Back Boiler Replacement – Prices, Costs and Upgrade Options

Back boilers sit behind the recess of a fireplace and heat the home and water accordingly.  Hidden behind the fireplace, they save space compared to traditional gas boilers.

Despite their convenience and reliability, back boilers are not as efficient compared to newer boiler types and so are gradually being phased out, being replaced by the more common and efficient combination boiler.  Baxi are the only boiler manufacturer who have released a modern and efficient back boiler, the Baxi Bermuda BBU HE .

If you have an old back boiler in your home and are thinking of upgrading, there are essentially three options open to you.

Option 1: Upgrading to the Baxi Bermuda BBU HE Back Boiler

The Baxi Bermuda BBU HE has revolutionised back boiler replacement, by providing a ready made solution.  Baxi are the creators of the original Bermuda back boilers and are the only brand of boiler to release a modern condensing back boiler. The new Baxi Bermuda BBU HE is more efficient and has a SEDBUK A efficiency rating. It has a 15KW heat output and is a room sealed appliance removing the need for air vents.

The Baxi Bermuda BBU HE is available from around £1200, though will cost more with fire front options.  There will also be additional installation costs, which are higher than installing a combi boiler. Requiring a new chimney liner and the difficulty of access by the engineer (in some cases, scaffolding may be necessary to provide safe access to the chimney) is likely to increase the cost of installing back boilers.

 

Advantages of installing a Baxi Bermuda HE BBU

You don’t have to reposition the boiler

It is very space efficient

It is the only condensing back boiler available on the market

Disadvantages of installing a Baxi Bermuda HE BBU

Installation costs will be considerably higher than your average combi boiler

Life of the boiler is expected to be around 10 years, lower than the older, less technical back boiler

Option 2: Replacing a Back Boiler with a Combi Boiler

Many old back boilers today are being replaced with the more efficient Combination Boilers, or Combi boiler. A combi boiler heats the hot water on demand (much like the instantaneuous hot water heater, or old Ascots) and provides central heating when required, hence the name, “Combination”.  Combi boilers require no hot water cylinder, no cold water tanks in the roof space and are a compact unit helping you to save on space.

Installation costs of combi boiler tend to be lower than installing a Baxi Bermuda Back Boiler. Combi boilers are a single unit that hangs of your wall. This makes it more straight forward and less time for the engineer to install compared to the trickier back boiler.  Obviously, costs and warranties do vary according to the different boiler models and whether you are replacing your radiators.

Combi boilers prices vary from £650 to £2000, depending on the model you buy. Worcester Bosch’s Greenstar range for example are priced from just over £1000 to just under £2000, with the output ranging from 25kw to 55kw – all with an efficiency rating over 90%.  Vaillant’s EcoTec range on the other hand are a little dearer but are currently the quietest boilers on the market. Glow Worm, a well established British company since 1934 are in fact owned by Vaillant and enjoy the same superb support and after sales service but are significantly cheaper than the Worcester Bosch and Vaillant boilers. As always however, the cheaper boiler has a slightly lower perfomance record than the more expensive makes, though in general not likely to be significant. Both the Vaillant and Glow Worm boilers offer longer manufacturer warranties than Worcester Bosch.

 

Advantages of installing a Combi Boiler

More energy efficient with a minimum of 86% energy efficiency rating

Ease of installation

Lower Installation costs

Disadvantages of installing a Combi Boiler

Limited Use – with a combi boiler it is not easy to run more than one shower or bath at a time as flow is less satisfactory.

Dependence on Mains Pressure – to ensure that your combi boiler is working properly, you need good mains pressure though by today’s standards it’s nit likely to be an issue.

Option 3: Keeping your old back boiler

Your old back boiler is not as energy efficient.  It does cost more to run, typically you could expect to save £200 to £300 per year (depending on the size of the house and gas consumption) in running costs by installing a new high efficiency boiler compared to those of a typical back boiler.

Advantages of keeping your back boiler

Saves you money on buying a new boiler.

Disadvantages of keeping your Back boiler

Not energy efficient and more costly to run.

Spares/parts are not as easily available today on many models.

A new high efficiency boiler will pay back in less than 10 years.