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How Long Does a Boiler Last?


Investing in a new boiler is an expensive yet necessary venture if you want to be warm and comfortable during the chilly months. And naturally, you would wish to see your boiler operating in peak performance for as long as possible, hence the vital question: how long does a boiler last?

Well, if this is the question currently troubling you, then you’ve come to the right place. This guide covers the expected lifespan of a boiler and shares some tips on elongating the lifespan of your boiler. It also touches on the tell-tale signs that your boiler is nearing the end of its lifespan.

Under normal circumstances, your modern boiler should last for 10 to 15 years if you annually service it and look after it properly. The lifespan of your boiler isn’t cast in stone, though and can be higher or lower depending on several factors.

What Factors Affect The Life of a Boiler?

The brand and model you have

There are different types of boiler manufacturers currently operating in the UK market. These manufacturers offer various boiler models at different prices. These various boiler models from the different manufacturers naturally have varying performances, reliabilities, warranties, and efficiencies.

Although a high-quality boiler from a well-established manufacturer might be more expensive, it will likely last longer than lower quality, cheap boiler from less known manufacturers. As such, by going for a low-cost new boiler, you will be trading off minimal savings for boiler longevity.

Always remember to check the warranty offered by the manufacturer as it will give you a rough idea of how long the manufacturer expects the boiler to last.

Whether you’ve had your boiler serviced annually

Having your boiler serviced by a professional heating engineer can go a long way in extending its lifespan. This is because annual servicing will enable the heating engineer to identify, clean, repair, and replace components that need attention. On the other hand, neglecting to carry out annual servicing results in minor problems escalating and shortening the boiler’s lifespan.

The average usage of the boiler

Like most machines and appliances, boilers are subject to wear and tear. As such, the more you use your boiler, the fast it will wear out and the shorter its lifespan is likely to be. On the other hand, if you rarely use your boiler, it will likely have a longer lifespan.

Type of water

The quality of water that your boiler heats and its hardness and softness affect the lifespan of your boiler. This is because the type of water passing through your heating system can affect the boiler’s seals.

Hard water has a knack for corroding boiler seals, while soft water, on the other hand, is responsible for deposits inside the boiler. Corroded seals and the presence of residues in your boiler will drastically reduce its lifespan.

Presence of limescale

Calcium and other minerals can build up and accumulate inside your boiler to form limescale.  The presence of limescale in your boiler will reduce its efficiency. And with reduced efficiency, your boiler will be overworked in supplying hot water and heating to your home, thus sustaining damage over time.

Limescale is prevalent in regions with hard water, meaning if you live in such areas, you expect your boiler to have a shorter lifespan unless you use a softener. On the other hand, if you live in a room with soft water, your boiler will last longer as there aren’t many lime-based problems.

How To Increase The Life of a Boiler?

Here are our tips on how you can lengthen your boiler’s lifespan. However, do note that they might not work if your boiler is already nearing the end of its lifespan.

Carry out annual service on your boiler

The best way to ensure your boiler works efficiently and for as long as possible is to arrange for it to undergo professional servicing every year. A certified tradesperson should carry out the annual servicing, preferably a Gas Safe registered engineer.

During the annual servicing, the Gas Safe heating engineer will perform safety and efficiency tests on your boiler to operate safely and efficiently. They will also check the system for leaks or minor problems and fix them before they escalate and cause expensive breakdowns.

Most boiler manufacturers have also made it a requirement that their boilers be serviced by a Gas Safe registered engineer for their warranties to remain valid.

Install a magnetic filter

Heating engineers recommend installing magnetic filters in your heating system to help reduce sludge accumulation in the heating system and pipework. A magnetic filter achieves this by filtering out metallic debris before they settle down in your radiators and pipework.

Don’t overwork your boiler

As earlier stated, the more you use your boiler, the shorter its lifespan is expected to be. You should install the right size and type of boiler in your home, one that perfectly meets your hot water and heating needs without straining. You should also avoid setting the water pressure too high as it will result in your boiler wearing out faster.

Use Gas Safe registered engineers

The best way to ensure your boiler is handled safely during the installation or ongoing service and repair phase is to use a Gas Safe registered engineer. By using a Gas Safe registered engineer, you are guaranteed to work with a legally qualified tradesperson who can complete the work to the highest standard.

If you opt to use an unqualified person to install, service, or repair your boiler, they might end up damaging your heating system or tampering with the boiler, which might pose a safety hazard. Even worse, it will result in the manufacturer voiding your boiler warranty.

Regularly power flush your heating system.

With time, rust, dirt and sludge can build up in the pipes and radiators of your central heating system, creating blockages that reduce the performance and efficiency of your heating system. Since system efficiency is lowered due to sludge in your heating system, your heating bills will increase.

Luckily, you can resolve the issue of sludge in your central heating system by power flushing it whenever you suspect an accumulation. Regularly power flushing your heating system will increase its efficiency and prolong the lifespan of the whole system.

It is also important to note that boiler manufacturers recommend that you power flush your heating system before installing a new boiler. This aims to prevent the sludge from contaminating the new boiler, thus ensuring the boiler will last for a long time.

Don’t delay repairs

Just like any other appliance, your boiler can develop faults or break down from time to time. You should pay attention to your boiler at all times and if you suspect any changes or issues, try to resolve them immediately. This is because many boiler issues can be time-sensitive and can develop into more serious and more expensive ones if not fixed immediately.

For instance, if you suspect your boiler has sludge, and you ignore it or put off fixing the issue for later, the build-up will increase, and the efficiency of the boiler will drop further. The sludge build-up might also result in blown seals and other complications that are expensive to repair.

As such, if you suspect your boiler requires repairs, you need to contact a certified gas engineer as soon as possible to prevent the problem from escalating and resulting in more expensive repairs.

 What are the signs that my boiler is nearing the end of its lifespan?

As much as you would want to get as much usage out of your old boiler as possible, it is vital that you recognise when investing in a replacement is more cost-effective than carrying out repairs. Some of the tell-tale signs that your boiler is nearing the end of its lifespan and in need of a replacement include:

  • The boiler has celebrated its 15th birthday
  • Your heating bills have been on a tremendous rise
  • The frequency of your boiler breaking down has been increasing over the years
  • The boiler requires costly repairs to get it up and running again
  • Your boiler is making strange noises

Reasons Why To Replace Your Old Boiler?

Unlike wine, your boiler won’t improve as time passes. Instead, as it ages, its performance and efficiency start to deteriorate. In fact, after its 15th birthday, you should replace your old boiler with a newer one even if it still competently sends hot water through the house.

Some of the reasons why you should replace your old boiler even if it’s still working include:

Reduced efficiency 

If your boiler is over 10 to 15 years old and is still supplying steady heating to your home, you may be tempted to put off replacing it to a later date. However, if you take a closer look at your hitting bills, you will find that you have been paying higher energy bills as time goes by.

As the boiler ages, its efficiency drops, and it will need to work harder and use more energy to supply the same level of heat as it used to. It is estimated that replacing your old boiler with a modern, efficient one will significantly reduce your annual heating bills by as much as £305.

Take advantage of the latest technology

Modern boilers outshine their predecessors by a distance regarding compactness, attractiveness, running costs, and even performance. With a modern boiler, you can use smart thermostats to control heating in your home wherever you are. You can also install TRVs on the different radiators in your home to heat different rooms to desired temperatures.

Avoid an imminent breakdown

Of course, your old boiler is going to stop working and break down at some point.  This can happen when you least expect it, and you will be inconvenienced by the lack of heating and hot water, especially if it occurs during the winter months. If you have already enjoyed a couple of more years on your boiler beyond what the manufacturer’s suggested lifespan, then it might be time to carry out that replacement.

Implement changes to your home

With the addition of new bathrooms, bedrooms, or extensions to your home, you will find that your old boiler will be strained to continue supplying the same level of heat as before. This is because the ageing boiler may no longer be the right type or size for your home.

Having the wrong type and size of boiler in your home will result in discomfort and lead to breakdowns and costly repairs if the boiler is being overworked.

Repair parts for your old boiler may be unavailable.

One sad truth is that despite your old boiler still hanging in there, it may need repair parts that are no longer available.  If your boiler breaks down and needs repairs, the heating engineer may find it hard to source the replacement parts. Moreover, as these parts are rare to find, they might be expensive to acquire, making a complete replacement a better option.

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