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Written by rosalind renshaw

A letting agent is looking for support to lobby the Government to make boiler manufacturers give ten-year warranties.

Anthony Kerrigan, of Kerrigans in Doncaster, said: “That would make manufacturers think twice about selling unreliable rubbish. We are all being ripped off.”

He said that for many years, as letting agents, he had been advising – correctly, as he had thought – clients to replace old back boilers with modern combi and condensing models.

He said: “This is now haunting us. They are unreliable and too expensive to fix.”

He went on: “The average repair cost of an old back boiler was £30, which was normally a call-out charge and a replacement thermo-couple, approximately once every five years if the boiler was serviced. The boiler pretty well lasted forever, because there is nothing in them except a heat exchanger.

“The average repair cost of a new boiler is £250 for a new printed circuit board approximately every three years. The plumbers boast that a modern boiler has a life expectancy of eight years, but I think it is closer to six.”

He said most modern boilers have warranties of one or two years, and said most had been built to be deliberately fragile. A circuit board with a retail price of £150 probably costs just pennies to make, he added.

Any thoughts on this? Please post below.

Comments

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    With the rising cost of fuel prices, industries that use steam boilers for heating or power generation are hard pressed to operate at peak efficiencies.
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    • 11 January 2013 10:55 AM
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    .jjhonoijkl,dbhd

    • 11 May 2012 09:32 AM
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    My Baxi gas boiler at home is 32 years old and still going strong, as is the water pump. I have it serviced about every 2/3 years. I've lived in the house since 1987 and all I have had replaced is two new thermocouples. If it breaks down tomorrow it doesn't owe me a lot!

    I've had a Glow Worm combi fitted in a flat I rent out last year and it seems fine. My GS engineer said they were pretty reliable, and that GW had just brought out a superior model which is apprently the Bees-Knees. He did also mention the Worcester Bosch as top dog although the price of £1,800 he said they cost would rather put me off.

    • 10 May 2012 19:48 PM
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    I should have said that the experience we had with this landlords property wouldn't stop me installing a WB in my home if I had to; it was more an expose on customer service from big companies rather than damning the product itself.

    Our engineer is approved by WB and Gloworm; I asked him his opinion a few minutes ago when he came into the office. If he he had to replace his boiler today he would go for a Gloworm simply because he believes the current range is slightly better that the current WB range.

    Vaillant run ok but we find parts expensive as they usually have to come from Europe.

    New boilers are packed with efficiency measures to meet targets, the more complicated a unit is, the more there is to go wrong. Especially when you consider its only function is to heat water: imagine if the same efficiency measures were applied to a kettle!

    • 10 May 2012 10:27 AM
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    Hi Guys, Lobbying the government is of no use. This is the type of thing that will ultimately get results. If we keep on moaning on forums and actually naming the manufacturer, buyers will take note when it comes to replacement, sales will fall, products and reliability will improve etc. Bosch know which items fail and if they want to keep their reputation in tact they will need too improve.

    • 10 May 2012 09:48 AM
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    "We should be protected from our own stupidity" would be a more accurate title. How many of these boilers were the lowest price replacement available with the agent or landlord congratulating themselves on their financial acumen?

    The comparison is between old back boilers with little technology to go wrong, which were not at all cheap when they were produced, with the lowest common denominator condensing boiler packed with technology and designed only to achieve the lowest sale price. And they are surprised they don't last as long?

    I too have heard tales of unhappy landlords with modern Worcester Bosch boilers that have failed - but still I find that that is the make that heating engineers and plumbers fit in their own homes.

    • 10 May 2012 09:46 AM
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    @Mark

    Another interesting discussion developing!!

    I was told to avoid Vaillant like the plague. Pity - our original 24 year old boiler was a Vaillant and I'd have had another willingly. They came with much shorter warranty periods though and the two engineers who confirmed my thoughts on Bosch said they would never fit a Vaillant.

    Each to their own I suppose!!

    These new programmers are terrific though, especially the built in holiday setting for 5C

    • 10 May 2012 09:45 AM
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    IHS

    I believe you may have been one of the contributors to the discussion I referred to from some months back, if so thank you.

    Yes good point. My sister in law suffered exactly the same problem in severe conditions winter two years ago. Definitely as they are smaller bore have pipes routed internally. Ours because of the kitchen refit links into a relocated washing machine outlet.

    Very good point.

    @Ray

    Mid 1980's I had a Glow Worm that was kettling and 8 years old. They offered to replace it for 50% new cost if I could ghet the heat exchanger to them in Derby to cut in half and examine.

    You got any idea how much a heat exchange weighs in an old bolier!! Anyway Pompey were playing Derby (where Gloworm was based) in the league Cup so me and four mates lifted it into my boot and took it with us.

    Theye were good as their word, said their was a fault and actually replaced it I think at 75% discount.

    Course 20+ years ago customer service meant something.

    Just woindered if they'd offered ort you'd thought of asking them to look at why it went wrong after only two years. Hope mine doesn't as although it has the 5 year cvover my missus won't be happy if in a couple of years it has to be yanked off the wall in her new kitchen!!!

    Interesting and worrying comments about the circuit etc boards though.

    • 10 May 2012 09:42 AM
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    Ray - appalled to read of your experience with Bosch. Our office boiler is a Worcester as well. We had registered for the two year waranty and three weeks after it had expired the diverter valve developed a fault. I called Bosch and they told me they had a 30 day grace period at the end of their warranty. Next day they came and replaced the valve.

    Apparantly Vaillant make an even better boiler than Bosch at the moment.

    • 10 May 2012 09:35 AM
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    Well I'm with Anthony on this one. The older non-condensing boilers would generally provide 15 to 20 years of life, without too many breakdowns. It's ridiculous that we should now be happy if we get 10 years - and then probably with more breakdowns.
    Especially given the massive increase in the cost of materials and labour over the last few years.

    Hang on to your old boiler for as long as possible if you want to save money!

    • 10 May 2012 09:30 AM
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    Welcome to the throw away society!

    Boiler manufacturers are no different from many other manufacturers in every industry. Build something to last forever and watch your profits fall through the floor. Why? because you will sell less replacement parts that have the highest profit margin.

    Intersting that IO should mention Worcester Bosch; we had to replace one of theirs recently that was only just over two years old as it had corroded internally. They wouldn't budge on it at all; as far as they were concerned if a boiler has failed outside of its warranty period then that was the natural life of that unit!! When I asked if they thought replacing a boiler every two years was reasonable they said yes, as long as you replaced it with one of their units!

    Good luck with this Anthony but as IO points out, sadly I doubt you will get anywhere with it.

    • 10 May 2012 09:24 AM
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    The biggest flaw with condensing boilers, apart from their short life, is that if the condensate pipe is routed outside, it will freeze up in very cold weather causing the boiler to shut down just when you really need it. The engineers we use for installing such boilers now route the pipe to an internal drain which can sometimes be less than easy.

    • 10 May 2012 09:04 AM
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    Another example of 'green' not being so green, merely a bandwagon to shift stock. My 1988, old-style boiler recently needed repairing, cost £250. I'm glad I resisted the blandishments of the plumber to have a new condensing boiler, which would have paid for itself never . . . if it needed replacing in 8 years!
    I'm not sure government intervention is the answer - it just needs to be brought to the attention of the media for manufacturers to pull up their socks.

    • 10 May 2012 08:55 AM
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    Interesting rant that sadly will get nowhere but the sentiment is spot on. By "back bioler" I assume this means the old rear of a fireplace job as opposed to a floor or wall mounted separate one - if so I thought they died out years ago?

    Anyway following a very interesting and useful discussion on LAT several months ago relating to property etc efficiency I learned a lot about these new boilers as by coincidence I needed to fit one before our kitchen was replaced.

    The only way to go for maximum guarantee it to fit the dog's wotsits of boilers, a Worcester Bosch. You can get a 7 year warranty on those with fitters accredited by Bosch, mine should have but for some reason came with a 5 year one, probably based on number of said boilers the engineer fits.

    I was told I'd be lucky to get 10 years out of it at most - it was replacing a boiler installed with the house 24 years ago!! The new one is incredibly efficient though.

    Many thanks to those who posted on that interesting discussion, best I've ever seen on here not a single foul word or criticism just a great exchange from knowledgeable people.

    Especially on the new 6 way programmers that they now fit as standard - they are magic and every home should have one!!

    • 10 May 2012 08:54 AM
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