Confusion Over Efficiency Ratings

The heating industry is in danger of confusing its customers over boiler efficiency ratings says a top boiler discount website.

Boiler ratings changed last October when the SEDBUK 2009 ratings system replaced the SEDBUK 2005 ratings. For the average consumer, not much changed, but the number of efficiency ratings were reduced to five: A, B, C, D and E (where previously they were seven: A to G). The main reason for this regrouping was for simplicity and to avoid confusion with electrical appliance ratings.

SEDBUK stands for Seasonal Efficiency of Domestic Boilers in the UK and under the stricter building regulations currently in force, only band A boilers (those 90% efficient and above) can be fitted, unless there are compelling reasons (usually architectural problems) not to do so.

The problem is, that the body behind SEDBUK, the Building Research Establishment, is worried that certain manufacturers are being too liberal with the ratings when it comes to promoting their products. Thus, the Building Research Establishment has reduced many percentages by a set 2% to counter any exaggerated claims. The problem is, that many boilers sit on 90.5% efficiency ratings, so when it come to marketing those boilers, they will have officially a 88.5% rating, and thus be in Band B.

Matters are likely to get worst when a new European Commission EuP Directive comes into force in a couple of years time, when there will be two further grades for the latest, more efficient boilers: A+ and A++.

Tom Bradford, Managing Director of Boilers Sales, says:

‘Although well-meaning, the efficiency ratings are currently quite confusing and if they are not careful, both the boiler manufacturers and the regulatory bodies might shoot themselves in the foot with this sort of positioning. Few people understand the difference between an A and B Rated boiler, and unfortunately, maybe the forthcoming EuP Directive will only makes matters worse with the A+ and A++.’