A Guide to Buying and Installing a Commercial Boiler

Property owners and business managers tend to replace a commercial boiler only when it breaks down. To make things worse, an old and unmaintained boiler always fails when heating is needed most, prompting a distressed purchase.

Due to its unexpected nature, it’s highly likely that there are no funds allocated for an emergency replacement. Productivity is compromised until a new one is purchased. Worst case scenario, it becomes a safety hazard for employees and customers.

Regardless of your industry, a reliable and functioning boiler is a must for any business, especially if a lot of people depend on hot water and central heating.

UK Regulations On Commercial Boilers

UK employers are legally responsible to make sure that the building’s gas appliances and installation pipework are all in good working condition. If you are a commercial landlord, you are also required by law to provide your tenants with a copy of their home’s Gas Safety Certificate.

A few regulations you need to take note of include The Health & Safety at Work Act (1974), The Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations 1992, and the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.

Signs That You Need To Buy A New Commercial Boiler

Although commercial boilers nowadays are sturdier than heating systems in the past, they are still subject to wear and tear. If you are unsure whether your boiler needs replacing, look out for the following warning signs:

  • Age – A condensing boiler can last for 15 years, while cast iron boilers can last for 20 to 30 years. Annual maintenance can extend the life of your boiler, however, its efficiency will still eventually drop.
    PRO TIP: Often, the money saved from the increased energy efficiency of a new boiler will pay for the price of replacement in about a year or two.
  • Energy costs – If your monthly energy expenses are gradually rising, your boiler may be in need of repair. If your boiler needs constant servicing, then the most likely conclusion is that you need to replace it with a more durable and efficient unit.
  • Leakage – Leaking boilers could be a sign that it is already towards the end of its lifecycle. If you replace it, you can avoid potential disasters like floods and property damage.
  • Varying temperatures – If the building’s rooms get too hot or too cold throughout the day, the boiler’s controls may be broken. Repairs can sometimes handle this, depending on the damage, but often this will be a short, rather than long-term fix.

 

 

What Do You Need To Consider When Buying A Boiler?

When it comes to choosing a new boiler, cutting corners could risk the safety of your business and your employees. So it’s best to do your due research before deciding on a boiler solution.

With a myriad of boilers in the market to choose from, you need to pick a system that will fit the needs of your business. But before you can do that, you first need to take into account the following factors:

  • Location – Where are you going to have the boiler system installed? Will there be enough room for all the parts necessary? Would you benefit from using a smaller system?
  • System Dimensions – When looking for a boiler, make sure that you have the location’s maximum dimensions so you can pick one that would actually fit the room.
  • The number of rooms and employees – The number of offices, bathrooms, and the people using them will help determine the type of system to be installed.
  • Zone controls – If your building does not need all the rooms heated (e.g. stock room, basements), you can save on costs by installing controls to heat up only those frequently-occupied rooms.
  • Demand for hot water – Depending on your business, will you need to instantly have hot water or can you wait until it heats up?
  • Cost – As is often the case with replacement boilers, you might be purchasing out of distress. However, you still need to choose wisely. Shop around and find one that would give you the best value for your money, even though you need quickly. The lowest price may not always be the best fit.
  • Warranty – An extended warranty is indicative of a manufacturer’s confidence in the quality of their products. Repairs and replacements may be covered, but be sure to read any fine print thoroughly.
  • Replacement parts – Since maintenance work is inevitable, you also need to be sure that there are spare parts available for the boiler you will purchase.
  • Technical support – Does the manufacturer provide support during pre- and post-sale? All the stages involved in the process—from planning to installation, and after sales—would need to involve you closely. As such, their team should have the right amount of training and certifications to handle such projects.
  • Efficiency – Modern-day boilers are now pretty efficient. That said, you should still pick one that is the right type and size for your building/s. Keep in mind that the UK is legally bound to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Seeing as half of those emissions come from firms and organisations, you also need to play your role in helping the environment.
  • Water treatment – Regardless of the boiler you choose, it needs the right chemical water treatment. It would work better and more efficiently with water properly circulating it. Watertite offers professional commercial boiler and plumbing services to make sure your water management system is working properly and help drive down costs.

 

Different Types Of Commercial Boilers

Knowing the factors you need to consider in picking a boiler is the first step. You now need to choose the type of system that would best suit your business’ needs:


Combi Boiler

A combination boiler provides heat for central heating systems and taps on an on-demand basis.

Pros:

  • It is more compact as the system contains almost all the components within the boiler. No need for cylinder or cistern.
  • No need for cold water or feeding an expansion tank, allowing you to get hot water whenever you need.

Cons:

  • More moving parts that can be subject to damage
  • Can only provide heat for one task at a time

 

Heat-only Boiler

Also known as a conventional boiler, a heat-only boiler has a hot water storage cylinder as well as a cold water feed tank—often in a loft.

Pros:

  • Better suited for those with multiple outlets that need hot water at the same time.
  • You can switch the heat on when you need hot water, and turn it off when you don’t.
  • Water out of taps will have a good flow rate
  • Can be used for businesses that need power showers

Cons:

  • More expensive to install
  • Has more components and pipework
  • Eats up a lot of space
  • If you run out of hot water, you need to wait for it to heat up again

 

System Boiler

This is similar to a heat-only boiler, except that it does not require a cold water storage tank. Sometimes referred to as closed-vent boilers, it does not need a loft. The expansion vessel is also built in.

Pros:

  • Great for places that need hot water coming out of more than one tap
  • No need for extra space to house a cold water tank
  • Quicker, cheaper, and neater installation

Cons:

  • Hot water can still run out
  • Some installers say they are complex and can be more prone to issues, such as pressure loss

 

Your Responsibility To Your Business

A boiler replacement may prove to be costly upfront. However, keep in mind that you have legal responsibilities to maintain your heating system, as well as moral obligations to keep your employees safe.

Proactively upgrading to a new system would save you from dealing with repairs and damages during the worst times, especially on colder days. It would make sure your employees are safe, give you a reliable heating system, and would save you on energy costs.