Why buying your boiler online could be a bad idea.
In the last few years consumers have been making more of their purchases online than ever before. If you need a new outfit, two clicks and you can get it the next day. If you need a new kettle you can browse hundreds of makes, colours and shapes. Then compare spec’s, costs and reviews; all from your sofa.
Our modern technological age has made shopping for anything unbelievably convenient and as a result made us all impatient, if we want it, then we want it now.
In the last year we have seen this bridge over into the boiler and heating industry, companies offering instant online prices for new boilers with next day installation available. You can now survey your new boiler, fill in a quick form and get a price on your phone and have it fitted tomorrow. Great right? I mean, you buy everything else online so why not your boiler?
You cannot speak to a local heating engineer nowadays who isn’t worried about these large national companies stealing their work, but it isn’t just installers who this could be bad for.
The question to be asked: is buying a boiler from a faceless, online company really what’s best for you and your family?
“I don’t have time for a survey”
For some people the convenience of this option is fantastic. We all have busy schedules, so who wants to take an afternoon out of work to get quotes for a new boiler? For the Gas Engineer to then let you down or never call you back with a price. The answer comes from one very simple question:
What is the best way to convert a 4 piped, floor standing, open vent, balanced flue boiler to a fully pumped, multi zoned, heating system and Condensing Boiler?
Don’t know? Good answer, it means you have a life, but if you don’t know the answer to the above how could you know what boiler you need to purchase from your fancy online website?
A good surveyor is there to advise you of what heating system is best for you. They should have years of experience and the knowledge of which boiler will give you the most comfort and save you the most money on your heating bills as there are some things Google cannot tell you.
Yes, you may need to take an afternoon off work, but the advice could help to save you hundreds of pounds on your installation and possibly even more on your energy bills in the long run.
“But they can install tomorrow”
Let me ask another question. In the peak of winter, when you can’t get your local heating engineer out for a week to look at your system, how good do you think the engineer is who (until you just placed your order) had nothing to do the next day?
“Heating Season” is from August until March- if an engineer is not busy during this time there is probably a reason why.
A good gas engineer will be in high demand, especially in the winter, but your new boiler should last for years; how many years depends on the quality of your installation.
Most of these websites also use Sub-contractors and will favour the engineers willing to work for the cheapest labour to maximise profits, sometimes for miles away from where you live. How quickly do you think they will be at your door if something goes wrong?
“It’s only a boiler”
Let’s be honest, a new boiler is probably the most boring thing you will ever buy for your house. A white box on the wall that you shouldn’t ever think about unless it goes wrong and to make it worse, they’re expensive.
A basic installation with a decent boiler, like a Worcester-bosch or Vaillant, will cost you in the area of £2000 (or the same as a 10 night 5* all-inclusive holiday to Mexico). But your new boiler should be keeping your family warm for at least the next 10 years.
According to Energy Saving Trust If your current boiler is over 10 years old you could also be saving up to £300/ year on your heating bills, not to mention your savings on expensive boiler repairs.
But all of this depends on you having the right boiler for your house and for you. For example:
If you live in a Victorian 3 bed 2 bathroom house and you would like to take out your old boiler and cylinder and have a new combination boiler Installed. If you were to add these details into an online survey it would probably recommend a 38 – 40 kw combi Boiler with a 18l/min flow rate. Costing you well into £3500-£4000.
Here’s the catch: you actually have two bathrooms with electric showers and no baths. So your new combi boiler will only be supplying two basins and a kitchen sink. Therefore something like a ‘Worcester-Bosch 29CDi Classic’ with a 12l/min flow rate would be ample, and probably £1000 cheaper.
The only way to know this is from an experienced surveyor with your best interest at heart.
“So what should I do?”
There will always be some situations where this new online option is fantastic for some consumers. My only advice would be to make sure you keep your options open. I always get three quotes for any work and would advise my customers to do the same.
If you want to get a quote from an online site that’s fine. But I would also try to get local companies in to take a look and help you make the right decision. Yes it may cause you some inconvenience and you may end up going with the online company anyway, but at least you know you have made an educated decision and made the most of some expert advice.