Boilers are rarely the first thing on the mind of a first-time home buyer. They tend to be tucked away in airing cupboards or kitchen corners and are not as sexy as the cooker or the walk-in shower.
Let’s be honest – some people only know that water comes from the tap and heat from the radiator. Anything beyond this is a complete mystery.
Failing to check the condition of a boiler before buying a property can be an expensive mistake. The charm of a new home fades rapidly when you are shivering around a fan heater or taking a bath in an inch of water. New boilers range from a few hundred pounds to a few thousand, but labour costs and making good the décor can double this.
Although the boiler is usually an item on a surveyor’s report, many home buyers learn the hard way that surveyor’s reports are not always good value for money.
Conversely, surveyors often recommend that central heating systems are tested, but this doesn’t mean there is a problem. Don’t rely on the surveyor – check the model, quality, age and service history of the boiler for yourself.
Age is not the opposite of quality
Modern boilers are said to last for 10-15 years. An older one is cause for concern, but you shouldn’t judge by age alone. Many cheap modern combis installed with government subsidies a few years ago proved to have life spans a good deal shorter. Conversely, many older types of boiler have been going for many years with no trouble. If the system has regularly been maintained and inspected, there is every chance it will keep going for a few more years.
Judging whether it is wise to change an old system for a modern combi is difficult. If your property is in the South West, get advice from a specialist such as http://www.hprservicesltd.com that provides boiler installation in Cheltenham, Gloucester and the surrounding region. At current energy prices, a major consideration should be its fuel economy.
Ask for inspection and service histories
In rented accommodation, gas boilers have to be inspected annually. Privately occupied homes are under no obligation to do this, and most don’t; however, it is wise to make gas safety and boiler checks a condition of your offer.