What is the average life of a boiler?

Boilers are tough bits of kit that we count on to work day-in, day-out.

Boilers have changed dramatically in the last 30 years or so, but many old workhorses from the 1980s or before are still going strong. Truth be told, boilers should last many, many years, especially if they’re well-maintained.

So, what is the average life of a boiler?

What is the average life of a gas boiler?

There are three types of gas boilers; system boilers, conventional (or traditional) boilers, and combi boilers.

Boiler controls
Above: Gas boiler controls

All of these boilers use gas to heat water and account for the vast majority of boilers in the UK. Gas is cheaper than electricity, which makes it the best energy choice for heating most homes.

The average life of gas boilers depends on when the boiler was manufactured, its make, use factors (e.g., how much it’s used), and environmental conditions (e.g., water hardness).

In general, most boilers last for 10 to 15 years at least. However, regular services will boost life expectancy to 15 to 30 years or longer.

Statistics show that around 5% of all boilers break down over 10 years. Many boilers last much longer than 10 to 15 years, however.

For example, the workhorse boilers fitted in homes in the 70s to 90s are extremely durable if well-maintained, and some won’t break for decades. But, that doesn’t tell the whole story, as older boilers generally become less efficient over time.

Old boilers are less efficient

While an old boiler might be virtually indestructible, it might become costly to run. In fact, old boilers manufactured over 20 years ago might be just 50 to 60% efficient compared to 90%+ for boilers manufactured in the last 5 years or so.

If you own an old boiler (15 years or older), then ask a Gas Safe engineer whether it’s worth you replacing it. Replacing your boiler might save you money in the long run.

Above: Boiler with a corroded heat exchanger

What is the average life of a combi boiler?

Combi boilers were first introduced to the UK in the 1970s. Early models struggled with the UK climate, hard water, and other factors. It wasn’t until the late 80s, 90s, and beyond that combi boiler units became popular.

Combi boilers provide hot water and heating from the same unit. Water is heated when it’s required and there’s no cold water feed in the loft or tank in the loft. Combi boilers take water straight from the mains.

Boler control panel
Above: Control panel on typical combi boiler

Above: Control panel on typical combi boiler

Most combi boilers last for 10 years at an absolute minimum but will last much longer with regular servicing (preferably annual). From a technical perspective, high-quality combi boilers should last 30 years or longer under standard conditions.

  • Combi boilers typically last for 10 to 15 years.
  • Regular servicing improves lifespan and performance.
  • Rigorous use or hard water may decrease lifespan.

What is the average life of an oil boiler?

Oil boilers are a popular choice for properties isolated from the mains gas grid.

Oil boilers are as long-lasting as gas boilers. In fact, one study suggests that oil boilers last 3 years longer than gas boilers (15 years instead of 12 years). However, oil boilers often feature shorter warranties than modern gas boilers.

Like gas boilers, oil boilers require regular servicing to keep them working smoothly.

  • Oil boilers typically last for 15 years.
  • Like gas boilers, oil boilers require regular servicing.

How often should a boiler be replaced?

Many older boilers have remained in homes for over 30 or 40 years and are still going strong.

Generally speaking, boilers last for 15 years or so before serious repairs are required to keep them working efficiently. While a boiler may keep working, it’ll probably become increasingly inefficient over time, leading to higher heating bills and lower heating efficiency.

Engineer fixing boiler
Above: Boiler repair

Whether or not you should replace a boiler depends on the following things:

  • Heating performance, are your radiators heating up properly?
  • Noise; old boilers are often noisy and make banging or hissing noise.
  • The pilot light glows orange (get this checked ASAP).
  • Heating bills seem to rise beyond what’s expected.
  • Boiler cuts out regularly.

Summary: What is the average life of a boiler?

Boilers typically last for at least 10 to 15 years, but can last for much longer if serviced regularly.

It’s pretty tough to estimate when a boiler needs to be replaced. For example, a boiler may suddenly fail, but it will usually grow less efficient, resulting in costlier energy bills.

Choosing when to replace a boiler is a strategic decision, so give us a call to discuss your new boiler.

When to replace your boiler FAQ

Should I replace my 10-year-old boiler?

If your new boiler is 10 years old, the warranty has probably ended already. In this case, you might be able to extend the warranty by contacting the manufacturer or seller.

Replacing a 10-year-old boiler is probably unnecessary unless it’s showing signs of serious issues that can’t be rectified by repairing the boiler. On balance, it’s unlikely that anyone would need to replace a boiler that’s just 10 years old.

Can a boiler last 25 years?

Boilers can last for 25 years, but they’ll likely need to be repaired a couple of times within that period. Many old boilers last for longer than 25 years, but servicing becomes increasingly important as the years go by.

If your boiler is 25 years old, ask a Gas Safe engineer how efficient it is. Your older boiler may be costing you a chunk in heating bills, and swapping it out for something newer might reduce your bills.

Can a boiler last 30 years?

Boilers can last for 30 years or longer if they’re well-maintained. The problem is that older boilers might be inefficient compared to newer ones, making them costlier to run. If you’ve got an old boiler, ask a Gas Safe engineer to check it and recommend whether or not you should change or upgrade it.

If you are thinking of upgrading your boiler, give us a phone to discuss your options.