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New Boiler Needed - would appreciate your advice on what to get Gas / Biomass etc.....

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New Boiler Needed - would appreciate your advice on what to get Gas / Biomass etc.....

5 replies 92 views
Hi all
I currently have a very old oil fired boiler that is on it’s last legs, black tar on the wall where the flume comes out, regularly failing etc…  so looking to replace it but I don’t really have anyone to ask for advice / opinions on this type of thing so would really appreciate your input ! 

The current system is connected to a relatively new hot water tank (Gledhill StainlessLite Solar Cylinder) with all kind of boxes and cylinders which I don’t really understand or know how to get the best out of at the moment. These are all kept within the integral garage.

The House:
Been in the house less than a year, it’s a small 4 bed detached, probably more similar to a three bed hour in terms of size – 127 Square metres. It has good loft installation and cavity wall insulation, It’s open floor boards in the house though and relatively old double glazed windows, some of the radiators need to be upgraded but some are relatively new.

My Situation:
My wife has left me unfortunately ☹ so I live in the house by myself 50% of the time, the rest of the time I have my 3  kids here with me, two girls aged 6 and 4 and a boy also 6. They currently have baths every night they are here but I guess in the future will move to showers.

I’ve looked at having gas installed in the property which will cost £700 if they do all the work and £430 if I dig it myself. Then the cost of installing a new gas boiler on top of that, not sure what would be best as there are days when I would need a full tanks worth and others when I would barely use any (I’m at work all day and even often shower at the gym) so not sure if a traditional or combi would be best ? 

I’ve also looked at getting a biomass boiler although the installation cost would be higher the rhi payments seem to make up for this over time, I’ve had an estimate of £325 a quarter for this but with the house being relatively empty half the time I doubt it would be that high. 

I have around 13k in savings so could afford to invest in a biomass boiler if that’s the best option. I’ve spent hours researching this but am at a bit of a loss, want to make the right decision so it’s the best decision for the future and what will work with the kids and I, don’t plan on moving anytime soon so thinking about them as teenagers too (which is scary)

I’m having some quotes done in the next few weeks but if you have any thoughts and /or comments, they’d be greatly appreciated as I am a bit of loss right now ! Thank you


  • edited 12 February at 5:40PM
    tacpot12tacpot12 Forumite
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    edited 12 February at 5:40PM
    In your situation, I would advise you to go into mains gas while you still can. This won’t be an option in 5 years time. Gas boilers are cheap, reliable and powerful. We had a new Intergas boiler installed as a replacement for £2600 a couple of months ago, so with the gas installation charge you should be sorted for less than £3500. All the other options are more expensive. 
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • matelodavematelodave Forumite
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    Mains gas - it's probably the cheapest option.

    Gas boilers are cheaper than oil boilers so the cost of installing gas to your premises would almost be covered by the price difference. You also have the advantage that gas is cheaper than oil, LPG, leccy, biomass and almost anything else you can think of, so your running costs will be lower thus giving you ongoing savings, and to cap it al,l the installation of gas will probably add between £5-10k to the resale value of your house.

    I really cant think of any negatives
    Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large numbers
  • Rodders53Rodders53 Forumite
    937 posts
    Ninth Anniversary 500 Posts
    I'd also go Mains Gas system boiler if it's only £700 inc vat to get the pipe and meter box installed.  Keep the HW tank. These modern tanks should keep hot enough for a long time and you can just manually turn on the water for 30 minutes or so before you need a really hot shower.  Being mains pressure they beat Combi boilers hands down (IMHO).

    Gledhill SOLAR seems an odd HW cylinder to be fitted, though.  Are there any panels on the roof (solar thermal) at all?  if so that may save your energy bills with any fuel source.

    Do investigate a new kerosene oil burner install cost.  You already have the oil storage tank, pipework and oil (all of which you'll need to safely dispose of, at a cost probably) and it may not be that much more than a gas system boiler?

    But, as already said a mains gas boiler will add value to the home and is - currently - the cheapest fuel.  With kerosene the next cheapest.  So I'd lean toward that solution.
  • Peter_GriffinPeter_Griffin Forumite
    121 posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts
    Thanks everyone for the input so far, really do appreciate it because like I say I don't really have anyone to bounce these ideas off ... the kids aren't much help haha.

    I'm definitely keen to move away from oil, with the choice more between Gas and Biomass, the draw of the Biomass was on those RHI payments which seem to (over the 7 years) pay for the system. I get that gas is the quick cheap option though.

    Don't currently have any solar panels - maybe the previous owner was planning on adding some in the future so went down that route. I'll definitely look into that too as I don't know much about solar thermal.
  • edited 14 February at 3:02PM
    matelodavematelodave Forumite
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    edited 14 February at 3:02PM
    As I see it the problem with biomass is that the boiler are more expensive than gas and reports seem to indicate that they need more servicing and keep them running properly. You need a dry place to store the fuel which has to be purchased from an "approved" supplier if you want to claim RHI.

    You get around 4.8kwh from 1 kg of pellets which aren't everso cheap even if you buy them in bulk.  A ton at a time, bagged on a pallet looks to be around £300 or more (a bit less if you get a one tonne bag). therefore 1 tonne = 4800kwh at £300 comes to around 6p/kwh which is around twice the price of mains gas and AFAIK still more expensive than oil). Smaller quantities are significantly more expensive.

    You'd really need to do your sums properly to try and work out whether the extra cost of the boiler, storage, delivery and running costs of the fuel would be offset by the RHI.
    BTW a couple of years ago there was a severe shortage of biomass pellets due to adverse weather in Eastern Europe (which is where most biomass fuel comes from - so it's not quite as green as you'd hope) so you'd have to ensure that you've got a large enough dry space to store a decent quantity. Dont forget you'd have to manually fill the boiler hopper perhaps several times a week unless you get an autofeed which can top the boiler up from the bulk store and you'd have to empty the ash occasionally. If you've got space to have it delivered in bulk, rather than bags that you've got to lug from the shed then you could probably reduce the running costs by quite a bit.
    Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large numbers
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