Do I need a new boiler?

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Even the best boiler will become temperamental over the years, and will eventually break down for good. We all know that sinking feeling when your boiler catches you unawares and gives up the ghost just as a cold snap’s on the way, so get to know the warning signs of a boiler that’s on the way out.

If your boiler is exhibiting any of these symptoms, it’s a good indication that you’ll be needing a new one in the near future.


Carbon monoxide

We’ll start with the most serious – a boiler that’s leaking carbon monoxide is not just dangerous, but deadly.

There are a few different signs that carbon monoxide may be coming from your boiler, and we’ll talk about a few of them later.

But every home should have a carbon monoxide detector installed – and if it’s making a noise, then you should open the windows, vacate the premises, and call the Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999.

Not every boiler issue is a sign of carbon monoxide, but some are, and others can lead to a leak.



Clunking, popping, hissing and whirring sounds coming from your boiler, radiators or pipes are a good sign that something’s amiss, and they should be fairly easy to notice.

It can be all-too-easy to ignore odd sounds and put them down to “just the house settling”, but strange sounds should be taken seriously. It can be a symptom of a lot of different problems, some of which might mean your boiler isn’t in safe working order anymore – so get it checked out.



A leaking boiler is incredibly serious, and not just because it can cause a lot of water damage to your home. If left alone, it could also lead to a carbon monoxide leak.


Unreliable temperatures

Fluctuating water temperatures, running far too hot or far too cold, or taking a really long time to heat up are other good signs.

The same goes for your heating – if your house just doesn’t get warm, even with the boiler on full blast, then there’s a good chance that your boiler can’t quite cope anymore.


Regular loss of pressure

Sometimes your boiler will just lose pressure – there are a few different reasons for it, but the end result is always radiators that just won’t heat up.

It’s not always a problem – we’ve talked about how to fix a pressure loss on our blog before – but if it’s a common issue, then it’s either a leak somewhere in your system, or a problem with your boiler.

You might be able to find the leaky pipe culprit yourself – but if you’re not sure where to look, or can’t find one at all, then it’s time to call in a plumber.


Yellow flames

If you can see the flame in your boiler, then it should be blue. A yellow flame is another sign of carbon monoxide.


Odd smells

Carbon monoxide is an odourless gas, which is why you need a sensor. But a gas leak will be obvious from that eggy, sulphuric smell.

Much like with a carbon monoxide leak, a gas leak is a sign you need to turn off your gas supply, leave the house, and call the Gas Emergency Services.

However, it’s not the only smell you need to keep a nose out for. Metallic or burning smells might mean a different problem altogether.


Rising bills

If your bills are going up and you don’t know why, it could be a sign of a system that’s just not as efficient as it used to be.

First of all, check that your supplier hasn’t put their prices up, or that you haven’t left the boiler on for longer than usual. But if you’re still seeing bigger bills despite nothing changing, then the culprit could be the boiler.


Regular breakdowns

A lot of these issues aren’t necessarily signs that you need a new boiler – you might be able to get it fixed up to a safe working order again, and see a few more years of life out of your trusty old boiler yet.

However, if you’re having regular breakdowns, then it’s a sure sign that it’s time for a replacement. While a new boiler is more expensive than a quick fix, constant repairs will start to add up, and will eventually stop being cost-effective anymore.


If it’s just plain old… old!

There’s no cut-off point for when you should change your boiler, but the older it gets, the more likely you are to need a new one. Some will tell you 10 years, others 15, while others still will say that old-school boilers are far better than any modern rubbish models.

We don’t agree with any of those – depending on the boiler you’ve chosen, it could start to exhibit some of these symptoms at any point in its lifespan.

If you’re starting to have problems, don’t put off talking to a plumber about whether you need a fix or a replacement – ignoring it could lead to something even more serious.

If you’re interested in a new boiler, then give our boiler quote tool a go – you just need to put in a few details about your home and your current system, and it’ll give you an idea of prices.