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Boiler spec? Is a boiler a boiler?

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Can anyone offer advice on boiler specification when installing a new combi?


As part of a refurb on a 2bed flat I am intending on replacing the rather antiquated boiler, and removing the hot water tank and associated parts. A plumbing & heating engineer (recommended by a friend) has priced to install a new Worcester  (32 CDi Compact) Combi boiler, which all seems fine, however, following subsequent conversations with another plumber it seems that Worcester are the Rolls Royce of boilers and he recommends something much more keenly priced for a rental property. 


Now, I have many years of experience in restoring classic vehicles and can appreciate inherent differences in build quality / engineering standards and hence longevity, and the sensory pleasures to be had on a sunny day; in listening to a well tuned engine, feeling how the chassis and suspension work beneath you on country roads, and smiling as the beautifully designed interior provides a comfortable place from which to absorb these experiences.


But is a boiler a boiler? What will a £1000 boiler give me that a £600 won't? Improved reliability? Will it last 20 years? Smaller service costs and longer intervals? Will it be a pleasure to listen to?


All thoughts and advice appreciated.




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Hi Peter 

Different installers prefer different manufacturers just as you might prefer a Mercedes to a BMW.

Worcester, Vaillant and Viessmann are your top end boiler manufacturers and the likes of ideal, baxi/potterton/main (same company) are also decent but generally priced lower. I would avoid a manufacturer you've not heard of and buy a boiler that has a minimum of a 5 year warranty.

When having a new boiler installed make sure the installer flushes the system and installs a magnaclean or similar filter. These two steps alone are a great help in ensuring the longevity of whatever boiler you decide on.

I've had boilers from Ideal, Potterton, Viessmann, Worcester, Vaillant, Baxi and they have all been reliable. Have a look at the Ideal logic plus combi boiler, if i were to have one installed at this moment in time then thats the one i would go for as it represents good bang for buck and is backed up by a long warranty. Of course others may have a different prefrence ;).

Regards, Paul 

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Good advice Paul - I would have said the same - only thing that I would add is that is depends what you are installing the boiler for.  If it is to flip you may think that the cheaper route is one worth taking to squeeze your margins.

However, if it is for you to rent out go absolutely with Paul's advice.  If you intend to have the property a while it is false economy to install a cheap boiler and you will be buying yourself trouble.  I see it too often with penny pinching landlords paying out to fix tat boilers far too soon and ending up paying multiples.  Power flushing the system is also a must as you will invalidate any warranties if you do not have it done.

I have a boiler still going strong installed in 2001 - serviced every year and only minor mechanical items changed - It's a Worcester!!!:)

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Hi Tim,


Thanks for your reply, much appreciated. The Worcester is tempting as they do offer a very long warranty, and I do intend to keep hold of the property. A little more research and final chats with plumbers to go.




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Hi Peter.


I've fitted around 15 Vokera boilers on 7 year warranties and they're absolutely fine. Go for a mid-range boiler. Don't be a cheap skate, but don't go all out either.


And stay away from wireless thermostats. The tenants can't work them and you'll be forever getting phone calls on them. 


Best of luck.






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Hi Peter


My boiler is a Baxi and we have had them in out 3 times in the last 4 years for various problems luckily all under guarantee as it is a 5 year. The boiler service engineers opinion was over engineered and that a Glow- worm are less complex and more reliable. If you know a service engineer he's probably the best person to ask. My which report rates the Worchester-Bosch brand.


Hope it helps





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