You can hardly surprise people with smart devices and other IoT gadgets, however, this new development is something entirely new – we’re talking about an emerging sub-discipline of IoT which is smart surfaces. It encompass a new generation of materials that are able to change their properties instigated by an external impulse.
Why are all central heating boilers so ugly? There is no denying that your combi boiler is not something you would have proudly on display. That’s why most homeowners will do whatever they can to hide it away. However, the housing market is changing and manufacturers have to respond to this change. With the general population increasing significantly, the average size of our properties keep reducing, meaning that a large portion of the future’s housing stock will come with tiny kitchens. How do you fit a boiler in a cupboard if all you have is a tiny gallery kitchen? Right, you can’t. That’s why Worcester Bosch has introduced what only seems like a logical step towards an inevitable interior design trend – stylish boiler.
Worcester Bosch Greenstar Lifestyle range is designed to not be hidden away. In fact, the new combi boiler is styled like a smartphone. It’s got sleek and bold lines, a glossy front panel and a control dashboard that fits onto the panel seamlessly, resembling a giant touch-screen. You can’t really go cooler than this.
When you choose the new Worcester Bosch Greenstar Lifestyle boiler, you will actually want more people to see it, thus saving space and money by not having to designate a cupboard for your heating installation. This is ideal for smaller properties and homeowners who have finished their kitchens in a glossy style.
The Lifestyle boilers are not just a good-looking gimmick. They are also packed with cutting edge technology. It’s packed with innovative features making the boiler more connected and more intelligent. Judging by the early reports, it looks like the new range will be able to integrate in your Smart Home by communicating with other IoT applications you might be currently running. The range will include boilers with power up to 50kW which is good enough to power larger homes with multiple bathrooms.
The Worcester Bosch Style range also features a novel intelligent filling system that will automatically refill the system with water if it drops below the dreaded 1 bar. It’s surprising that no-one has implemented this before as for many people refilling the boiler is something they keep forgetting or keep regarding as a huge annoyance. No more manual refilling from now on!
Worcester Bosch has recently launched an introduction campaign with a hashtag #BeautifulBeast putting the main emphasis on how the new boiler is relevant to the demands of aesthetics in modern interior design style.
The WB have been making boilers for more than half a century but they’ve never been particularly cutting edge when it comes to appearance, and you can safely say the same about any current boiler manufacturer out there, however, the future is here and WB have managed to get their foot on the ladder first – it is probably the first central heating boiler in the world to have been designed with aesthetic values in mind. Something tells me it’s just one of many – they have probably created a new trend that will attract followers. How long till we have a boiler with replaceable covers?
Greenstar Lifestyle Video:
Introducing the Greenstar 8000 Lifestyle Range - YouTube
Where to buy a Greenstar Lifestyle boiler?
They will become available soon. Please fill out the free quote form below and ask our customer representative about the new boiler range.
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It’s that time of the year again when Which? consumer association releases the updated boiler review. So if you’re wondering which boiler is better for you in 2019, you’ve come to the right place as we attempt to summarise the Which Best Buy Boiler report to point out the important bits.
Which begin their report by an interesting factoid – according to statistics, our “relationship” with a boiler usually lasts longer than the average marriage – 16.5 years versus 11.9 years. Since we’re stuck with with a boiler for such a long time, you will want to make sure you make the right choice because undoing a bad one is very expensive.
The Best boiler 2019 review is compiled from two different surveys – a narrow-niche professional survey involving professional boiler installers and a wider consumer survey. Which? had gathered information pertaining to boiler brand reliability, build quality, ease of servicing and other important factors.
They end up with a Brand Score metric spanning from 0 to 100%. The main 3 UK boiler brands – Worcester Bosch, Viessmann and Vaillant all hit it within the 80% bracket. WB scoring 86%, Viessmann 83% and Vaillant at 80%. In our opinion, the Brand Score is not necessarily a comprehensive metric because it partly consists of consumer’s comprehension of a brand’s value which is subjective. Clearly, Worcester Bosch is the best-known boiler brand in the UK and other manufacturers will struggle reaching their level of brand recognition.
How is Best Buy Score Created?
For us, the main nugget of information is within the Build Quality and Engineer Recommendation columns. This insight comes from heating engineers who work with these boiler brands on daily basis and have gained substantial amount of inside knowledge during the years. Incidentally, all 3 top-scorers have received 5 stars for build quality and overall recommendation.
In our opinion, although there are whole 6 percentage points between Worcester Bosch and Vaillant, you can choose Vaillant, save money and still end up with a top-quality boiler. Having said that, the majority of the boilers we install are Worcester Bosch, however, we are happy to recommend either – WB or Vaillant.
If we look beyond the Top 3, there’s quite a big gap emerging. Ideal and Baxi scoring 69% and 54% respectively. Engineers have remarked that it’s not easy to fix faults in these boilers, however, Ideal has done a lot of work to improve the situation as they’ve climbed the rankings compared to the Which Boiler Review 2018.
There are no surprises at the bottom of the heap. Ferroli has scored just 35% and it doesn’t seem like they are in control of the situation. Engineers have apparently lost all faith as Ferroli boilers keep suffering from poor build quality and cumbersome maintenance process.
Another consideration is how much a new boiler deteriorates during its first 7 years of operation. Fortunately, Which Best Buy Boiler review answers that question. Also, these findings reinforce the information that was displayed in the table – 90% of boilers manufactured by the Top 3 brands maintain fault-free operation during the first 4 years and 70% or more of the boilers are still fault-free after 7 years of operation. In comparison, Ferroli “roadworthiness” dips below 90% during the 2nd year of operation and swiftly deteriorates to 40% by year 7.
How do You Know if Which Reviews are Reliable?
The Which is one of the oldest consumer associations in the world. They were established in 1957 to test consumer products and provide unbiased 3rd party reviews. The annual boiler research is based on a survey from 12,000+ participants. You may argue that there is a strong bias towards relying upon non-professional opinion from consumers, however, it is the consumers who bear the brunt of faulty boilers, especially during the winter.
Asking consumers directly, is after all a good idea because you get unbiased feedback, especially if you query a large enough nuber of people. Backing up the end-user reviews is randomly selected 166 heating engineer reviews.
They are able to share opinion from a different angle, mainly concentrating on the technical aspects, build quality and ease of repairs. In fact, during the last few decades they’ve built up their power to a lever where they’re even lobbying MPs and Peers on national and international consumer issues. They have directly or indirectly contributed to many improvements in consumer rights and product quality.
This was a short recap of the Which Best Buy boiler review 2019. In our opinion, it’s safe to choose any of the Top 3 manufacturers as they’re all reliable and good value for money, however, we are able to offer an extended 12-year warranty on Worcester Bosch and Vaillant so it makes sense to stick with one of the two brands. If you’d like to find out how much it would cost to replace a boiler in your property, fill out the boiler quote below. It only takes 30 seconds.
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A faulty boiler sounds like a nightmare scenario for any household. It’s not much fun being stuck in a cold home with no hot water. Although modern boilers are relatively reliable, every boiler is bound to break down at least a couple of times during its lifetime. Even the most reliable boilers do break down – the question is how long is your manufacturer warranty period, how clued up is your heating engineer and how well you maintain your central heating boiler.
On average, outside of the manufacturer’s warranty period, each callout to a faulty boiler will cost you between £150 and £250 depending on what’s broken. Wrong choice when picking a new boiler model may end up costing a lot of money. One of the most widespread marketing messages in the boiler industry is that you can save a lot of money on fuel bills by installing a new A-rated boiler, however, if you get the wrong boiler, the expected savings may turn into unexpected expenses.
Have a look at out combi boiler comparison charts to see which ones offer the longer warranty periods. Another source of information is the annual boiler reports by Which – the consumer association testing consumer goods and publishing unbiased reviews on their findings. Worcester Bosch, Vaillant and Viessmann always appear within the top of their boiler reviews, however, the warranty period is different depending on who your installer is. Also the warranty terms may be different, so make sure your warranty includes all parts.
Boiler maintenance, as we mentioned before, is very important in keeping your costs down. Most common boiler faults surprisingly don’t include heat exchanger – the part that most people have heard of. It is actually the circuit board that fails more often. Incidentally, it’s also the most costly repair job – on average costing nearly £280 to put right. The cheapest and less costly repair job involves replacing a thermocouple – it only costs £80 – £90 to fix. The complete list of the most common boiler faults is included below.
Some boilers are so badly maintained that they can easily have a string of these repairs close by or even at the same time, making the repair bill skyrocket to ridiculous proportions. The best advice that can be given on boiler maintenance is making sure the boiler doesn’t overheat by working harder than necessary. Make sure your water temperature is not set to higher than 65C. Anything higher than that is really unnecessary.
Also it’s worth checking the radiators and venting the air out regularly. A tell-tale sign that there’s air or sludge present in a radiator is that its top/middle part is cooler than the edges. If you vent out the air and the middle is still cooler, it means there is sludge in the radiator. In this situation, the boiler will have to work harder than normal to keep the room temperature up.
It’s important to set your room thermostat to an optimal temperature. Be comfortable but don’t overheat the house. That way not only you will save money on fuel bills, you will also increase the work life of your boiler. Put the thermostat in the room that’s the warmest and most sheltered. If you place your thermostat in the coolest part of your house, the boiler will again work harder and your warmer rooms will overheat.
These simple tips will ensure that the most common boiler faults are going to be few and far between and help you save money on repair bills.
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When it comes to any type of appliance, ensuring it is maintained properly is a savvy thing to do as it prolongs the work life of the device. Combi boiler maintenance is always cheaper than replacing the appliance, especially a boiler that costs at least £2,500 to replace. With modern combi boilers there is not that much to do maintenance-wise from the homeowner’s perspective. Touching anything apart from the user controls would be outright dangerous, however, there are a few things you should look out for.
Keeping the Pressure in Check
All modern combi boilers will have a pressure dial on the front. Pressure may drop for various reasons and you need to top it up from time to time. This is not a difficult job and you don’t need to call the engineer every time the pressure drops. Make sure that you’re familiar with the user manual or get the installer to explain to you how to increase the water pressure when it drops. The normal range of pressure is between 1 and 1.5 bar. If it goes below 1, you need to top it up. If it suddenly rises, though, it’s time to call a plumber!
Use only as much as you consume
Always set the thermostat and the boiler temperature dial to the minimum acceptable figure. Overheating the house and then opening the windows to cool it down is not a savvy thing to do – it wastes money and reduces the lifespan of the heating system. When the warm season arrives, switch the boiler to the “hot water only” mode to prevent central heating switching on accidentally.
Powerflush for Combi Boiler Maintenance
Most homeowners will order full system cleanse before replacing a boiler, however, some boiler manufacturers recommend powerflush to be repeated at a regular intervals of two to three years. Speak to your installer and see if they recommend repeat powerflush. This practice will prevent sludge from building up in the pipework. Removing sludge and debris will increase boiler efficiency as heating up clean water is cheaper than heating up sludge and debris, and it will also prolong the life of the heating system.
Yearly Boiler Service
The best thing you can do for your combi boiler is to give it an annual service. This has to be done by a Gas-Safe registered professional. Carrying out regular servicing will help you catch issues early avoiding costly repairs or even boiler replacement. it also makes sense from the safety perspective. Like any gas appliance, a boiler can be dangerous if issues are not addressed properly.
Maybe not quite yet taking over but we’re definitely on a brink. So far most attempts at creating a coherent and helpful housekeeping robot have been pretty weak. At the same time research never stops and here and there an odd high-quality robot pops up. Most recent developments in the exciting field of creating bathroom robots come from the Country of Rising Sun – Japan.
The main motivation behind creating a perfect bathroom bot is the ageing population of Japan. It’s estimated that almost one quarter of the Japanese are 65 or older. With such ageing population and ever shrinking household sizes, it’s important to develop autonomous household chore machines that will help people stay independent longer and relieve the strain on the country’s social security system.
Also it’s not some off-beat startups that are working on bathroom robots. Yes, there are still a lot of startups on this new emerging scene, however, big global corporations are now joining the race – Toyota amongst them.
When it comes to bathroom and utility areas of your property, even fewer robots are available to pick up the tedious chores. One of the most popular is Roomba’s little brother Scooba 230. It’s made by the same company that the well-known Roomba and it’s specifically designed to keep your bathroom clean. Not only it cleans around the toilet, it also helps battle certain types of Staphylococcus bacteria. The biggest downside is that it doesn’t clean the toilet or the bath from the inside.
Cue toilet cleaning robots. There are at least two working prototypes built so far – one at the University of Koblenz-Landau in Germany and another one at the Ariel University in Israel. Both concepts are quite similar – a robotic arm that does one of the most hated household jobs ever invented.
Luckily these robots come with a camera and a sophisticated recognition device making sure you’re not disturbed when you’re in the middle of something. It is also capable of cleaning the bathroom floor. The only downside is that these robots are quite chunky – you can’t really justify keeping this whopper of a thing in your bathroom. As it is, the toilet cleaning robot is also much slower and less thorough compared to a human cleaner. Besides, we need to be steering towards universal robots otherwise we will start building a separate robot for each domestic task. Like the (in)famous shirt folding robot presented at the Westworld TV in 2016.
Another potential route for development of bathroom robots has been presented by the Japanese scientists – the Patient Transfer Assist bot can dip patients into baths and later extract them as well as help patients with using the toilet. Sounds like a much better way than using the traditional hoist mechanism currently employed by hospitals.
When it comes to using smart thermostat data to regulate the boilers and other heating/cooling systems, most of us are barely scratching the surface. During the recent surge of boiler installations that come with a Nest thermostat or other smart thermostat models, we’ve noticed that most consumers will pick the most convenient mode that requires the least effort from them.
Although the new generation of thermostats are supposed to be smart, you won’t get the maximum benefit out of them unless you learn how to use smart thermostat data to help you save even more money.
Of course, since smart thermostats are connected to the internet, there’s a lot of data exchange happening. Although it’s anonymous, the manufacturer receives data from your household and then uses the data to improve their hardware and software.
Would you be able to use this data to make your own improvements? Yes, and you definitely should!
To correctly optimise your heating system using data from a smart thermostat you need the following:
A thermostat that allows you access to your data
At least a year’s worth of temperature data collected from multiple temperature sensors
Access to weather data
Without knowing what’s happening outside, you won’t be able to use the data in a meaningful way. You can download weather charts from openweathermap.org and most households will find that their free option is good enough. To dig even deeper, you might also want to add your electrical demand data at 15 minute intervals. If you have a fairly new electric meter, this should be easily achievable – speak to your utility company. Then you can start to look at demand vs. temperature, time of day and other conditions.
If you’re using NEST thermostat, you can download your historical data from this link and then use Excel to add weather data, occupancy records and other bits as desired. Or if you consider yourself a geek and you’re looking for a more sophisticated solution, check out this Nest data logger.
If you’re away from home for longer periods of time, your best bet of saving on energy bills is to turn the temperature down to an optimal minimum, however, what is this optimal minimum and when do you start running a risk of getting your pipes frozen and burst? The most obvious answer is to install another temperature sensor next to the weakest place in your piping system. Only then you can confidently play with the temperature knowing that the pipes won’t freeze.
Treat your smart thermostat data as a goldmine because once you have accumulated the data, then you can really start optimising your heating system and saving serious amounts of cash on your fuel bills.
Your boiler making loud noises is usually a sign of some kind of fault within the central heating system.
It is important to investigate these noises, as ignoring boiler problems can be expensive and dangerous.
Luckily, the specific noises a boiler makes can help us to find the cause of the fault, so we have put together a guide to the noises your boiler might make – and the faults of which they might be a symptom.
So called because it sounds a lot like a kettle boiling, kettling usually indicates sludge and limescale build up.
This is a common problem and is often easily solved.
Severe cases will require an engineer to perform a powerflush to get all of the built up waste out of the system.
Dripping sounds usually indicate some sort of leak, most often caused by wear but sometimes caused by excess pressure within the system.
Older boilers are particularly prone to this.
This fault requires a qualified engineer to replace damaged components and can be an expensive problem to solve.
My Boiler is Making a Gurgling Noise
When you hear gurgling from within your central heating system it is most likely trapped air. This is usually remedied by bleeding the radiators – a task you can easily carry out yourself.
You can verify that this is the issue by checking the radiators. If there are cold patches or it is very slow to heat, they need to be bled.
If bleeding the radiators does not fix the problem, a professional will need to diagnose the problem as it could be more serious.
Tapping sounds usually indicate either limescale build up or an incorrectly fitted part.
If you have had any parts replaced recently, it’s probably the latter.
If not, it might be worth looking into a powerflush service to clear out the limescale, which can be a particular problem in hard water areas.
Banging sounds are usually due to worn or poorly fitted pipes.
The pipes are under stress constantly from temperature and pressure shifts, which can lead to damage and loud noises when the pipes are not properly fitted.
You will likely need an engineer to come out and refit or replace the pipes in question.
Why Is My Boiler Making Humming Noises?
A boiler operating normally should emit a relatively quiet humming sound, but a noticeable increase in the volume of this humming might indicate problems with the heating element.
This is not a problem you can handle yourself, so you must contact a qualified engineer to come and repair or replace the affected components.
These loud noises coming from your boiler and central heating system can be indicative of serious faults, but it is often worth it to just check the general health of your boiler.
Check the pressure, the radiators and any warning or error messages on the digital display if there is one. Rectifying those problems might solve your issues altogether.
But you should never carry out work on your own boiler. For any problem that might be the result of a fault, poorly fitted parts or wear of existing parts, you will need a qualified engineer to ensure that your boiler is brought back to working order in a safe and effective manner.
You will want at least 3 boiler quotes in writing from different companies. Not only does this let you see what price range you are looking at, some companies will match a given boiler quote.
Ask for the price of installation on its own, as well as boiler plus installation if available for your model. Sometimes you can save money by buying the boiler separately, whereas other times it will be cheaper to buy the boiler from the company installing it.
And don’t pay for a boiler quote! Most companies will offer a free boiler quote, so there’s really no need to pay for one.
Check Warranties & Guarantees
Once you have your boiler quotes, you shouldn’t just pick the cheapest option. Not all pricings are going to be equal, so taking a look at the fine print is always advised.
In particular, warranties and guarantees can significantly change the value of a boiler quote.
Manufacturer’s warranties usually last a year, so any quotes that offer one year warranties included are actually offering you nothing.
Some companies do offer longer warranties and guarantees, usually on the condition of annual boiler checks. These boiler quotes are often the best ones to consider, if pricing is competitive.
We hope this guide on how to choose the right boiler quote has helped you. By following this guide, you should be able to find the best boiler price for you, saving you money and hassle.
As a word of warning, though – getting the cheapest deal is not worth it if your engineer is not registered with Gas Safe. Always check for a Gas Safe ID Card, and if your engineers does not have one, do not allow them to carry out any work.
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We always try to stress the importance of ensuring that any tradesman that performs any type of work on your boiler is registered Gas Safe.
Unfortunately, not everybody is getting the memo.
Thankfully there are things you can do to avoid the horrors of an unsafe boiler installation.
A Growing Problem
Every year, around a quarter of a million jobs on gas appliances like boilers are performed illegally by non-Gas Safe tradespeople.
These tradespeople are usually recommended by friends and family as friendly and, more importantly, cheap.
But these rogue traders are often untrained, unqualified and entirely unable to perform a boiler installation in a safe manner.
The Dangers Of Unsafe Boilers
The dangers of having an unsafe boiler can be catastrophic.
When a boiler is not properly installed, it can leak carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is known as “the silent killer”, because it is colourless, odourless and can cause serious illness and death.
There is also the danger of a gas leak, fire or explosion if they have done a bad enough job.
Unfortunately, the past 3 years has seen over 1000 injuries and 22 deaths due to shoddy gas work carried out by illegal rogue traders.
Who Are These Rogue Boiler Installers?
There are a few ways you can spot a suspect tradesman.
Usually they will be sole traders or operate in a small business with only a few employees.
They tend to advertise in local papers and online, where there are no checks performed to see if they are qualified and registered to do the work they are advertising.
They tend not to advertise in larger publications that do perform these checks. This includes directories like Yellow Pages and Thompson Local.
According to BBC Watchdog, these rogue traders also tend to fit the profile of a general tradesman, often offering other services alongside gas fitting. 90% offered plumbing services, 81% were also bathroom fitters, and 43% were even willing to perform electrical jobs.
How You Can Stay Safe
It’s very easy to ensure that your boiler is installed by a professional, Gas Safe engineer.
When booking a boiler installation or check, always ask if they are on the Gas Safe Register. If they are not, they are not qualified to perform any work on your boiler.
With winter nearly here and the temperatures dropping, a lot of people will be firing up their central heating for the first time since the spring.
The colder months can be very hard on your boiler, with a variety of problems that can leave you out in the cold if not addressed.
Luckily, there are some boiler maintenance tips you can follow to prevent your boiler packing up this winter.
Read The Manual
Your boiler’s manufacturer provides a manual with maintenance instructions. Every boiler is different in subtle ways, so following the manufacturer’s instructions is a must.
If you don’t have the manual, many are available online and most modern models are covered.
Run Your Heating Now!
Before the temperatures really start to plummet, you should run your central heating for around 15 minutes at least once a month.
Doing this year round is generally best practice, as it keeps your boiler ticking over and helps you to identify any problems while central heating isn’t necessary. There are separate set of tips for what to do with your boiler when you go on holiday.
Get Some Insulation
Insulating your pipes and hot water tank helps to keep heat inside the system and prevents pipe bursts caused by ice in the system.
This is one of the cheapest efficiency measures you can take, as insulation and insulating tape is relatively cheap compared to the money you’ll save on heating – not to mention costly repairs!
The Condensate Pipe
This pipe runs outdoors and carries condensation from the boiler. During the winter months, this pipe can freeze and cause your boiler to shut down.
Insulating the condensate pipe is boiler maintenance 101, though a frozen condensate pipe can usually be thawed by pouring warm water over it.
Of course, planning ahead is always better. While most condensate pipes are at ground level, some may need a stepladder to access – which can be a pain when you need the boiler working.
Don’t Forget To Bleed The Radiators!
Cold spots on your radiators can be caused by trapped air, which is one of the most common problems.
This lowers energy efficiency and can cause your home to be unbearably cold.
This can easily be solved by bleeding your radiators – just remember to check your water pressure afterwards as you may need to adjust it.
Fit A Carbon Monoxide Alarm
If something does go wrong with your boiler, you should be prepared. Some problems can cause your boiler to leak carbon monoxide in to your home.
Carbon monoxide is known as “the silent killer” as it is deadly, invisible and odourless.
Carbon monoxide alarms are cheap and readily available. In the unlikely event that something does go wrong and this gas leaks in to your home, it may just save your life.
Get An Annual Service
Boilers are complex appliances and they require professional maintenance. While it may cost more in the short term to get a gas-safe engineer to come out for a service, it is the best way to avoid a boiler breakdown in the middle of winter. If you’re unsure, read through our boiler service guide.
Problems are also usually quicker and cheaper to fix if caught early.
If you rent, your landlord should be ensuring you have an annual boiler service free of charge.
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