your boiler efficient
There are also a couple of steps to take once you have your new A rated energy efficient boiler in place to help it run in optimal condition and save the most money.
Top of the list is to have regular servicing on the boiler. Most manufacturers recommend every year, and this can help the boiler run well and reduce the chance of a breakdown. An engineer can also make sure the system is operating at best efficiency or advise of any changes to make.
Modern equipment such as heating controls and thermostats, radiator valves and smart systems can all help control the heating system and ensure the best efficiency. Being able to keep different rooms at different temperatures ensures a comfortable overall temperature but avoids wasted heat in little-used rooms. Smartphone accessed systems also allow you to remotely change settings if you are late home from work.
Combining a new efficient boiler with the best control systems means you can get the best possible savings while keeping your house warm and comfortable. Call DHS today on 0117 924 7200, email us or request a call back.