So here’s a test for you, when it comes to gas boiler manufacturers, how many can you name?
Bear in mind that there are some 25 manufacturers of boilers who market their products in the UK (and many of those who have factories here as well).
So, how many? Most would struggle beyond the likes of Baxi (one of those brand names that many know) and Worcester (actually Bosch, Worcester), or, at a pinch, Potterton.
It’s an unfair question really, because boilers are not something that consumers get really excited about. Okay, talk of global warming harmful emissions, plus the rapidly rising cost of energy, has made people more conscious of boiler technology perhaps (efficiency levels), but most people still, rightly, go with what their installer recommends.
That’s the thing with gas boilers. You cannot install it yourself. People who like DIY cannot even touch a boiler (unless to operate the controls put their for such a purpose), nevermind think about fitting one, or maintaining it. That might seem unfair to some, but every year hundreds of people are killed from gas explosions, or gas leaks, arising from faulty, or poorly serviced gas boilers. People forget that gas is a volatile substance and when burnt, it can be even worse, as it gives off carbon monoxide fumes which have to be removed from a property very quickly.
Only professional heating engineers which are on the Gas Safe Register can touch a gas boiler.
So this tends to make people rely on their supplier and installer. They do not know the wide range of manufacturers out there that supply great kit. So companies like the oddly named Buderus (big in the US), or indeed the Staffordshire based Ferroli, don’t roll off the tongue maybe, but they do produce some great boilers.
And that’s perhaps another reason why people can’t name that many boiler manufacturers. When it comes down to it, gas boilers are much the same whichever name you choose. They all use gas to generate heat that warms the water to the correct temperature for the central heating system and hot water taps.
The differences comes in the design obviously (how nice it looks in the modern kitchen for example), how its sited (wall hung, floor mounted, or within a cupboard say) and how efficient it is. Effectively all modern gas boilers have to be over 90% efficient, unless the property has an over-riding reason why it can’t fit a modern condensing boiler (one that cannot accommodate the condensate drain for example).
But that need not worry most people, unless it comes down to haggling about the quote. Even so, when your installer recommends a particular boiler, enquire about the details. Get to know your brand names and their characteristics – it could help you save a few bob.