Since 6th April 2018 the legislation around heating manufacture and installation in the UK has changed, and there are some big changes. What is this Boiler Plus
These changes have been named Boiler Plus and were introduced by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). They address the energy efficiency of heating systems and have raised the bar for both manufacturers and installers.
The minimum efficiency level of all boilers manufactured and installed will be set at 92% ErP. Most A rated boilers are already working at this level of efficiency already, with a few companies needing to improve their efficiency slightly. The main motivation behind the change is to phase out inefficient boilers and reduce carbon emissions in line with targets set by the EU. It forms just part of a wider plan known as the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy which aims to combat climate change and provide UK homes with greater comfort and lower energy bills.
“These changes will mean far more conversations between installers and their clients about the requirements set out in this consultation and the options that are available to meet them.”
“This will clearly increase consumer’s awareness of what controls are and how they can be used to get maximum efficiency from the new system they are having installed”
“By mandating certain controls, such as programmable timers and thermostats, the market for these products will inevitably be widened while consumer awareness of them and their benefits will also inevitably increase”
What are the penalties?
Installers who fail to install boilers in line with these new Building Regulations will be breaking the law and could be prosecuted by Building Control. The Gas Safe Register can also refer safety concerns to the HSE (Health and Safety Executive). Invoicing a customer for work which they claim to be legal but is not is also to be considered fraudulent under Trading Standards. This could lead to a fine or, in cases of serious fraud, imprisonment. Homeowners who knowingly allow non-compliant work to be carried out could also face prosecution and fines of up to £5,000.
What are the options to comply with the law?
HIIC have provided this helpful diagram to help both homeowners and installers stay on the right side of the law. What is interesting is that the law only applies to combi boilers, as nearly all boilers will come with a timer and thermostat. There has been criticism from some installers that this legislation assumes that only combi boilers are being fitted and other systems do not need other efficiency related devices. However, we will focus on how an installer can stay compliant with the four measures which need to be installed alongside a combi boiler. These four measures are: FGHR, Weather compensation, load compensation and Smart Heating controls.
What are the different measures to comply?
It is worth highlighting that only one of these measures must be installed to remain compliant with the law. In an ideal world all the measures would be fitted to each boiler, but this will add extra costs. Depending on the manufacturer there is a variety of costs associated with the installation, but this is much cheaper than the fine for non-compliance.
What is FGHR?
A Flue Gas Heat Recovery (FGHR) is a device designed to improve the energy efficiency of the boiler by recycling the heat from the flue gases which would usually be lost into the atmosphere. Instead, this heat is used it to preheat domestic hot water. A FGHR will cost roughly £1000-2000 for installation, depending on the brand and size of the boiler.
What is weather compensation?
Weather compensation devices enable the boiler to read the outside temperature via a sensor so that the boiler can adjust the temperature of your heating accordingly. Most weather compensation sensors are standalone units fixed to an exterior wall. A weather compensation kit can be purchased for as little as £30, up to around £250 for better quality kits.
What is load compensation?
Load compensation measures the response of the heating system and adjusts the flow temperature based on what is needed to reduce fuel consumption. A full system will cost anywhere from £500 to £1500.
What is a Smart heating control?
Smart heating controls have had the most media coverage, especially with a push from British Gas for their Hive controls and Google with the Nest. These heating controls allow you to adjust temperature and control when the heating comes on from your phone because they’re connected to the internet via your router. They also monitor and learn your behaviours, leading to a more energy efficient home as the smart control will adjust the thermostat automatically when you are not home. Smart heating controls retail at between £150 and £250, although many manufacturers are offering incentives for new customers with free smart heating controls with installation. See our post on smart thermostats
Most Gas safe installers are opting for a smart heating control, possibly because of the incentives from manufacturers and many homeowners like the link to technology. However, for a cheap and easy solution installing a weather compensation kit will keep you on the right side of legislation and cost a lot less for installers and homeowners.