If you’ve recently bought a new boiler or you’re considering when it’s time to get a replacement, you will most likely be wondering how long a typical boiler lasts. For an average household, boilers will last up to 10-15 years. Though it’s important to understand this timespan is conditional. Your boiler’s life expectancy may be cut short if it doesn’t receive regular maintenance, meaning you need to be proactive in looking after your boiler to prolong its lifespan as much as possible.
Whether you have a combi or conventional model, read on to find out our expert advice on prolonging the life of your boiler.
How long does a combi boiler last?
Modern combi boilers should last up to 15 years with their high efficiency and fewer pressure issues when compared to a conventional boiler. Of course, this all depends on the quality of your chosen model and how well you look after the system.
When choosing a boiler, make sure to carefully consider the model, make and quality of the system. Although you may need to pay a little more for a higher quality boiler, you’ll find the benefits later down the line when avoiding unnecessary, costly repairs.
How to increase boiler life expectancy
There are no two ways about it, at some point you will need to replace your boiler. However, there are several things you can do to increase your boiler life expectancy and keep your central heating system running smoothly for as long as possible.
Get an annual service
We can’t stress enough the importance of an annual service from a Gas Safe Registered (GSR) engineer. A qualified professional will be able to check your boiler is running efficiently and spot early signs of damage to avoid costly repairs.
Even if you believe your boiler is running smoothly, an annual service is a sure way to increase its life expectancy by keeping it that way. For Vaillant installed boilers, an annual service is necessary to maintain your guarantee after the first year.
As with many systems, boilers are not insusceptible to the effects of rust and corrosion over time. This then carries the potential for damage to the boiler. The best way to prevent this would be to request that your GSR engineer adds an inhibitor to your system. This is a protective coating that will form around the metals, preventing limescale build-up and corrosion.
Please be aware, however, that an inhibitor is not a solution to limescale build-up, but a preventative measure. If your system is suffering with corrosion, sludge and limescale, you’ll need your engineer to perform a powerflush (detailed below).
Prevent sludge build-up
Sludge and debris can build up within the pipes of the central heating system over time, causing damage to your boiler. By installing a magnetic filter, a small component which sits within the pipework of the system, sludge will be safely filtered before it reaches the boiler.
A GSR engineer can install and clean a magnetic filter during your annual service, which will ultimately prolong the lifespan of your boiler.
If you have an older boiler, you may already be facing limescale build-up or excessive sludge. This can cause blockages and corrosion to the central heating system, leading to a boiler breakdown. Quite simply, sludge build-up can drastically reduce the lifespan of your boiler.
A GSR engineer can resolve the issue with a power flush which involves pushing a specialist cleaning chemical through the heating system at high-pressure. This can take anywhere from 8 hours to 2 days, but it is necessary if you want to get the longest life possible span out of your boiler.
Can you fix your own boiler?
If your boiler is experiencing issues or has broken down, you might be tempted to try fixing it yourself. However, we highly recommend against this, as attempting to repair a boiler without the proper knowledge and qualifications can be extremely dangerous. Not only are you risking your own safety, but you may also be voiding the warranty of your boiler.
Instead, always call a Gas Safe Registered engineer to assess and repair your boiler. A qualified professional will be able to quickly diagnose the issue and safely carry out the necessary repairs.
Keep an eye on the pressure
Regularly checking your boiler’s pressure is a simple but crucial way to prolong its life. Low pressure can lead to inefficiency and even boiler breakdown, while high pressure can cause leaks and damage to the system. Ideally, your boiler pressure should be between 1 and 1.5 bar when the system is cold.
If you notice the pressure is outside of this range, contact a Gas Safe Registered engineer for advice. They may need to re-pressurise the system, bleed your radiators or address any leaks in the pipework.
Insulate your pipes
In the colder months, the risk of frozen pipes increases, which can lead to burst pipes and boiler breakdowns. To prevent this, ensure that your external and exposed pipes are well insulated. This will not only protect them from freezing but also improve the efficiency of your central heating system, potentially saving you money on your energy bills.
Replace your boiler if necessary
It’s essential to know when it’s time to replace your boiler. Continuing to use an old, inefficient boiler can not only be a safety hazard but also cost you more money in the long run due to increased energy bills and frequent repairs.
Generally, if your boiler is over 15 years old, it’s worth considering a replacement. Modern boilers are much more energy-efficient and will save you money in the long run. When choosing a new boiler, consult with a Gas Safe Registered engineer who can advise you on the best model and make for your needs.