central heating is 15 years old - need advice


Postby barrettj » Thu Dec 06, 2007 11:07 pm

My central heating system is 15 years old. It has been serviced regularly by British Gas.

I am about to decorate the whole house but what is worrying me is the fact that people have told me that i may have to think about getting the heating system replaced shortly due to its age.

What I am trying to find out is

(1) how long does a central heating system last.
(2) shoudl i just leave the whole system alone until the boiler is past it completely.
(3) can i just replace the boiler, i.e how long do the pipes normally last ( copper ones ).
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Postby DONFRAMAC » Fri Dec 07, 2007 1:04 am

My information is that older boilers are very durable as the main boiler chamber is made from cast-iron, but that thermal efficiency (carbon footprint factor) is poor. Old copper pipes are usually thick-wall, and the price of copper today has gone thro' the roof, and two different thicknesses of pipe wall are in use now. My new system uses wafer-thin copper pipes. Old radiators do suffer pin-hole damage, but are very cheap as a result of this frequent demand for replacement.
A quick check on insurance-based extended warranty cover shows old boiler types being covered up to 15 years, but a new combi is only offered 8 years cover. That reflects the fragility of materials, use of aluminium, and a very competitive market driving down prices and profit margins.
My sister who has a builders merchants business, has a 17 year old oil fired boiler which gives no trouble. An ex-colleague who now owns a heating & plumbing business says I will be lucky to get more than 5 years out of my new condensing combi, then the best thing to do will be to scrap it and fit another. Unfortunately I have lost the stored hot weter, and no option of an immersion element exists,and the bath fills slowly, although the blender shower is good, after fitting a combi-compatible unit.
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Postby peter the plumber » Fri Dec 07, 2007 2:32 pm

The simple answer is you boiler will last for 20 years if you

Get it serviced once a year

Have water softer (not a scale inhibitor or digital scale reducer)

And have the right boiler to start with.

Your heating system will need some upgrading, but not all of it.

You can just replace the boiler.

Most copper pipes last for 50 years or longer.

Most people make simple mistakes with choosing a new boiler; they ask for what there friends have.

Combi boilers come in about 20 years ago, their where design for small units, ideally one-bed room flats, they where never suitable for family homes.

The other problem is the housing market

People who move every 3 years don’t like spending money on good new boilers; they get the cheapest one.

If you’re thinking of replacing the boiler, read the “whichâ€
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