Over the past few months, as the UK battled with what felt like an endless supply of bad weather, homes have faced a number of issues when it comes to heating.
Back in March, gas suppliers like British Gas saw huge spikes in calls relating to heating and hot water issues across the country, leaving many households in the cold during the snowy weather.
As complaints went through the roof, homes spent an unusual amount of days with broken systems as repairmen were in short supply and for some people a new boiler was ultimately the only option.
However, with the arrival of April, not only have we seen a glimpse of warmer weather, but boiler regulations have changed and I want to ensure no households are left in the cold when it comes to understanding the minimum requirements and alternative options available on the market.
The new Boiler Plus regulations are good news for you, good news for installers and good news for the future
What are the new regulations?
The foreword to the ‘Heat in Buildings’ report explains that the nation needs to “begin preparing for a shift to cleaner and smarter ways of heating our homes to keep household energy costs down, maximise comfort and reduce carbon emissions.”
The Government’s aim for households is that they are affordable to run, comfortable to live in and sustainable for the future.
Currently 60% of household bills are down to the cost of heating so the heating system you choose is very important to meeting this.
With this in mind, in December 2016 the Government began Boiler Plus to give consumers more choice over the way they heat their homes and more control over their energy bills.
These new standards of domestic heating came into force in April 2018 and require:
All gas boilers installed into existing systems in England to have an ErP (Energy Related Products) efficiency of at least 92%
Time and temperature controls to be installed at the same time, if not already present and working
Combination boiler replacements to include the provision of additional energy efficiency measures to be installed at the same time
To reflect the diverse needs and circumstances of our homes and our households, the requirement will flex to allow a wide range of technology options to be considered
How will new regulations help you?
As a homeowner, tenant or renter, these regulations are the Government’s way of investing in household wellbeing by encouraging smart heating choices.
Installing energy efficient systems, whether that be the latest efficient boiler or a highly efficient renewable heating system like an air source heat pump, can save households hundreds of pounds a year.
Replacing old, outdated and inefficient heating systems can save wasted energy, wasted money and improve comfort and health levels.
A new boiler or an air source heat pump also gives consumers peace of mind when it comes to reliability, especially over the winter.
According to the Government report nearly a third of the homes in England are heated by older, inefficient boilers – so these new regulations remind us that now really is the time to start thinking of upgrades or alternatives.
What are your next steps?
Replace your boiler
Remember that these regulations state that all boilers installed in existing homes in England, either as new or as a replacement to an existing boiler need to comply with these minimum requirements. So if you are thinking of changing your boiler, ensure your installer is abreast of these.
According to the Government report roughly a third of boilers on the market today fall short of meeting the 92% ErP efficiency standard. So while this should remove the lowest performing boilers from the market, it also means that there is no harm is asking your installer if any other efficient heating systems are better suited for your home.
An air source heat pump for example has an A++ ErP rating and is part of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) which means the Government will give you money back on every kW of renewable heating you produce.
This means in a year you can earn hundreds of pounds just for heating your home (this is claimable for 7 years).
Ditch oil heating
If you don’t currently have a gas boiler and you live in one of the 1.8 million UK homes with oil heating, moving to a low carbon alterative is even more imperative to the decarbonisation of the UK and the reduction of your energy bills.
Ensure control of your current system is up to scratch
These new regulations also state that homes must include devices that programme the system to come on and off at set times and set the temperature to improve comfort levels. If your heating system (whatever system it might be) doesn’t have adequate control then either contact your energy provider or an independent heating installer
The new Boiler Plus regulations are good news for you, good news for installers and good news for the future. As the UK strives to meet its ambitious carbon reduction targets, helping decarbonise the grid and reduce the amount of money you spend on your bills is a win-win situation.
If your heating system is in need of replacement or you are ready to upgrade it to a more efficient system, I suggest you read up on the rules, consider alternative technologies and get to grips with how best to control your chosen heating option.
Ellina Webb is a Senior Marketing Executive at Mitsubishi Electric