How much does a boiler cost?

8 May 2024

How much does a boiler cost? A comprehensive overview

When the time comes to buy a new boiler, the cost is always going to be the number one question. Unfortunately, asking “how much does a boiler cost?” is like asking “how much does a holiday cost?” There are so many factors that determine the final cost that it’s difficult to give even a ballpark figure without knowing your individual needs and the nature of your home.

If pressed, we’d say a new boiler can cost anything between £500 and £5,000.

What we can do, however, is break down these elements and explain how they can affect two important costs:

  • Initial costs (purchase and installation)
  • Running costs (efficiency and maintenance)

That’s what we’re trying to do in this in-depth article. It’s likely that many of the factors won’t apply to you personally, but they do serve to show how we can only price up a boiler installation once we have all the facts.

So let’s dive in!

Type of boiler

The choice of boiler types affects both the cost and efficiency of your home heating system. There are three types to choose from:

  • Combi boilers: Combi boilers heat water directly from the mains whenever a tap is turned on, meaning there’s no need for a hot water storage cylinder or a cold water tank. They are compact and generally cheaper to install but are best suited to smaller properties.
  • System boilers: These require a cylinder for storing hot water but do not require a tank in the loft. They get their pressure from the mains, and are ideal for homes with more than one bathroom as they can supply multiple taps simultaneously.
  • Regular boilers (also known as traditional or conventional boilers): These boilers need both a hot water cylinder and cold water tank in the loft to maintain pressure. That usually leads to higher installation costs.

Cost range (rough estimate, including labour)

  • Combi boiler: £500–£1,500 
  • System boiler: £1,000–£3,000
  • Conventional boiler: £1,500–£3,500

Boiler size and power output

The size and power output of a boiler, typically measured in kilowatts (kW), is crucial to meeting the heating and hot water demands of your house. Incorrectly sizing a boiler can lead to increased operating costs and poor heating for your home. 

Understanding boiler power output

Boiler power output refers to the energy capacity of the boiler to heat water flowing through your system and taps. The power requirement of your boiler generally relates to the number and type of radiators and water outlets in your home.

  • Low power (12 kW to 18 kW): Suitable for smaller homes with up to 10 radiators and one bathroom. Efficient for properties where space and water use is minimal.
  • Medium power (18 kW to 24 kW): Ideal for mid-sized homes with about 15 radiators and one or two bathrooms. This range best supports homes with average hot water usage.
  • High power (24 kW to 40 kW): Required for larger homes that have multiple bathrooms (two or more), higher levels of hot water demand, and numerous radiators (15+). This rating ensures abundant hot water even during peak usage.

(Note: combi boilers generally require higher outputs than other types.)

Factors influencing size and power choices

Let’s go into a bit more depth on how to decide what power you require:

  • Number of radiators: More radiators mean more power is needed to heat them all efficiently. If a boiler is too small, it won’t be able to heat all radiators effectively, causing uneven heating around the house.
  • Hot water requirement: Consider how many bathrooms or water-using appliances you have, and how frequently they will be used simultaneously. Higher water usage requires a more powerful boiler to ensure hot water doesn’t run out.
  • Property size: Generally, larger homes require higher capacity boilers to ensure adequate heat throughout the entire property. Volume increases with higher ceilings and floor area, influencing boiler sizing.
  • Insulation quality: Well-insulated homes retain heat longer, lessening the demand on your heating system. 
  • Family size: The number of occupants can influence water consumption patterns. More people typically means more baths or showers, more dishes being washed, higher laundry load etc.

Remember – a cheaper, lower-powered boiler than you need might save you in the short term, but it will always be working much harder than a more powerful model would. That means more wear and tear, and potentially higher gas consumption, as it’ll be working more often. In short, choosing an underpowered boiler for your needs is a false economy. Take care to go through the points listed above to help you determine which boiler you need.

Advice from professionals

It’s recommended you seek advice from a heating system professional before deciding on a boiler size and power output. They can provide tailored advice based on an on-site assessment ensuring that the boiler meets your exact needs without driving up energy costs. Regulations around heating systems can change, too. Professional installers will be on top of any changes in the law.

Installation complexity

The complexity of installing a boiler can significantly impact the overall cost of installation. Multiple factors influence how straightforward or involved the installation process will be. Here’s what potential boiler buyers need to consider.

Location of installation

Changing the location of the boiler from where the previous one was can add to the complexity and cost. Relocating the boiler can involve changes to the existing plumbing and flue (the pipe that carries the boiler’s exhaust gases outside your home) which requires additional labour and materials.

  • Flue placement: Depending on whether you have a combi, system or conventional boiler, considerations about the placement of the flue become critical. Regulations require flues to be placed a certain distance from windows and other building elements, which can limit location options or require more complex installations.
  • Pipe routing: Moving a boiler can also mean major changes to where and how pipes are routed through your home. This might involve lifting floorboards or creating new channels through walls, which increases labour and material costs.

Existing system compatibility

If you’re upgrading an old heating system, some existing components may not be compatible with newer boiler models or efficiencies expected. If there’s no 

  • Pipework: Older pipes might not be suitable for the pressure and flow rates of newer, more efficient boiler systems. Replacing or upgrading pipework is a significant task that might require access to areas of your building structure usually concealed.
  • Radiators: Some older radiators may not be compatible with new boilers or could be less effective if a more powerful or efficient boiler is installed. They might require flushing (to remove built-up sludge), or in some cases, complete replacement might be necessary.

Brand new system?

This could be a completely fresh installation, for example in a new build home or one where there has never been central heating. In some ways it’s the best place to start, as you know everything will be compatible. But it will clearly add to the cost as there will be nothing that can be reused or repurposed.

Compliance and regulations

Every installation must adhere to local building regulations and safety standards:

  • Building regulations: In the UK, any new boiler installation needs to comply with building regulations including aspects like energy efficiency guidelines, safety measures, boiler types and even notification of installation in certain areas.
  • Gas safety: Handling and connecting gas boilers must be done by a Gas Safe registered engineer to ensure safety. Compliance checks post-installation add another layer to the overall complexity.

Access concerns

The ease of access to the installation site within your home can affect the duration and difficulty of the job. Challenges arise if:

  • The boiler is to be installed in a basement or attic where access is restricted.
  • There needs to be considerable dismantling of existing structures to move equipment and materials into position.

Listed building considerations

For listed (or just older buildings), specific considerations and permissions might be needed due to structural preservation requirements. Ensuring that new installations don’t disrupt the historical integrity of a building can necessitate specialist approaches and technologies.

Given these variables, it’s crucial for homeowners to consult with experienced professionals who can provide a detailed assessment. This proactive approach not only assures a smoother installation process but also helps maintain your budget by avoiding unforeseen expenses.

System controls 

Choosing the correct controls is crucial for enhancing efficiency, convenience and the overall management of your home’s heating system. Modern boiler controls include a range of devices that enable more precise regulation of heating. Here is a look at their types and benefits.

Types of boiler controls

Choosing a boiler control system affects the ease of use, but also the cost of the installation. It’s another option where you have to balance cost with convenience. The main families of control basically fall into these categories:

  • Programmable thermostats: These allow homeowners to set heating schedules based on their daily routines. Heating can be automatically adjusted to lower settings when the house is empty or at night when everyone is asleep, and to increase before people wake up or return home.
  • Smart thermostats: Smart thermostats offer features like Wi-Fi connectivity, which enables remote management of your home’s temperatures through smartphones or computers. Many also provide usage statistics to help track energy consumption and detect heating inefficiencies.
  • Weather compensation controls: These innovative tools adjust the interior temperature based on external weather conditions. For instance, the heating will turn on earlier if it’s unexpectedly cold outside, or turn off if it’s hot out.
  • Zone controls: By dividing your home into multiple heating zones that can be controlled independently, you tailor heating to specific areas or rooms. This ensures energy isn’t wasted heating unused spaces.

Benefits of upgraded controls

For all the apparent complexity of choosing a control system, it all comes down the the following benefits:

  • Increased energy efficiency: Advanced controls minimise the energy wastage associated with heating unoccupied spaces or overheating rooms. Efficient energy use translates directly to lower utility bills.
  • Enhanced comfort: Precise temperature control means getting heat exactly when and where needed, ensuring overall comfort across your home.
  • Reduced carbon footprint: More precise control over heating reduces unnecessary energy usage, which directly contributes to lowering your household’s overall carbon emissions.
  • Convenience and ease of use: Modern heating controls offer user-friendly interfaces and remote controls through apps, making it easy to adjust your settings anywhere, anytime.

Compatibility and integration

When considering an upgrade to your heating system controls, it’s essential to ensure compatibility with your existing boiler and other home systems.

  • Boiler compatibility: Check if the new controls are compatible with your existing boiler model. It might require professional consultation from a technician.
  • Smart home integration: Many smart thermostats can integrate seamlessly with other smart home devices and systems like Amazon Alexa, Apple HomePod or Google Home, providing an interconnected home experience.

Installation considerations

The complexity of installing new controls varies greatly:

  • Simple thermostats: Basic new thermostats might require minimal electrical work and are relatively straightforward to install.
  • Advanced systems: Installation of smart thermostats or zone controls might involve substantial rewiring and should be handled by professionals. 

Return on Investment (ROI)

While upgrading boiler controls can have an upfront cost, the long-term savings on energy bills often justify the investment. The increased comfort and convenience not only contribute to a higher quality of life; they might also add to the potential resale value to your property.

Upgrading your boiler system’s controls drives efficiency and promotes a careful balance between maintaining a comfortable home environment and managing energy bills.

Whether you opt for basic programmable thermostats or advanced smart home-compatible systems, each step taken can contribute significantly to more intelligent energy use within your home. Of course, a more complex system will also affect the initial price of your boiler installation. Whether those savings are worth your while in terms of convenience and longer-term savings is up to you and your budget.

Cost range (rough estimate, including labour)

  • £50–£100 for a basic programmable thermostat (often included in boiler price)
  • £70–£180 for a smart thermostat
  • £80–£200 for a weather compensation system
  • £150–£250 for a zone control system

Brand and quality

Top-tier brands often offer enhanced efficiency, reliability, longer warranties and better after-sales service. While they may come with higher upfront costs, investing in a reputable brand can lead to fewer breakdowns and repairs down the line.

Some of the best known brands in the UK are Worcester Bosch, Vaillant, Alpha, Viessmann, Ideal and Glow-worm. If you stick with these brands, you’re more or less guaranteed decent quality, good reliability and after-sales service that is generally considered helpful.

That’s not to say other brands can’t be trusted – there are always emerging brands and technologies that deserve your attention. The best idea is to look closely at reviews and customer feedback and make a choice. You could potentially save money on a newer brand, and it might turn out to be a great decision, but it will always be something of a gamble.

Energy efficiency

Efficiency ratings impact both the environmental footprint and your energy bills. High-efficiency boilers can be more costly initially but save money in the long term through reduced energy consumption. 

Warranty and servicing deals

When purchasing a new boiler, it’s good to understand the details and benefits of warranties and servicing deals offered by manufacturers. These elements not only provide peace of mind but also influence the long-term costs and performance of your heating system. Here’s a closer look at why warranty and servicing deals are integral and what you should consider.

Importance of boiler warranties

A boiler warranty is a promise from the manufacturer to repair or replace parts of the boiler – under certain conditions and within a specified period. This is an assurance of quality and reliability from the manufacturer, signalling that they stand behind the product’s performance promises. Several key aspects to understand about boiler warranties include:

  • Length of warranty: The duration of boiler warranties can vary significantly, from one year to more than 10 years, depending on the brand and the model. Generally, a longer warranty is indicative of a manufacturer’s confidence in their product’s durability.
  • Coverage details: It’s vital to understand what the warranty covers. Some warranties may cover just parts, while others might include both parts and labour. Moreover, there could be different terms for various components of the boiler.
  • Conditions and validity: Most warranties are subject to certain conditions that homeowners must fulfil. This often includes requiring that the installation be carried out by certified professionals and that the boiler undergoes annual maintenance and servicing by qualified individuals.
  • Transferability: Some warranties are transferable with the sale of the property, which can be an added selling point if you decide to move houses.

Servicing contracts and plans

Regular maintenance is crucial not only for safety and efficiency but often a requirement to retain the warranty validity. Many manufacturers and third-party companies offer servicing contracts as part of their deals. They include:

  • Annual servicing: Most servicing contracts include an annual checkup by a qualified technician. This check helps ensure everything is functioning correctly and optimises performance.
  • Priority repairs: Service contract holders often benefit from quicker response times in the event of a breakdown.
  • Cost management: Regular servicing helps in the early detection of potential issues that can become costly if left unchecked. A servicing contract spreads out these costs and may cover them entirely, depending on the terms provided.

Calculating the benefits

When discerning whether to opt in for extended warranties and service contracts, consider:

  • Long-term savings: While these might increase initial expenditures, they can reduce surprise costs from unanticipated repairs.
  • Home insurance requirements: Some home insurers might require evidence of regular servicing to validate a policy on your home – check your terms.
  • Resale value: Homes with transferable warranties may be more appealing to prospective buyers who’ll value the extended protection on the essential heating system.

Selecting the right options

Choosing the right boiler warranty and service plan ought to reflect:

  • Risk preference: How much risk are you willing to take in terms of potential repairs?
  • Usage intensity: Homes with higher boiler usage due to colder climates or larger family sizes might benefit more from comprehensive coverages.
  • Budget flexibility: Evaluate if paying an upfront cost for extended service and warranty is feasible within your budget considerations.

Overall, warranties and servicing deals are not just about protecting a purchase; they are about ensuring efficiency, reliability, safety and peace of mind in your home heating systems. As such, they should be key considerations when choosing a new boiler system.

Legal and regulatory requirements

Certain regulations need adherence during the boiler installation process, such as Building Regulations Part L (conservation of fuel and power). Compliance can involve additional costs, for example, if you need to upgrade other components like heating controls.

Grants and incentives

Check if there are any applicable grants, like the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme, which helps low-income households get funding towards energy-efficient home improvements including boilers. Availability of such incentives can substantially offset initial costs.

Let the experts give you a precise quote

There are clearly a lot of factors when it comes to pricing up a new boiler. Some are technical, some are obligatory, and many are optional. The important thing is that you choose the best system within your budget. That might mean cutting a few preferred options to accommodate essential ones, but if it results in you having a warm, cosy home for your family, it’s always going to be worth it.

The only way to get an accurate price is to let us have a look at your property and assess the amount of equipment and labour you’re going to need. Obviously, your input matters, so we’ll talk you through the prices and benefits of any part of a proposed system so you can keep costs where you want them.

Fill in our boiler quote form today so we can get the ball rolling on your new system as soon as possible. Alternatively, call us on 01908 631704 or email and we’ll arrange a visit.