Frequently asked Central heating & plumbing questions | Multi-Trade
How much does it cost to install a new boiler or central heating system?
At Multi-Trade we want to make sure that you get the right boiler and central heating system for your home. You can arrange for one of our engineers to visit. We give free, detailed quotations, not an estimates, which are tailored specifically to your requirements.
The price of a new boiler installation is dependant on a number of factors, the cost of the boiler itself depends on the brand and type of boiler. However, for ball park figures, to swap from an existing combination boiler - in the same position, to a new combi boiler, the total replacement cost is between £1500 and £2200.
To swap a system from a conventional boiler to a brand new condensing combination boiler will cost anywhere from £1800 and £3500.
Why does it cost so much to install a new boiler or central heating system?
There are lots of factors. But the main reason is that professional, regulated, Gas safe registered central heating engineers are in short supply. There is a considerable amount of training involved to become a gas engineer and a significant financial investment. This means that for the foreseeable future, it's going to be a relatively expensive business to get a boiler installed.
While at Multi-trade you're never going to pay as much as you will with British Gas, e.on or NPower to get your boiler installed, we don't provide cheap boiler installations. With a boiler installation, you'll generally get what you pay for and it's worth paying to have a new boiler installed correctly and to a high standard. You'll find a good article on what makes a good boiler installation here.
Do I need to service a boiler regularly?
Well, does a car need a regular service? Only if you want to keep it running reliably and efficiently. We recommend that you have your boiler serviced each year. Well we would, wouldn't we!? But if you can only stretch to every 2 years, this is better than nothing. Servicing your boiler ensures that it is working at it's maximum performance and safety.
Do you recommend a particular brand of boiler?
There are several very good central heating boiler manufacturers. Vaillant, Worcester Bosch, Baxi and Potterton probably make the best performing and most reliable boilers. Astonishingly, 2 of those manufacturers are British and one is half British! The remaining one and a half is German - hence their reliability and Teutonic efficiency. The fact that Britian stills manufactures anything at all may be because individual domestic gas central heating systems are a peculiarly British phenomenon.
Whatever the reason, they are premium brands and thus cost more money. However, when it comes to boilers, as with many other things in life, you get what you pay for. You'll live to regret installing a cheap boiler when you're replacing it earlier than anticipated. And as 50% of the cost of an installation is labour, you can see that scrimping on the boiler itself is a false economy.
Why have my radiators got hot and cold spots?
If your radiator has hot and cold spots, 'dead' spots or is hot at the top and cold at the bottom, it probably means that you have a sludge build up in the bottom of the radiator. A power flush will usually resolve this issue. However, before taking any action give us a call. We will send an engineer to identify the cause of the sludge first. Because it may be for example, that you have a water leak.
Some of my radiators are hotter than others. Why is this?
Your central heating system is most likely incorrectly balanced. Thus, hot water doesn't flow evenly to each radiator. Best to give us a call for this one and we'll send out an engineer.
I'm not getting enough hot water from my combination boiler. Why is this?
We're assuming here that you used to get more hot water out of the system in the past than you do at present. If you've never had enough hot water, you've probably had an incorrectly sized boiler fitted. But if you've noticed this recently, it sounds like a scaling problem. Over time, scale deposits build up inside the central heating system - much like a kettle. Hot water actually accelerates the formation of calcium deposits in hard water, so eventually all heating systems face this problem. The deposits inhibit the flow of water through the system and so everything becomes less efficient. More strain is put onto the working parts and this is where parts start to fail.
There are several possible solutions - from a boiler service to a power flush and magnetic filter installation. Call us and we'll send an engineer to give you an accurate diagnosis.
What is a Thermostatic Radiator Valve?
A Thermostatic Radiator Valve aka a TRV, allows you to control the temperature in individual rooms around your home. It can also help you reduce your fuel bills by automatically adjusting the radiator temperature once your room has reached its desired level. TRVs are attached to individual radiators. It is now a legal requirement to fit them onto radiators in certain rooms of a property when installing a new central heating system.
If I install new boiler, how much can I save on my heating bill?
Without looking into our crystal ball, our boiler manufacturing friends tell us that you can save up to 40% on your heating bills with a modern boiler. This of course depends on a myriad of factors. Not least, how inefficient your old boiler was! But, as you will be aware, the size of your home, how often you use your heating system, the insulation you have in your home and the type of boiler you have fitted, will all factor in the size and cost of your heating bills. At Multi-trade we offer free site surveys. This enables us to assess your requirements and give you a more accurate idea of what you could save once you've installed a new boiler.
OK, I'm having a new central heating system installed? Do I need to move out?
Well, it's not as drastic as that. But installing a new system can involve fitting new gas pipes. Sometimes they need to run along walls or under floorboards. So it can be disruptive to the household. However, we aim to ensure that this disruption in your home is kept to a minimum and we are just as keen as you to ensure that the job is completed on time and to a high standard.
Are your engineers Gas Safe (formerly CORGI) registered?
We only use Gas Safe registered heating engineers. It makes life easier for everyone involved if the engineer is registered with Gas Safe. So, we will never send anyone to your property who isn't. You can always check the validity of an engineer with Gas Safe themselves. Click here to find out. Also, a Gas Safe engineer will always be carrying their registration card. If they're not - don't let them in! Finally, at Multi-Trade, all our contractors have an identity card. If they don't have one - they don't work with Multi-Trade!
Is Multi-trade Gas Safe registered?
Yes, it is. And our registration number is 557596. But it's a very good question. Because as a business you don't have to be. We still insist that all our engineers are fully qualified gas engineers. We don't have the time or inclination to start a training academy for plumbers and heating engineers. In the final analysis, the best way to keep gas engineers motivated to complete their jobs to the highest standard, is for them to answer to a governing body. A governing body that they have invested many thousands of pounds in and will ultimately prosecute them or strike them off if the engineer works outside of their strict procedures.
Many other heating and plumbing companies employ trainees. Hey - they're not all bad! But what it can mean is that the engineer that arrives at your house is not fully qualified. He or she certainly won't be experienced. They might take longer or even fail to diagnose a problem that an experienced engineer would identify correctly and quickly. Any work a trainee does must be signed off by a Gas Safe registered company or engineer. And there you have a gap in responsibilty. All our engineers are legally responsible for all their work. Don't worry. It's all underwritten by Multi-Trade, but we can now ensure that corners are not cut. This is a much better proposition for Multi-trade and its customers. All our engineers are registered with a minimum of 3 years experience. And if you know anything about our recruitment procedure, you'll know that we only take the best.
What is Gas Safe anyway?
Gas Safe is the official body for regulating gas safety in the United Kingdom, Isle of Man and Guernsey. This body replaced CORGI in Great Britain and the Isle of Man on the 1st April 2009. Although CORGI will still be recognised as an accreditation for gas central heating engineers in the short term, Gas Safe is now the official accreditation. It is run by Capita - the same company responsible for the congestion charge...
OK, so what is Benchmark?
Benchmark is an initiative launched to improve quality within the heating industry. All competent heating installers will be aware of benchmark standards. Virtually every boiler sold in the UK comes with its own log book which should be fully completed by the installer and handed back to you once your new boiler has been installed and commissioned. This log book becomes your certificate of compliance with all relevant building regulations and your guarantee. No certificate, no guarantee.
What's this business about building control and gas installations?
If you are installing a new boiler, it now has to comply with the regulations set out by the Building Control Body. Specifically, it should conform to Part L1 of the Building Regulations that relate to the conservation of fuel and power. Unless, however, these conflict with the manufacturers explicit instructions which supercede those laid down by building control. It's all not very interesting. And that's exactly why you should leave the installation of gas powered appliances to professionals. Like us!
What if I don't comply and use a non registered installer?
This is not a wise thing to do. Your boiler warranty is invalid if you do not have a letter of compliance from Gas Safe given to you by the installer. And of course, the installation might not be safe. Finally, if you call a Gas Safe engineer to repair it or obtain a document for it's installation - they will be legally bound to condemn your boiler if you do not have the correct documents.
Do I have to have a condensing boiler?
No. You only have a condensing boiler fitted if it is reasonable to do so. The law recognises that non-condensing boilers are acceptable if it's too difficult to install a condensing boiler in your home. We will tell you whether your circumstances are too difficult to allow this.
What type of condensing boiler do I need?
Of course, we can advise you on what boiler is suitable for your property. But in answer to the question, there are several different types of high-efficiency condensing boiler. In a domestic capacity you're likely to come across Combination boilers and system boilers.
Each of them deliver all the benefits of high-efficiency technology, but which one you choose will depend on several factors, including the size of your property, your lifestyle and the professional advice of the engineer. Generally system boilers are more powerful appliances designed for homes with muliple bathrooms and showers.
So what is a combi boiler?
At last we come to the combi boiler or combination boiler. The high efficiency condensing combination boiler is an engineering wonder of the late 20th Century. It's an ingenious space saving appliance and an increasingly popular choice for homes in the UK - and especially the densely populated conurbation known as London. In fact, in the UK, combination boilers now account for well over half of all new domestic boilers installed every year.
The major difference between a combi and any other type of boiler is that the combination boiler eliminates the need to store hot water. It heats water on demand and therefore eradicates the requirement for a cylinder to store hot water. Hot water cylinders have been stealing cupboard space for years. The combination boiler now allows Londoners to use this space for clothes storage, general cupboard space or indeed to rent it out to a friend for £400 per month.
The combination boiler is both a high efficiency water heater and a central heating boiler, combined - hence the name. This compact unit is usually wall mounted in the kitchen or utility room. You might sometimes discover one hiding in an airing cupboard. And as discussed, they occupy those small spaces because they don't need a hot water storage cylinder, a cold water storage cistern or any other familiar components of a regular (conventional) heating system.
Please tell me about the benefits of installing a combination boiler?
More benefits?! Well, apart from the space saving aspect, combination boilers offer significant savings on hot water costs. The hot water is delivered through your taps or shower at mains pressure which makes for powerful showering without the need for a pump. Generally, you'll save money on the installation time and costs. Because there is no tank to install it means less pipe work and a shorter installation time.
What about the Boiler Scrappage scheme? Can I get some money back?
I'm afraid Labour lost the last election and so all the 'free' money has gone. That boat has set sail for Narnia and I'm afraid you've missed it.
Why do I need a commercial plumber?
Well, commercial plumbers are qualified to work on industrial sized boilers and high pressure gas systems with larger pipes. It may very well be that even if you have a commercial premises you still only have a domestic sized boiler. Technically, if you have pipework that is 35mm in diameter or over and a boiler with 70KW capacity or higher, you will need a commercial gas engineer to install or repair it.
But call us on 020 8798 9250, we can advise you or alternatively for a definitive answer, contact Gas Safe Register on 0800 498 5577.
Flues in voids and ceiling spaces? What does it mean?
A flue takes fumes away from the boiler. It is an essential part of the boiler and therefore is an important part of any safety check. A flue in poor condition with a boiler that is not working properly, could put you and your family in danger from carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon Monoxide can cause death or serious injury.
Some properties, mainly flats and apartments, have been built with boiler flues which cannot be inspected because they are hidden behind walls or ceilings. If this applies to you, then will need to arrange for inspection hatches to be fitted. From 1 January 2013, any Gas Safe registered engineer will turn the boiler off, with your permission and formally advise you not to use it until inspection hatches have been fitted in appropriate places. This means that you will not be able to get a Gas Safety certificate issued in this instance - which will have repercussions for letting out your property.
For further information on this topic please go to The Gas Safe Register website .
What is Benchmark?
Benchmark is a nationally recognised scheme that places responsibilities on gas installers to ensure best practice in installation, commissioning and servicing of domestic heating and hotwater products. Thus an installation must adhere to the Building Regulations in England and Wales.
Multi-trade is redistered with Benchmark and we have our own Benchmark commissioning checklist. This document is isssued to all Multi-trade Gas engineers and completed with each and every new boiler or gas central heating installation. You can see a picture of one of the Multi-trade Benchmark checklist forms, if you really want to!