Making Sure Your New Boiler and Supplier Meets Long Term Needs Too

In the highly competitive market for condensing boilers, any manufactures introducing a new product has to look carefully for a competitive advantage in order to achieve the desired market share. Today's condensing boilers are already recognised for their high energy efficiency and reliability, particularly as the overall drive towards energy efficiency and reductions in CO2 continues unabated. Today's installer and their customers, whether from the local authority/social housing or private residential markets, are looking for any extra attention to detail that may persuade them to specify one brand of condensing boiler over another or indeed can guarantee that it will have longevity and reliability of a warm air heating system.

One of the key areas for consideration when specifying a condensing boiler today is the integral pump. With the new generation of QuanTec boilers the pump is fully interchangeable at any time between a standard and a high efficiency version. Under the pending directive ErP 2013, the standard efficiency pump is being phased out next year. However, any standard efficiency pump which is an integral component of a boiler and has special features or modifications - such as a drain outlet - can be used until August 2015. After this time, OEM boiler manufacturers will no longer be able to purchase standard efficiency pumps and by the end of 2019, spares on these types of pumps that are integral to the boiler will also be unavailable.

QuanTec Boiler

The question that installers and their customers need to consider now is whether to select a product with a standard or high efficiency pump, or indeed a boiler that is future proofed and adaptable to ErP 2013. A high efficiency pump can save around £40 per year in running costs due to its operational efficiency. Arguably a more important consideration is the potential future costs for a customer who decides to opt for a boiler today that may be cheaper up front, as it includes a standard efficiency pump, but much more expensive in the long term. It's worth noting that as many as 40% of condensing boilers available to buy today do not have high efficiency pumps, let alone the ability to upgrade to them after 2019.

There are many other areas of condensing boiler design and manufacture that are continuously addressed by manufactures to give them a competitive edge. Design innovation and build quality remain key performance indicators for specifiers and the performance of today's wet systems match that of warm air systems - although of course the actual method of heat delivery differs.

Build quality has been strenuously addressed to include, for example, the use of full condense stainless steel heat exchanger technology as it is by far the most durable material. Guarantees of many years are offered on the heat exchangers to inspire customer confidence. Heating controls now generally have reliability beyond question and low power consumption, whilst operational noise levels are lower than ever.

Overall, manufacturers have an continue to respond to the requests of installers and their customers. An installer led design process can provide a product which is easy to install and maintain, innovative and of high quality. Johnson & Starley, for example, held a series of installer forums as part of its extensive research programmes building up to the launch of its 2012 QuanTec range of combi system and regular boilers. These forums helped to ensure that the new products were designed to a specification , ease of installation, serviceability and not a price.

As a result, design features such as a compact cabinet - with QuanTec a 25% reduction in size in the combi model with integral passive flue gas heat recovery, compared with the company's previous generation of similar specification of boiler. Furthermore, from a maintenance viewpoint, the ability to change the fan in a matter of seconds reflects the needs of the installers who took part in the forums.

Long term value for money, life time costing’s, including maintenance and future proofing, are vital considerations not just in the local authority market but also in the increasingly informed residential property owner.

In terms of life time costs, a boiler with passive flue gas heat recovery represents the most efficient way of recycling heat and offering optimum energy efficiency. in addition to isothermic advantages, this type of boiler can give DHW (Domestic Hot Water) efficiency levels never achieved before in combi boilers with the addition of a pre-heating sanitary water function which results in the lowest possible flue gas temperatures. The industry norm is approx. 85C but the QuanTec HR reduces this to 19C with virtually no pluming.

Manufactures more now than ever work closely with installers to ensure that their customers are provided with the most appropriate heating solution for any particular project. And suppliers who have a choice of solutions under one roof, backed up by locally UK based manufacturing, training and service have the potential to be more successful in a busy market place.

Indeed the ability of a manufacturer to offer other heating solutions beyond boilers is important. Contractors and their customers from the private and social housing sectors need to be able to choose exactly the right type of heating system for a particular project. therefore, the availability of wet and well established Warm Air Heating systems, as well as a range of innovative ventilation systems from a single source, will give the installer every opportunity to provide solutions that meet in full, the modern building standards and the drive for environmental improvement.

Often, in social housing organisations, one section may specify the heating system and another deal with the ventilation requirements. Bringing everyone together at the planning stage helps to overcome some of the issues that may be encountered after installation. Dealing with a single supplier who in effect offers a total home comfort package covering heating and ventilation requirements is a clear way forward.

Date published: 18/10/12