Saturday, 26 November 2016

Does Our Industry Lack Morals

I am returning to the subject of the Retro Boiler Labels.

We see the term Energy Efficiency used a lot these days, but I think the term is been misused, or misunderstood, it is not been looked at from the most important point, the energy costs to the members of the public, Energy Efficiency seems to be more focused on the Governments unachievable targets on reducing emissions.

The latest Retro Boiler Label is yet another gimmick in my opinion just to increase boiler sales, using the "Energy Efficiency" phrase to try and fool the public, this will be driven by manufacturers and Merchants alike, the latest figures show a drop in boiler sales, so a new tactic had to be found to try and boost sales and its pushed onto installers to acheive it.

The public are not interested in so called Energy Efficiency unless it saves them money on their fuel costs, just having an A Rated boiler fitted does not automatically mean your Gas costs will be reduced, and I think it is very misleading to suggest this to the public, there is more to a heating system than the boiler, there are also other factors that should be looked at first before suggesting changing the boiler to save customers money on their energy bills, instead of pushing the Retro Boiler Label nonsense the HHIC should be promoting good and honest advice, in my opinion the following is what should be promoted to the public before pushing to have a new boiler

1. Get the public more aware about looking at changing their energy suppliers, simply changing your supplier and getting on a better tariff can save quite a large amount of money annually.

2. Raise awareness of insulation, "Keep The Heat In", increasing loft insulation and getting cavity walls insulated is a very cost effective way to reduce on energy consumption.

3. Windows, if a property has single glazed windows, or old poorly installed double glazing this will lead to increased energy costs, I always believe that working to improve the thermal envelope of a building is far more important than having an A Rated boiler, you could fit what you consider the best energy efficient boiler in the world and connect it to the best heating system in the world, but if the thermal envelope of the building is poor and heat loss is high, then running costs of the heating system will be much higher than they should be and make the installation of an A Rated boiler pointless.

4. Upgrading heating controls, simply fitting new heating controls that are more accurate and more user friendly will help reduce running costs, I go to quite a few properties where the time clock no longer works and so the user has the heating on constant just using the old room thermostat to control the system, a room stat that probably is quite out of calibration on its room temperature reading capability

5. Make the public more aware of the importance of having their boiler serviced annually and as an industry we need to encompass the whole system as part of annual servicing, check water quality, expansion vessel pre-charge pressure, on systems that you are servicing for the first time check that the expansion vessel is sized sufficiently for the system, bleed radiators, checking for possible causes of any suspected oxygen ingress, check that the radiators are balanced and that any TRV's are functioning correctly

Personally I would never replace a working boiler in the name of "Energy Efficiency" because I do not believe it is an efficient use of the homeowners money, simply saying that an old but working boiler is costing them money in energy use and then saying they should pay out in the region of £2,000.00 and upwards as a means to save money makes no sense to me.

So to me this Retro Boiler Label is a pointless gimmick and one I will ignore, I think Paul Ferguson on Twitter summed it up very well when he Tweeted "Good engineers will advise when a boiler has reached the end of its working life, Cowboys find opportunities" well in my opinion the Retro Boiler Label been promoted by HHIC is an opportunity for the cowboys to replace boilers unnecessarily, but will the manufacturers and merchants care, I doubt it, as they will be selling boilers


  1. A lot of us are thinking exactly the same.

  2. All good points well made Chris. It is down to the true professionals to give good guidance and advice on what is genuinely in the customers best interest. Sometimes it may be a boiler that is best to change other times not, it all depends on the holistic approach. Especially a customer who has a "zombie" boiler is probably living in an older less well insulated house, with draughty double glazing and maybe uninsulated cavity walls or thin loft insulation and the saving in getting that sorted would trump any upgrade of boiler in terms of payback. And we must remember that the savings are only the difference of what is currently being burnt to produce the required heat vs the amount of heat that can be "recovered" from the waste products of combustion, a house leaking heat like a sieve will always have a high heat demand, get it insulated.
    Changing the boiler and holistically, with self learning weather compensated automatically variable supply temperature controls, to maximise the thermal envelope of the building may be a route to go but whats the point of installing a "new" condensing boiler to have it sit at 70/80 degC and not go into its condensing mode for the majority of the year? Then you have a boiler that is not maximizing its own potential?
    Its a complete folly to install a condensing boiler without WC controls to take and maximise the seasonal efficiency, in my opinion