Trying to keep an old boiler going can feel like throwing good money after bad. Not only do they tend to need repairs but they also run less efficiently, wasting money and fuel with every use.

Deciding when to replace your boiler can be tricky, but there are some tell-tale signs that it’s time to start thinking about a replacement.

It’s old
Most boilers have a life span of around 15 years, although if you’ve kept up with your routine servicing and maintenance, you could be living with an even older model. Technology moves on, and you could be missing out on savings and upgrades which just aren’t possible with your boiler.

It’s energy inefficient
Chances are, if your boiler is more than ten years old, you’re living with a very inefficient heating system. Modern boilers are ‘condensing’ meaning they recover some of the heat they produce and work much more efficiently. All boilers are rated for efficiency from A to G, with new boilers falling into the A rated category. An A rated boiler runs at 90 per cent efficiency, so for every pound you spend on gas, you’re getting £0.90’s worth of useful heat for your home. Older boilers will be F or G rated, and probably run at around 60 – 70 per cent efficiency, which is a lot of wasted money for you.

You’re experiencing problems
There are lots of things that can go wrong with old boilers, even if they seem to be working OK. One of the most obvious signs your boiler is on its last legs is that it takes a really long time to heat up. You should also watch out for the flame burning yellow instead of blue, as this could indicate carbon monoxide leakage, which is incredibly dangerous for your family. Other things to watch out for include your home feeling cold, funny smells, increased gas bills and unusual noises coming from the boiler.

It’s beyond economical repair
Being landed with a big repair bill is never any fun, but when it’s going to cost more than the boiler is worth, it’s time to think again. For many homeowners, this is when the crunch comes. If you’ve had a substantial bill for repairs, it’s worth getting a quote for a new one instead. It might be even better to think about replacing it before it breaks down.

You’re extending, renovating or changing the layout of your home
When you’ve got lots of other work going on, such as in the case of major renovations or other upheaval, it’s a great time to reassess your current heating system. Changing your boiler or switching from one type of heating system to another always comes with inconvenience, so getting it all done at once can be a good strategy to reduce mess, noise and bother. In the context of your new project, a warmer, more efficient and more economical heating solution may be a good investment.

You want better controls or technology
Many old boilers are not compatible with new tech and modern controllers, so you could be missing out on appealing add-ons. Things like smartphone controlled thermostats, advanced heating controls and remote programmers might not be available for your existing model.

Replacing your boiler need not feel like a burden. Although its certainly an investment, it’s one which will pay you back over future years. The Energy Saving Trust calculate that you could save as much as £320 per year with a boiler replacement, so you can be confident you’ll be getting a good return on the money you spend.