Without a doubt, a clunky system and an ancient boiler are the sort of things that even the biggest perfectionists will tend to put up with until things reach crisis point.
Here, we take the bull by the horns and examine what is involved, and how much it is likely to cost you. Take a look, you can’t keep ignoring it forever!
What is involved?
The system is essentially comprised of a heat source that is linked to a number of heat outlets. In normal English, that typically means a boiler that is linked up to a set of radiators, but in some cases it could mean renewable heat sources, such as solar panels, and alternative types of heat outlets, including hot air systems and underfloor heating.
If your boiler is at, or beyond, the end of its useful life, you can certainly consider simply replacing it and connecting the new one up to the existing system. However, this limits your flexibility as to the type of boiler and the fuel it uses.
If the radiators and pipework are old, it is really worth biting the bullet and replacing them with modern ones. As well as being more reliable and efficient, these will be able to live with the increased pressure of a system or combi boiler, if that is your choice.
The typical choices are oil, gas or electricity, and while it is possible to change from one type to another, it will all add to the cost. There are pros and cons to all, but in general an electric system is clean and simple, but only really practical in a flat or small house. A gas boiler can be a good choice if you live in an area where mains gas is available, but is a specialist area that must only be installed by a gas safe engineer. A leaking system can have fatal consequences for you and your loved ones.
The most popular choice is an oil fuelled boiler. Recent technological innovations mean that you can still go for the combi or system option even with an oil boiler, which alongside the great deals available for cheap heating oil, mean there is very little to be gained in changing from an oil system to a gas one.
What will it cost?
Of course, it really depends on how much you need to replace, but for a full system installation you will need a boiler, potentially a hot water cylinder and a cold water tank (depending on whether you go for a conventional or a combi system), radiators, pipework, the various system controls and, of course, labour costs.
As a ballpark figure, a central heating system being installed from scratch into a three-bedroom property would cost something in the region of £3,500 to £4,500. Bear in mind that this can fluctuate hugely, depending on the size of the property and the type of boiler you choose.