Wednesday 21 September 2016

the least fun I've ever had spending ALL THE MONEY!!!!

condenser boiler zoned heating installation

Meet Neil! Neil cares about the environment and uses his expertise to improve fuel efficiency and save you money. Neil is very necessary. Neil is very boring. Neil cost €3800.

Pause for minor chest pain to subside.

Yep, our old boiler is no more. It stopped working months ago but seeing as it was almost summer and our house is generally very warm anyway we actually didn't need the we put it to the back of our minds and planned to have someone come and look at it later in the year. We had frivolous things like a car that had actual opening doors to pay for and we just really didn't have the money to be doing repairs right then unless they were absolutely essential.

Cut to two weeks ago, and the first morning that I got up and had to put fleeces on the kids cos it was "a bit chilly". Oh yes, Autumn was on it's way, and while we still had the fire for the evenings our kids very selfishly need warm bedrooms and the occasional (very occasional, grubby is their natural state) hot bath so we really needed to get the central heating up and running again asap. So we booked someone to come and look at it, hoping it would be something that could repaired and we could avoid replacing the whole thing. 

He arrived, he opened the boiler......and a load of rust fell out! He didn't really need to tell me that that couldn't be repaired. Apparently something had been leaking in there for a long time, and the water had eaten through the inside of the boiler. Now, he did say it looked like the boiler hadn't been checked in years, but it really should have been something we had looked at right after e moved in. 

Moral of the story, spend the €100, get your damn boiler serviced!

So we looked at our options, and we could either just replace the boiler, which would cost €2000, or we could fit a new boiler and a zoned heating system. This would mean we could have the heating on just upstairs or downstairs as well as having the option to heat the whole house, or just heat the water tank. Plus we would have thermostats in all the rooms upstairs so that we could set it to a certain temperature and the boiler would click on and off as needed to keep these rooms at their individual set temp. All this would cost €3750, but with a discount from Energia (our gas provider) for going through them and a grant from the SEAI that you qualify for if you install a condenser boiler and zoned heating it would bring the total down to €2450. An extra €450 for a super efficient boiler and complete control over our heating. No brainer.

We did have someone else have a look at it and give us quotes, we didn't just go off what Energia told us.

condenser boiler zoned heating installation

So it took a day and a half, pulling up of carpets and drilling through floors to lay the pipes, and a bloody credit union loan to pay for the whole thing, but it's done now, and I'm eagerly waiting to see what our new bills will be like. Apparently the old boiler would have been running at 65% efficiency at best as it was 13 years old and there weren't the same rules in place for boilers at the time, and the new boiler should be running at 95% efficiency. So with that on top of being able to turn off the heating completely upstairs (we rarely need it on upstairs, it used to really annoy me to have it going up there during the day when it was a complete waste) we should see significant savings! I might do another post later in the year to let you know how much we're saving.

condenser boiler zoned heating installation
The main panel shows us the current temp in each zone, and gives us the option of setting the heating to come on at specific times, or just hit a button and have it immediately come on for an hour. You can even set it to come on days or even weeks from now, nothing like coming home to a warm house after being away!

The whole thing was organised by someone in Energia, and they applied the grant and the discount directly, so we didn't have to pay the full amount first and then claim the grant back like we would have had to do if we went with anyone else. 

Also, I think it's worth noting that there was a mix-up between what we thought we were getting and what the guys who turned up had been told to install. We thought "zoned" meant what I described above, when actually it just means you can control the hot water tank separately to the heating, unless you specify otherwise and pay more for the extra "zone" of being able to control upstairs independently of downstairs. So halfway through the first (and what was meant to be the only) workday we realised the mistake, and we thought it was going to be a huge deal to change it and get what we wanted, plus a whole lot of extra money, but no! A couple of calls between us, the installers and Energia and it was all sorted with minimal fuss and just €250 euro extra. Energia basically (without any arguments!) accepted that they hadn't explained things properly and sorted it all out for us. 

Also, the installers pointed out to me that Energia took a chance on quoting us for the job without sending someone out to look and that there was definitely a lot more work and materials needed than they could have anticipated (pipe had to run all the way up and through a giant hole cut in the floor), plus an electrician had to be brought in, as well as the extra days work they had to do....and not one peep was made by Energia about it. They quoted us a price, and they stuck to that price. 

And I am not saying that for any reason other than I happen to be an Energia customer and I was really happy with the way they handled things.

So there you go, it was really annoying to have to pay for it, but it needed to be done, and at least it's adding value to the house as well as lowering our energy bills. But the moral of the story is, get your boiler checked regularly folks, don't be faced with a box full of rust like we were!!!

I'll leave you with a pic of the monstrosity that is our new boiler, warts n all! All that efficiency requires all the copper pipe in the known universe apparently, making our lovely space-age boiler look like something that was cobbled together from pieces of junk. I'm trying to look at this as a positive, cos this means that we absolutely have to come up with a solution for the mess that is our utility room, and it needs to be done yesterday,cos look.....

condenser boiler zoned heating installation
*screams internally*