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Back Boiler Replacement Costs & Quotes - 2024 Guide

UK back boiler replacement costs guide for 2024

What is a back boiler?

Many of us have heard of back boilers, but are unsure what they really are. When it comes to boilers, there are two main types: back boilers and front boilers. Back boilers are unique as they have a smaller profile than most other types of boiler and sit behind the recess of a traditional fireplace. It does not actually sit in front. As a result, they take up less space than most boilers as they put heat behind and under the fire instead. A simple design that is easy to build means a boiler will last longer than products that are built with more modern technology.

The popularity of boilers during the 1960s can be attributed to a few key factors. Firstly, they could be placed in areas where space was at a premium. Secondly, they were less expensive than their regular counterparts.

In the beginning, they were designed to serve as an extra heat source. But it turned out they were so much more. These ingenious devices were modified and improved until they eventually became the primary source of heat for private homes!

Of course, technology has moved on since these boilers were built so they've been superseded in some respects. This might mean they're more expensive to run because they require giving off extra heat which then results in extra bills as you need to pay for more energy.

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What about efficiency?

One of the major drawbacks of back boilers is their efficiency levels. They are generally only around 78% efficient, in comparison to the 98% levels attainable from condensing boilers. Government and EU regulations, which require a minimum 86% energy efficiency rating for all boilers, have driven many people away from back boilers.

When using a boiler, natural gas burns to heat water that is transferred to your home. This is not only destructive to the environment, but also inefficient; it wastes money. To make things worse, less efficient boilers are costlier in the long run; replacing your back boiler with a condensing boiler will help you save money.

If you have a poor energy efficient boiler, you could be doing the environment harm in addition to increasing your heating bills. Replacing old, inefficient boilers with condensing models could save the average family more than £155 a year and 610kgs of CO2.

Back boiler safety

Another issue for homeowners or potential homeowners who have a back boiler installed in their homes is safety. After installing the boiler, owners must regularly test it and make sure it is working correctly and efficiently. Even after a few years, old water inside the system can create pressure and cause an explosion.

Back boilers, although convenient and reliable, are not as efficient as newer boiler types. Combination boilers are more common, and the more efficient Baxi Bermuda BBU HE has been released.

There are a few options if you have an old boiler at home and want to upgrade. We've discussed the associated costs for these options and boiler prices so that you can become informed and make the best decision for yourself.

Replacing back boilers

If you have a back boiler that is not functioning properly or is broken, it is likely that a heating engineer will not replace it with another one. This is because older models are usually very inefficient and sometimes pose a safety risk. If you cannot repair the boiler, you may want to upgrade to a new conventional boiler or a modern combi boiler so your system can run safely and efficiently.

When you upgrade, you'll save money on your energy bills and have hot water faster than before. If you've been a big fan of your back boiler which has finally broken, unfortunately, you won't be able to replace it.

Let's take a look at some average pricing for a typical, back boiler to combi boiler conversion. In these example prices, your boiler will be replaced and your system re-piped to work alongside it. You will receive a new heating filter and chemical flush as well as upgraded controls


Is yours a BAXI Bermuda back boiler?

The BAXI Bermuda is one of the most popular brands of back boiler in the UK. So much so that the saying became, “If you’ve got a back boiler, you’ve got a BAXI Bermuda.” If you’ve got one of these boilers in your house, just look for the model number or the BAXI name on under the flap.

BAXI Bermuda back boilers are a quick and easy way to get hot water into your home. They’re all but extinct now, thanks to a lack of parts available which means they’re hard to maintain and repair. The BAXI Bermuda range has been superseded by the BAXI Valera Plus and the BAXI Grandee oil boilers. However, even for these two models parts are becoming increasingly difficult to find.

Back boiler removal & replacement costs

If you were to upgrade your heating system and install a brand new boiler, then there are two ways you can deal with your older back boiler.

Removing a back boiler and replacing with a modern combi or regular model

There is no way to remove the back boiler without damage to the fireplace and the chimney. Thus, you'll need to have your fireplace and mantle reconstructed, as well as a section of your floor underneath it that has been covered by the back boiler.

Here's an overview of the process should you decide to replace an existing back boiler with a more modern solution:

  • Removal of fireplace/mantle
  • Removal of the existing fireplace and mantlepiece if needed to access the boiler.
  • Complete and safe removal of the back boiler.
  • Rebuilding of any fireplace and mantle works which may require the skills of a builder.
  • New combi boiler installation in a suitable location.
  • Required pipework for new boiler (at this point it is a standard boiler installation).
  • Complete new flue installation to suit your new boiler.

Average cost of back boiler removal

If you opt to have a combi boiler installed, it will likely be the most expensive method and should cost no more than £3,250 - £4,500. Sure, it's the most expensive option. But if you want hot water and central heating without relying on a back boiler, the price is worth it.

Combi boiler advantages

  • Hugely efficient in use, with A rated models having a minimum 86% energy efficiency rating.
  • Cheap purchase and installation price.
  • Significantly reduced energy bills.
  • Very easy to install, with minimal space required and simple pipework.

Combi boiler disadvantages

  • Overall lifespan is less than that of a back boiler.
  • New pipework will need to be installed.
  • Older back boilers are still considered more reliable.
  • A new flue will need to be installed in place of using the chimney.

Upgrading to a Baxi Bermuda BBU HE

The Baxi Bermuda BBU HE is a ready made boiler replacement which offers its customers an easy to install solution, without sacrificing any of the efficiency, reliability and longevity that you’ve become accustomed to, and love about The Bermuda.

The benefits of having a Baxi Bermuda BBU HE are immense, and long lasting. Nowadays most property owners are looking for ways to reduce their energy bills and become as energy efficient as possible in order to save money on fuel. However, many people don’t realize until it is too late that they can replace their old unreliable back boiler and do exactly that with the purchase of a new generation energy saving back boiler.

The new Bermuda BBU HE is more energy efficient than the old unit due to the combination of the boiler unit and water tank. It burns 15 kilowatts and has a 5.7 kilowatt excess power, meaning it is 30% more efficient than the older model. The BBU HE is rated SEDBUK A and has an A+ kWh rating.

The Baxi Bermuda BBU HE can be found for around £1000, which will increase based on available front options. The price will also be affected by installer costs, which are higher than the cost of installing a combi boiler. The difficult of access and the need for a new chimney liner make the installation of back boilers costly.

Decommissioning your back boiler and installing a new combi or regular

Decommissioning the old boiler can be a little tricky. There are a few things you need to consider. If your old boiler is not connected to your central heating, then it shouldn't affect what happens with your new heating in any way.

Once the boiler has been decommissioned it can be left in place, so there is no need for any additional building works to your fireplace or mantle which saves both time, money and a lot of mess. From thereon the boiler installation process is a straightforward one.

Average back boiler decommissioning costs

It could potentially save you as much as £1,000 to have the back boiler decommissioned instead of removed entirely. If a Gas Safe engineer has declared it safe to decommission the back boiler without its removal, it is up to you to decide whether you want that or not.

Decommissioning a back boiler and then installing a combination boiler is becoming increasingly common. Its popularity can be attributed to improved efficiency and added mod cons like: increased hot water capacity, the ability to control the heating via an app on your phone, and other bells and whistles.

Combination boilers aren't quite as reliable as the old back boiler. The new models have all sorts of features and are far more efficient, but they don't hold up to the old-style heating systems. Combination boilers last about 10 years.

Retaining your existing back boiler

Your back boiler may not be as energy efficient as the new models, but it will last you a lot longer and save you money in the long term. They are simpler machines too, so they have fewer parts that can break down. It may cost you more to get it serviced regularly, but a back boiler can save you money over the newer models.

It's simple: the cost of back boiler repair and maintenance is less than that of a modern boiler. A back boiler is fundamentally a very simple machine, its inefficiencies are limiting factors. It does not need expending to heat water like modern boilers on the market. Also, you will not need to buy expensive electricity from your utility company to keep it going.

Advantages of back boilers

  • It will save the large outlay or purchasing and installing a new boiler.
  • When serviced regularly your existing back boiler should continue to be reliable when serviced.

Disadvantages back boilers

  • The inefficiency associated with back boilers will always cost you more money when compared to modern boilers.
  • Lack of available parts makes servicing and repairs increasingly difficult.
  • They can be undesirable when looking to buy or sell a property.
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