The Baxi Boiler Efficiency Calculator

Baxi Boiler Efficiency Calculator

Baxi Boiler Efficiency Calculator

 

Last week saw the official launch of the Baxi Boiler Efficiency Calculator.  Recent research that we carried out highlighted that one of homeowners’ main concerns was the rising cost of fuel bills.  So we have designed a tool that illustrates the potential monetary savings to be made when replacing an old boiler with a new, high efficiency Baxi GA boiler.

Firstly, information specific to the home in question is put into the calculator: property type, size, roof insulation thickness, current boiler and the heating controls in place.  The homeowner or installer then selects the Baxi boiler they are looking to install as a replacement.  All of these details, and more, are then evaluated to produce an actual figure to demonstrate the annual savings specific to the house in question.

The Baxi Boiler Efficiency Calculator provides more accurate facts and figures, highlighting the benefits of replacing an old and tired boiler. 

The launch of this calculator is just one more step forward in Baxi’s commitment to driving energy efficiency within the home in the UK.

The Boiler Replacement Allowance in Northern Ireland – what is it, am I eligible and how do I apply?

The Baxi Duo-tec Combi GA can help you reduce your energy bills

Baxi offers advice on the forthcoming Boiler Replacement Allowance, and why it makes good financial and environmental sense to replace old inefficient boilers.

More than 16,000 homes across Northern Ireland could become more energy efficient thanks to a new boiler replacement scheme announced by the Northern Ireland Executive recently. But if your old boiler still works, why should you consider retiring it and installing a new one?

Well, quite simply, if your boiler is more than 15 years old, it is probably what is known as a ‘standard efficiency’ boiler, installed before condensing boilers became the norm. That means that for every unit of gas it burns, it probably converts less than 70 per cent to useable heat, which means you are quite literally burning money!

According to the Energy Saving Trust, replacing an old inefficient boiler with a new model can save you around £300* a year on your fuel bill.

Condensing, or high efficiency, boilers have bigger heat exchangers, so they extract much more heat. In fact, the flue gases can get so cool that they condense – hence the name – and even more energy is recovered, making the boilers over 90 per cent efficient**.

This means you will generate more heat for your money, your fuel bills will be lower and in addition you will be substantially reducing your carbon dioxide emissions. If you switch from oil or coal to natural gas, the money and carbon savings could be even greater.

Am I eligible for the scheme?

In order to be eligible for the scheme you must satisfy the following criteria:
• you own your home
• your household’s income is less than £40,000
• your boiler is over 15 years old

Unfortunately if you rent your home from a private landlord, the Housing Executive or a Housing Association you cannot apply for this scheme.

The grant will help towards the cost of a new, high efficiency oil or gas boiler, switching your heating system from oil or LPG to gas, or switching to a wood pellet boiler, like the Baxi Bioflo.

The amount of money you will get depends on your household income. If your household income is less than £20,000, the basic grant is £700. This will increase to £1000 if you install controls as well as a boiler.

If you earn between £20,000 and £40,000 the boiler grant will be £400, rising to £500 if controls need to be installed.

You can choose your own installer. Where they are working with gas, they must be a Gas Safe registered engineer. You can find installers in your area by visiting the Gas Safe Register website.

You should make enquiries about the best type of heating system for your home and get quotes from several installers so you are ready to get the work done as quickly as possible after your grant is approved.

How do I apply?

The scheme will be available from September 2012, and you can register your interest and find out if you are eligible now by phoning the Northern Ireland Housing Executive on 0300 200 7874 or be emailing boiler-replacement@nihe.gov.uk

Please visit the Baxi website for information on Baxi’s range of high efficiency boilers or to find your local Baxi installer.

* According to the Energy Saving Trust – Replacing your boiler
** According to the Boiler Efficiency Database

Energy efficient solution for Devon home

The Baxi Advance system

Seeing the re-tun of BBC’s DIY SOS The Big Build at Ottery St Mary (You can watch it again here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b013pm0d) has prompted me to post the case study we wrote on the installation.

Ian and Morny Wright have installed the new Baxi Advance heating and hot water systemas part of a major refurbishment of their Devon home.  The couple, along with their three sons, moved into a small two-bedroom bungalow to be close to local schools and have converted the property into an impressive four-bedroom home for their growing family.  They have added a loft conversion and a large two storey extension, housing two bedrooms and a shower room upstairs and extra living space downstairs.

The additional bathroom and a fast growing family meant that the ageing, inefficient boiler and hot water cylinder needed replacing.  To satisfy the increased hot water demand, without the associated increase in energy bills, the old system was replaced with a state of the art Baxi Advance system, which fits neatly into a full height cupboard in the kitchen.  The installation was done by Newton Abbot based heating engineers, Cooks Plumbing and Heating.

The Baxi Advance system comprises a Baxi Duo-tec 40kW combi boiler, a GasSaver passive flue gas heat recovery device and a 50 litre HeatSaver thermal store.  And to make the system even more energy efficient, the system has been equipped with a small solar PV panel and plug-in heating element that pre-heats the system using renewable energy from the sun.  Finally, a plug-in weather compensation kit was mounted on an outside wall.

Morny commented that although they don’t consider themselves to be ultra green, the family has concerns about the environment and are very conscious of rising energy and fuel costs.  “The new Baxi system keeps the home very snug and warm now, and we always have plenty of hot water.  Everybody loves the super powerful hot showers.  We are delighted as it seems perfect for our new, improved home and we are enjoying all the benefits, including smaller gas bills,” she says.

The Baxi Advance system saves energy in several key areas.  The Baxi Duo-tec Combi 40 HE is SEDBUK(2005)>90% rated, compared to the old standard efficiency boiler it replaced.  The GasSaver technology, developed by Devon based Zenex, recovers virtually all the heat that is normally lost through the flue, and stores the heat energy for re-use.  The system uses a small 50 litre Multifit HeatSaver, which is much more compact than a traditional 200 litre hot water storage cylinder and offers excellent hot water performance.

The addition of the optional easy fit ‘plug-in’ solar PV panel takes advantage of solar energy to power an element in the HeatSaver which pre-heats the water in the system.  The Multifit Weather Compensation Kit monitors the outside temperature and adjusts the boiler’s performance accordingly.      

For the Wright family, this technology means a compact, practical and affordable state of the art heating and hot water system, complete with a renewable component, which delivers a combination of maximum comfort and class-leading efficiency.  As Morny adds: “We’re delighted!”

How to thaw your frozen condensate pipe and prevent it from happening again

Examples of frozen condensate pipes

 

It’s that time of year again! Dropping temperatures and heavy snowfalls cause havoc on the roads.  It’s the time of year when heating engineers get huge numbers of calls because high efficiency boilers stop working when their condensate pipes have frozen up.  When the condensate liquid from the boiler freezes in the pipe and can’t escape, the boiler shuts down to protect itself from damage.  In the majority of cases, this happens because the pipe that carries the condensate to a suitable drain is located outside the building, or in an area without heating such as a loft or garage.

British Standards, Building Regulations and boiler manufacturers’ installation instructions currently allow condensate drainage pipes to be located either internally or externally, or a combination of these.  They give guidance on how to install the condensate drainage pipes to reduce the possibility of freezing.  However this guidance may not be sufficient to prevent freezing during the prolonged very low temperatures recently experienced in the UK.   

How can you tell if your boiler condensate pipe is frozen?

A frozen condensate discharge pipe may be indicated in a number of ways depending on the specific model of boiler you have:

• Error codes either E133 or E4 on the alphanumeric boiler display (for Baxi boilers)
• No flame symbol displayed
• Gurgling water noises coming from the boiler. 
• Please note your boiler may have some minor differences to those shown below but the error code or flame failure indication will be the same.

What should I do next?

Baxi’s service division heateam has created this useful video to help you thaw the condensate pipe and reset your boiler. 

1. Locate the blockage
It is likely that the condensate discharge pipe is frozen at the most exposed point external to the building or where there is some obstruction to flow. This could be the open end of the pipe, at a bend or elbow, or there is a dip in the pipe in which condensate can collect. The location of the blockage should be identified as closely as possible before taking further action.

2. Thaw the frozen pipe
The first method of thawing the frozen condensate discharge pipe is to pour hot water (NOT BOILING) over the outside of the frozen section of the pipe using a suitable container, such as a watering can.

This could take around 30 minutes but the boiler will not ignite until the pipe is fully thawed. If your boiler is out of use as a result of the frozen condensate discharge pipe you could heat the water using a kettle or microwave.

You could also use a hot water bottle or heat wrap, the sort that is usually used to ease muscular discomfort. These heat wraps are available at your local pharmacist. If you have chosen to use a hot water bottle hold it against the frozen section until the condensate discharge pipe is fully thawed.  This process may also take some time but again the boiler will not ignite until the blockage is fully thawed.

Please note you should not attempt to thaw a condensate discharge pipe, if it cannot be easily accessed from ground level. Also do not attempt to disconnect the condensate discharge pipe at any time during this process. Only attempt to thaw a frozen condensate discharge pipe if you feel competent to do so.

3. Reset boiler
Once the condensate discharge pipe has fully thawed, the boiler will need to be reset using the reset switch. Once reset the boiler should fire up and run as normal.

4. What should I do if I cannot reset my boiler?
If you are unable to reset your boiler, call your local Gas Safe registered engineer or call heateam, Baxi’s service division, on 0844 335 2266.

How can I prevent my condensate pipe from freezing in the future?

Watch this video from heateam for some suggestions on ways to prevent your condensate pipe from freezing again.

You will need to speak with a Gas Safe Registered installer who may recommend some remedial action that can be taken to prevent recurrences of the condensate discharge pipe freezing. Some options may include:

• Identify alternative route inside your property (or use a condensate pump)
• Increase external pipe diameter externally to 32mm
• Ensure all exposed condensate discharge pipework is insulated with waterproof insulation
• Fit trace heating
• Ensure condensate discharge pipes are connected into soil pipes only (110mm)

For more information:

heateam website – frozen condensate pipes

HHIC website – Help for frozen condensate pipes

Gas Safe Register

Keep the cold out this winter

 

Advice for those with external boiler pipework problems

winter scene

If winter bites hard this year it is vital that we keep our home heating in good working order – the heat must be kept inside.  Our friends at The Heating and Hotwater Industry Council (HHIC) have come up with five cost-saving tips to keep your home in good energy efficient order.

Only heat the rooms you use the most

You don’t have to use the central heating to heat the entire house.  Use the thermostat valves on the radiators and keep them low or turned off in rooms that you don’t use such as the guest room, spare bedrooms or study.  Keep the main rooms you use toasty. 

Insulate your home

By not having your home insulated, a quarter of your heat is lost through the roof.  Insulating your loft is a simple and effective way to reduce your heating bills and you can even do it yourself.  It should be at least 11 inches thick and you could save up to £150 a year.  There are grants and offers available to help pay for loft insulation and you can find more information about this on the HHIC website at www.centralheating.co.uk/checklists 

To check if your house is adequately insulated try the snow test. Compare your rooftop with that of a neighbour.  If your house has no or little snow on the roof then it is poorly insulated because heat is being lost through the roof causing the snow to melt. 

Stop the draft

Light a match and the rising hot air will draw nearby cooler air into the match flame, indicating a draft.  When you heat your home, the rising hot air will pull cold air from outside into the house.  It is important to cut down on spaces where cold air could enter your house, like underneath the external door and keyholes. 

Keep the interior doors closed as this closes off natural air passageways so they can’t act as chimneys allowing warm air to escape up through the house. 

To test whether your draft excluders on doors are worn, light a match and blow it out and run the smoke along the inside of the door frame.  If the smoke blows inward, you have a leak. 

Draw your curtains

At night, and especially during the winter or when it is cold, drawing your curtains can retain a considerable amount of heat.  Properly- fitted curtains can act as great insulation for your windows and reduce heat loss through the glass – particularly large windows and glass doors. 

If your curtains are not retaining the heat in the winter, it is even worth considering investing in a new thicker, heavier set as you are sure to save money on your heating costs in the long run. 

Radiator reflectors

For older houses with not much insulation on the outside walls, a good trick to keep the heat from your radiators inside the house is to place heat reflectors behind him.  You can buy radiator foil which costs about £6.98 for 2.5sq metre or simply use ordinary kitchen foil with the shiny side facing towards the back of the radiator. 

There’s a lot more information about home heating on the HHIC website.