Hi, I live in an old house which has not been upgraded for about 20 years, I have a tiny budget and need to get both the rads and the gas boiler changed,I can only do one job this year and if I can find an unattended bank to rob ,maybe next year finish the job ,so.....my question is, would it be better to change the rads now or change the boiler ??? I am trying to get value for money along with not freezing my butt off again this year ....
Honestly your better holding off and getting both done together. There is a grant going for a high efficency boiler at the moment. A plumber will explain more but the problem you have is the system is old so a new boiler will need to give the system a very good clensing first and this could cause the onld rads to leak likewise disturbing the dirt and using the same boiler with new rads could cause a boiler breakdown.
A plumber is free to advise you better. Thanks
your question is a bit hard to answer, without knowing exactly what is your current setup.
A few questions for you to answer:-
What sort of boiler do you have?
What is the current temperature setting on your boiler? (can you turn it up?)
How many Rads are on your boiler?
What size of house are you trying to heat?
Do all your rads get warm? (possible air lock etc? )
Do some rads get warmer than others? (system needs balancing)
Do you have thermostatic valves on any rads?
Do you have large gas/oil bills?
Some times a bigger boiler or more rads are not the solution, some times better insulation will do more than anything.
If your insulation & draft proofing is ok then maybe up-grade a rad or two, provided the boiler has excess hot water for these.
Hi thanks for the replies, in answer to the questions , it is a potterton boiler on an open vent system, in general because of high bills i keep the settings around 2, and only turn it on when it is very cold or hot water is required, but yes i could turn it way up but then i would need a second job to pay the bills,there are 8 rads in the house but really i dont need all of them on most of the time, but as they are all old i cant turn them off individually, yes some get warmer than others, therm valves I wish !,the house is a 3 bed semi circa 1930, red brick, not possible to insulate with out dry lining the entire inside which would cost the earth and would remove all its charactor ,.....however I think you have given me some good direction here,what i did not mention was my other choice was to get some double glazing,carpets and heavy curtains , so maybe this is the way forward for now, and maybe get a plumber to balance and remove airlocks etc
Ahh ok, that gives a bit more to go on, looks like you've thought about this a good bit... Don't worry most of us live in the real world too, so you'll get some practical advise here....
As your current boiler is working ok, changing it to a high efficient type would only give you marginal improvements over your current.
If i was you I'd look to do some small improvements to give you some area's of the house that are nice and comfortable....
Upgrade say 2 of the rads in the area's of your house that you use the most, say the living room / kitchen. Make sure there's on/off & balancing valves on the rest of the radiators. Fit thermostatic valves to some of the radiators (i would typically put these on the rads in the bedroom). Do all the work on the heating system at one time.
Dry-lining some of the area's you use the most with insulated slabs will help. Even the cheap slabs with a small amount of insulation will offer a massive improvement. There is a grant available for this too, although i don't know how this works.
Obviously double glazing would help massively, but heavy curtains will help too, just make sure they don't block any radiators.
ok with the exception of the insulating bit I think that all sounds do-able, thanks ....another question ..... what is the differance between balancing valves and therm valves and would it be possible to fit them to old rads ?
On the rads you currently have, the valve on one side should be an on/off valve, the valve on the other side should be for balancing the system. If you have one rad that's getting very warm, you turn down the balancing valve, hence reduce the flow in this radiator.
Don't write off the insulation, the cheap slabs with styro-foam on the back are €15 each, and will make a difference... Some people might say these aren't very good, but i've notice a massive improvement in a room i used them in....
Ok I get it re the valves, will get a plumber and see what can be done.........re insulation , i totally agree with you about how effective it can be , and die of envy when i go to friends houses who have insulation, however, my house has all the original picture rails,dado rails,architraves, skirting ,firesurrounds, etc etc all of which would have to be removed and then put back, not to mind the electrics and all the redecoration aagh.......
You only have to insulate the external wall's.... skirting, picture rails and all that can be re-instated....
I think your going to have to bite the bullet and insulate at some stage, until you do you'll be allowing your hard earned euro's escape as heat...
oh gosh , what a dope I am I never thought about external wall only !!!!...ok that changes things somewhat will re think that ...thanks
You have not mentioned the attic?
If this is not insulated it is your biggest heat loss.
I was in a house like yours before that had an attic door made of wood with stained glass panels and no insulation behind it.
We insulated it for her because some quotes she got for the job of laying insulation were off the wall.
This alone drastically improved the comfort level.
Also,given budget, a good doorseal to cut down on draft would help
re the attic, I converted it about 12 years ago, i did insulate the roof at the time ,( dont think it is up to the standards of today but could not bare to have to climb up there and and spend days striping it out all over again ) and then put timber panneling over it , I also have two layers of carpet on the floor, but i know there are still drafts coming in under the eaves, i have a trap door to it which i intend to improve the seal on before winter..............at this stage the kids think i am preparing for a nuclear winter or something ! .............another tip I have been buying wool blankets from the charity shops for about 5€ each and relining my curtains with them ...works a treat
If you don't have a room thermostat or cylinder thermostat fitted i would think about fitting them, also if you are going to have your system drained see if your plumber can put a cleaning chemical (http://www.fernox.com/?cccpage=restorer_500ml&sub=2) in a week before hand so when he drains he can do a mini flush also, Gary.
thanks for the info re draining system ...........re thermostat, no i dont have room ones ( i take it you mean fitted to the rads !) but is it really worth getting them on old rads ??? if i am going to have a plumber , balancing , draining, retro fitting valves etc etc on old ( 20 years ) rads would it not be better to start replacing them one by one ????
In a ideal world the minimum controls you would have for your heating system would be a two channel programmer, one channel for heating and one for hot water, then you would have a room thermostat and a cylinder thermostat which would be connected to two port valves on your heating pipe and hot water pipe, having these controls fitted would give you greater control on how you used the heat from the boiler in turn saving you money, fitting thermostatic rad valves would also give extra control but personally i see them as back up to a room stat and fitted together gives you the ability to control how hot the temperature is in the whole house and how it impacts on each room, having a clean heating system is also important and is not a waste of money if it's kept clean afterwords, a power flush my not be in your budget but would be an idea if you were to fit a new boiler, but putting in a chemical before you have a big drain down can go a long way to clearing out any muck in the system and it's always a good idea to ask the plumber how bad it is just so you know, in respect of your rads i wouldn't replace them unless there was a reason, good luck, Gary.