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Last updated: 3rd February, 2024


Boiler Hacks: Boost Performance & Savings

Boiler Hacks: Boost Performance & Savings

Key takeaways

  • Maximising boiler efficiency is essential for reducing energy bills and environmental impact.
  • Regular maintenance, settings optimisation, and early problem identification are key to boosting performance.
  • Knowledge of these boiler hacks can lead to increased cost savings and improved system efficiency.

Boiler hacks are simple tricks and tips that can help you save money on your heating bills, improve your boiler's efficiency, and extend its lifespan. Our guide provides a range of boiler hacks, including adjusting your thermostat, bleeding your radiators, and cleaning your boiler's heat exchanger.

Boiler Hacks: Boost Performance & Savings 

As homeowners and businesses seek ways to reduce energy bills and become more environmentally friendly, attention often turns to boilers. 

These crucial appliances deliver central heating and hot water on demand, yet they can also consume significant amounts of energy if not maintained or managed effectively. 

This article dives into innovative boiler hacks that provide cost-effective, energy-efficient solutions for enhancing the performance of your boiler system.

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Understanding the importance of boiler efficiency is crucial, as it determines the percentage of energy used by the boiler that actually contributes to heating your property. 

Modern, well-maintained boilers boast higher efficiency ratings, which means that up to 94% of the energy utilised in heating can be transferred directly into your home. 

With the potential for significant savings on energy bills and a positive impact on the environment, it's more important than ever to consider tried-and-tested boiler hacks that maximise performance and savings.

Maintaining your boiler through regular servicing and cleaning, optimising your boiler settings, and identifying potential issues early on are crucial steps in ensuring a more efficient system. 

Equipping yourself with knowledge about these performance-boosting boiler hacks can help you become more energy-conscious, save money on your bills, and benefit from overall improved boiler performance.

Key Takeaways

  • Maximising boiler efficiency is essential for reducing energy bills and environmental impact.

  • Regular maintenance, settings optimisation, and early problem identification are key to boosting performance.

  • Knowledge of these boiler hacks can lead to increased cost savings and improved system efficiency.

Understanding Boilers

Boilers are an essential part of a home's central heating system, providing the necessary heat and hot water. They come in various types, each with its specific features and benefits. Let's explore some of the common boiler types and their functionalities.

A combi boiler (combination boiler) is a popular choice in many households, as it combines both heating and hot water supply in a single unit. It heats water directly from the mains, thus eliminating the need for a separate hot water cylinder. This makes combi boilers suitable for smaller properties and those with limited space.

Heat-only boilers, also known as regular or conventional boilers, are another option to consider. Unlike combi boilers, they require a separate hot water cylinder to store hot water. This system can be more efficient at producing hot water, but inevitably loses some heat due to the storage process. Heat-only boilers are often found in larger homes or properties with multiple bathrooms, where simultaneous hot water usage is common.

Another variant is the system boiler, which occupies a middle ground between combi and heat-only boilers. It is similar to a heat-only boiler in terms of having a separate hot water cylinder, but it also includes additional components such as a pump and an expansion vessel. These components are built into the boiler itself, simplifying the installation process.

Condensing boilers are considered the most energy-efficient option. Since 2005, the majority of newly installed boilers in the UK have been condensing boilers. These boilers extract additional heat from the waste gases produced during the combustion process, reducing energy wastage. You can identify a condensing boiler by its plastic flue and a plastic pipe that runs from the bottom of the unit and drains outside.

In conclusion, understanding the types of boilers is crucial in selecting the right solution for your central heating needs. 

Whether it's a combi, heat-only, system, or condensing boiler, each comes with its advantages and is best suited to specific property types and requirements.

Evaluating Your Current Boiler Performance

Evaluating your boiler's performance is key in ensuring optimal energy usage, minimising emissions, and keeping your energy bills in check. By understanding its efficiency, you can make informed decisions on whether to invest in improvements or replace it with a more modern system.

Boiler efficiency is the percentage of total energy used by the boiler to provide useful heating. For instance, a boiler with 94% efficiency uses 94% of its energy for heating your home, while 6% is lost or used to run the system itself. As such, higher efficiency typically leads to lower gas bills and reduced carbon emissions.

To begin the evaluation, assess your boiler's age and model. Modern boilers generally have better energy efficiency, so if yours is older, there may be potential for improvement. Next, analyse your energy bills. An increase in gas consumption for heating and hot water could indicate a decline in boiler performance.

Monitoring water temperature is another important aspect. As boilers age, consistent water temperature may become difficult to maintain. Fluctuations in hot water temperature can signal issues with the boiler's heat exchanger, which is vital to its overall efficiency.

Here are some additional tips to ensure optimal boiler performance:

  • Regular servicing: Arrange for professional maintenance at least once a year to detect and fix potential issues.

  • Insulate: Ensure your home is properly insulated to reduce heat loss and place less strain on your boiler.

  • Pressure: Check the system pressure – it should be between 1 and 1.5 bars, depending on make and model. Adjust as necessary.

In conclusion, evaluating your current boiler performance involves considering its efficiency, age, energy consumption, and water temperature control. By regularly monitoring these factors, you can identify areas for improvement and potentially save on energy bills while reducing emissions.

Key Boiler Hacks to Boost Performance

Boiler efficiency is vital for households looking to reduce energy bills and maintain comfort levels during colder months. Here, we discuss some boiler hacks that cater to enhancing performance and, consequently, lead to cost savings.

Firstly, bleeding radiators is an easy maintenance task that can immediately improve boiler energy efficiency. This process entails releasing trapped air from the radiators, allowing hot water to circulate more effectively and warm up spaces more quickly. 

One should not forget to switch off the heating system before commencing this task.

Secondly, adjusting flow temperature is another practical method to boost boiler performance. Lowering the flow temperature by a few degrees can result in significant energy savings. 

The ideal temperature range for the majority of households lies between 55°C and 60°C, ensuring adequate warmth while maintaining cost-efficiency.

Thirdly, be mindful of heating and hot water schedules according to your usage patterns and habits. 

By programming your boiler to suit your lifestyle, you can prevent excessive energy use during periods with low heat demand. Automated systems, such as smart thermostats, can streamline this task by tailoring itself to your routine and optimising the boiler's operation.

Lastly, consider altering the flow settings for hot water on your boiler. Many people may place the flow settings too high, leading to unnecessary energy waste. By lowering the flow rate, hot water usage becomes more efficient and can result in substantial savings on energy bills.

By implementing these boiler hacks, homeowners can expect an efficient boiler that effectively balances performance and cost, leading to a more comfortable and economical living environment.

How to Manage Your Boiler Settings

Efficiently managing your boiler settings can lead to significant energy savings and increased boiler performance. This is achievable with simple adjustments to the thermostat, radiator flow, and flue. Let's delve into these essential settings and optimise them for a budget-friendly, energy-conscious household.

Firstly, take a look at the thermostat. Maintaining an optimal temperature within your home is crucial for boiler efficiency. It's recommended to set the thermostat between 18°C and 21°C. Remember, slight variations of 1°C or 2°C can make a significant impact on energy consumption and costs. Moreover, consider the property's insulation as it contributes substantially to heat retention.

Secondly, managing the flow temperature can maximise potential savings. Combi boilers, for instance, perform well when heating radiators at 60°C or below. Many default settings range between 70°C and 80°C, which can be excessive and energy-wasteful. When the weather gets warmer, lower the flow temperature even further, such as down to 50°C. Adjusting flow temperature with the changing of seasons is safe and easy. It constitutes a sensible method to save energy whilst maintaining comfort indoors.

In addition to thermostat and flow settings, regularly inspect the boiler's flue to ensure optimal performance. A well-maintained flue can improve combustion efficiency by expelling combustion gases efficiently. Keep in mind that a blocked or damaged flue can result in subpar performance, higher energy consumption and, in extreme cases, harm to inhabitants through carbon monoxide exposure.

In conclusion, proper management of boiler settings entails monitoring the thermostat, flow temperature, and flue. Implementing these adjustments according to specific situations can lead to better performance, impressive savings, and reduced environmental impact. So, don't shy away from exploring and optimising your boiler's settings, as this knowledge can make a remarkable difference in household energy use.

Dealing with Potential Boiler Issues

A common issue involving boilers is the presence of an inefficient or deteriorating cylinder, which can negatively impact your boiler's performance. 

Upgrading your hot water cylinder to a more efficient model can contribute to better overall boiler efficiency, energy savings, and ensure a continuous supply of hot water. 

On top of this, it's crucial to regularly service your boiler and maintain the cylinder to guarantee smooth functioning.

Furthermore, maintaining your hot water cylinder's cleanliness should not be overlooked, as it can help prevent the build-up of legionella, a harmful bacteria commonly found in water systems. 

Legionella thrives in stagnant water and temperatures between 20-45°C, so taking steps to prevent it is essential for your boiler system's safety and efficiency. This can include using a temperature-control mechanism to maintain your cylinder's temperature outside the bacteria's ideal range.

While dealing with boiler issues, one should also be mindful of the boiler's energy efficiency. With household energy bills on the rise, using efficient boiler hacks like proper insulation and heating controls can help you save money and reduce energy consumption. 

For instance, modern boilers with 94% efficiency ensure that only 6% of energy is lost during operation. Consequently, investing in an energy-saving model or upgrading your existing boiler may just pay off in the long run.

If potential issues persist, seeking professional help from a qualified technician should be the next step. They can accurately diagnose the problem, offer expert advice, and perform necessary repairs or replacements. By addressing boiler issues before they escalate, you can safeguard your family's comfort and safety, and preserve the longevity of your boiler system.

Saving Costs and Energy

During the colder months, many homeowners seek ways to save on heating bills while maintaining a warm and comfortable home. Improving your boiler's performance is an excellent way to maximise savings and energy efficiency.

To start, regularly servicing your boiler can make a world of difference in terms of performance and reliability. 

A well-maintained boiler offers numerous benefits - from increased energy efficiency and reduced fuel bills to identifying potential issues before they escalate.

Moreover, upgrading to an energy-efficient boiler can save you a considerable amount on heating bills. 

These modern boilers tend to have an ErP rating, which means they meet strict energy efficiency standards. Opting for an energy supplier like Octopus Energy, known for competitively priced and renewable energy tariffs, can further enhance your savings.

Another factor to consider is the implementation of the Winter Warmer Scheme. This programme offers financial support to eligible households during winter, helping them to reduce their energy bills and maintain a comfortable living environment.

With the energy price cap in place, make sure to regularly review and, if necessary, switch your energy supplier to get the best value for money. Stay aware of fluctuations in energy prices as this may prompt you to make changes to your energy provider or tariff.

Thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) are an energy-saving investment since they allow you to control the temperature in each room of your home. By setting an appropriate temperature in each space, you can maintain comfort while reducing overall heating costs.

A handful of boiler hacks you can put into practice include:

  • Insulating your loft and cavity walls to minimise heat loss through the building envelope

  • Investing in a programmable thermostat or smart meter for precise temperature control and monitoring

  • Regularly bleeding your radiators to maintain optimum efficiency

  • Installing energy-efficient windows and doors to reduce drafts

By taking these measures into account, you can optimise your boiler's performance while achieving substantial savings in energy and heating bills during the wintertime.

Impact on Environment

Optimising boiler efficiency is crucial for minimising carbon emissions and moving towards a net-zero carbon future. A significant amount of CO2 savings can be achieved by enhancing boiler performance, contributing to environmental sustainability.

Switching to a top-notch condensing boiler is a key step towards improving energy efficiency. Such boilers convert approximately 90% of their energy into home heating, while the rest is either dissipated as heat or utilised to operate the boiler itself. Therefore, opting for a contemporary condensing boiler with an A-rated efficiency of 90% or higher is instrumental in reducing CO2 emissions and working towards net-zero carbon emissions.

Additionally, it is important to consider the entire system, including the impact of room control components on overall performance. Implementing energy-saving controls, such as thermostats and intelligent heating systems, can further enhance boiler efficiency, leading to decreased energy usage and reduced emissions.

Remarkably, the financial benefits of utilising efficient boilers are significant. According to the Carbon Trust in 2012, UK organisations could potentially save over £400 million annually by simply upgrading their hot water boiler systems. Such financial savings are directly linked to CO2 savings, underlining the importance of boiler efficiency in reducing emissions and conserving the environment.

In conclusion, investing in and maintaining an efficient boiler system is not only financially prudent but also essential for contributing to a more sustainable and greener future by minimising carbon emissions. Incorporating energy-saving technologies and ensuring maximum system efficiency are crucial steps towards the objective of net-zero carbon emissions.

iHeat: Choose the Right Boiler for You

Selecting the ideal boiler can be a challenging task, with modern boilers coming in numerous shapes and sizes. To find the most suitable boiler to boost performance and savings, consider the key factors mentioned below.

System type: Combi boilers are widely popular in the UK, as they offer instant hot water on demand by heating water directly from the mains. Alternatively, system boilers store hot water in a cylinder, providing a steady supply of hot water to multiple outlets simultaneously. Take the time to consider what's best for your home's needs.

Property size: The size of your property will play an essential role in determining the appropriate boiler. For medium to large houses with multiple bathrooms, a system or regular boiler might be more suitable due to their ability to provide hot water to several outlets at once. However, smaller households with limited space might benefit from a compact combi boiler solution.

Boiler brand: Some well-known boiler brands in the UK, such as Alpha, Viessmann, and Ideal, consistently rank highly in terms of reliability and performance. iHeat recommends the top 5 boiler brands of 2023 to help you make an informed decision.

Professional installers: Engaging professional installers with years of experience in handling different boiler systems should be a top priority. This will help ensure a safe installation, allowing your boiler to function at its best, ultimately leading to better performance and savings.

Taking the right steps in selecting the ideal boiler for your needs and working closely with expert installers will set you on the path to an energy-efficient and well-performing home heating system.

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New Boiler Costs

Boilers can be a daunting purchase for many people as they’re an appliance with a lot of responsibility, providing heat for you and your family is something you want to get right. Boilers aren’t exactly a quickly disposable item either, potentially lasting you a decade.

Effectively, New boiler cost can be split into two segments: the first is the actual boiler itself (unit price), and the second is the cost of the boiler being installed (set up) in your property by an expert engineer. 

Here at iHeat, we want to remove all of this undue stress and make the decision making process of upgrading to a new central heating system, as easy as possible.

Boiler costs can vary depending on a number of factors including their brand, model, fuel, output, warranty, labour and installation type. Typically a new boiler will cost between £1,845 and £3,500, below is a list of average boiler installations offered by iHeat (guide only).

Installation Type

Price (inc VAT)

Combi to combi swap


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System to combi conversion


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New boiler install


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Back boiler to a combi


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System to system


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Frequently Asked Questions

What temperature should I turn my boiler down to to save money?

Reducing your boiler's temperature can help save money on energy bills. A good starting point is to set your boiler between 60°C and 65°C. Lowering the temperature even slightly can result in notable savings without compromising the comfort in your home.

How do I turn my boiler down to save money?

To turn down your boiler and save money, follow these steps:
1. Locate your boiler's thermostat knob or control panel.
2. Adjust the thermostat to the desired temperature, typically between 60°C and 65°C.
3. Monitor the temperature in your home and adjust the thermostat accordingly, if required.
Keep in mind that turning your boiler down too low could cause issues with your heating system, so it's crucial to find the right balance.

What is the most economical way to set a boiler?

The most economical way to set a boiler involves following these tips:
1. Adjust the thermostat to an energy-efficient temperature, usually between 60°C and 65°C.
2. Regularly service your boiler to ensure its efficiency.
3. Insulate your home to reduce heat loss.
4. Use a programmable thermostat or smart heating controls for precise temperature control.

Will switching my boiler off save money?

Switching your boiler off when you don't need heating or hot water can save money. However, if you have a combi boiler, it's more efficient to use it on demand rather than turning it off completely. For regular boilers with hot water cylinders, set the timer to heat water only when needed, rather than on a constant basis, to save energy and lower your bills.

Is it cheaper to keep your boiler on constantly?

Keeping your boiler on constantly is not cheaper or more energy-efficient. It's recommended to use a programmable thermostat or smart heating controls to schedule heating and hot water according to your needs. This way, energy is not wasted when no one is home or when everyone is asleep, resulting in lower energy bills.

Is it cheaper to leave the boiler on constantly?

No, leaving the boiler on constant is not cheaper. As mentioned earlier, scheduling your heating and hot water with a programmable thermostat or smart heating controls will enable you to save energy and money. Make sure to adjust settings accordingly when you're away from home or during changes in weather to further maximise your savings.

Stephen Day profile photo
Article by
Stephen Day | Co-founder
Gas Safe registered and FGAS certified engineer with over 20 years experience in the heating and cooling industry.