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I’m turning into a right boiler bore!
All I can think about at the moment is what boiler to buy to replace my ailing Halsted.
I’ve tried looking into the landlord mirror and uttering the phrase:
“Mirror mirror on the wall what is the best boiler of them all?”
As yet no reply.

Which boiler to buy?

In my desperation I’ve turned to joining up with the consumer association Which to find out if they can offer me any clues.
Those landlords who have followed my previous ramblings on boilers will know that in the past I’ve gone for Worcester Bosch…but some poor experiences and also soundings from plumbers and landlords have made me sceptical.
I recently had a suggestion from my plumber on several boilers he thought were good. Both of which have not necessarily come with glowing feedback from other landlords. I’ve looked at the merits of boiler insurance cover in a previous article but first of all you need a boiler to insure.

What hat you wear.

The problem is, what makes a good boiler for a landlord, is not necessarily the best option for a tenant or a plumber. My plumber is more concerned with ease of installation. If he can plug it in quickly and it goes he’s delighted. He also wants to be able to service it and repair it without having a whole bag of specialist diagnostic kit or needing triple jointed arms. This is all regardless of how energy efficient it is or whether it breaks down. A tenant on the other hand is going to want a highly efficient unit that costs nothing to run. They don’t care how much or how easy it is to repair as long as their gas bill is unfeasibly small.
As the landlord my main concern is to get a boiler that is near as possible indestructible and as reliable as my trusty 14 year old MX5. In essence a boiler where nothing ever goes wrong and when it does any tom, dick or harry plumber can fix it preferably with a tiny inexpensive ‘widget’ or ‘nipple valve thingy’. Get my drift.

Which recommendations on boilers to buy

After trailing through the Which website I’m aware that they are more concerned with saving the planet from the impending carbon tsunami than my more basic requirement of an indestructible heating appliance.
Having said that they do take into account the reliability of running a boiler for one year by cranking it up 2920 times. This is helpful but not necessarily a great indicator of longevity.

The other tests relate to :
Efficiency of the boiler with Which conducting tests that measure the amount of gas consumed that is converted into heat.
The other aspect is the appeal to our plumbing brethren. Namely how easy they are to install and service, how easy to replace common spare parts, the warranty and the ease of using controls.

The winning boilers!

Obviously being a ‘tight arsed’ landlord another key factor that is critical is price. There is no way I’m going to pay over a grand for a boiler for a 1 bed flat. That immediately knocks 2 boilers out of Which’s 5 best buys.

The remaining boilers are:
The Valiant Ecotec plus 824 at £950
Potterton Gold c24 he at £800
Glow worm Utlracom 24 hxi at £788

The Glow worm which is the cheapest actually scores the best with an overall rating of 78% compared to 74% and 71% for the Valiant.

Boiler Guarantees

There is no such thing as a 100% reliable condensing boiler so having a guarantee offered by the manufacturer gives me a little bit more comfort that I will not have to shell out a couple of years down the line as I have done in the past. The Glow Worm Potterton and Valiant all have 2 year parts and labour gaurantees.

Model specific problems

The problem I have found is that quite often there is a model specific issue with a boiler. For instance it transpires that the Worcester 2.4i junior is well known for having problems with its’ PCB

So as well as taking into account a specific review of each model. Which has helpfully carried out a customer service survey looking at general feedback from 3873 boiler owners about the reliability of their gas condensing boiler over the previous 6 years. Interestingly the joint top on reliability was Worcester Bosch and Valiant with 76%, with Valiant also hitting the top for customer satisfaction with 84%. Glow Worm scores an average for reliability with 73%.

After all this am I any closer to making a choice?

Well I think it’s between the Glow worm and the Valiant and now it will all depend on what sort of deal I can get………now that could be a whole new story.

If you have any suggestions about what to buy or what to avoid please post your comments before it’s too late!

Re boilers viessman give 5 year parts and labour and boiler is cheaper than vaillant. Just putting one in so dont know about reliability yet. – A

Herewith my tip of the week:

" Did you know Gloworm are a brand of Vaillant?
Therefore why pay more when you can get Vaillant Quality in your Gloworm?
I recommend Gloworm for the following reasons:

-Well made
-British Boiler,
-Not over-complicated in terms of both installation and maintenance
-Parts readily available
-Not too expensive
-Recommended by Which?
-Brand owned by Vaillant – regarded as one of the best
-My Gloworm condensing boiler has been fault-free since installation
-Economical – it uses 2/3rds gas compared to my 30-year old Ideal Concord

Don’t bother with the Extra Built-in programmer – stick to the basic boiler and put in a digital programmer on the industry standard programmer footprint.

Worcester Bosch are expensive on parts, more difficult to maintain, plus the heat exchanger is only guaranteed for 10 years cos they don’t expect it to last much more than that…! "

Hope the above is useful, Regards, Kevin Biella.

I’ve heard good things said about Intergas boilers – reliable and easy to repair – but have no personal experience with them. Does anyone have some reliable information? – apogee

Choosing a boiler is very difficult due to heating engineers own experience of each make of boiler and what discounts etc. he gets. Having faced this problem and researched over the past year I have decided to have the Intergas boiler installed. – John

I agree for the landlord with a number of properties modern boilers all seem pretty unreliable. Having looked at reviews all over the internet time and time again, it really comes down to one make Valliant, which is not perfect but the best of the bunch. Sadly if you want decent white goods or boilers you need to stick to the German makes (I only buy Bosch washing machines and fridges for example).
I have also looked at longer warranties, but there is strict servicing which has to be done by the manufacturer at higher than average cost in order for these to be valid and are often not worth it. There are also filters that you can put in prior to the water going to the heater, which could also help.
The problem now is these things are all electronics and the PCB boards seem to be unreliable. Worse a conventional plumber comes and says it might be the PCB, but I can’t gaurantee it……. If he buys the PCB (£150 – £300) and installs it and it is not the PCB, he can not take it back. My advise here is to call out the manufacturer who can chop and change these circuit boards until they find the problem. – Colin W

Do not buy a Ravenheat. It has cost more in repairs than what its original cost was and its only three years old! – Anon.

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