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Freezing point: why I’m getting a new boiler

swimming bathsTalk about bad timing. Sunday was freezing cold here – it’s still pretty nippy now. So, of course, our boiler has given up the ghost. We have our gas fire on the whole time and there’s also an electric heater – but that’s really expensive to run. And the immersion heater is inefficient – we went for a swim at the local baths on Sunday morning mainly so we could have a nice hot shower.

The boiler had been serviced earlier in the week and the nice man warned that it was on its way out (he said that British Gas wouldn’t even look at it as it was ten years old and obsolete). Obviously the boiler heard this and decided it was only going to work for a few minutes at a time before switching itself off. The man came back and fiddled again and said that while it could be repaired the part would cost several hundred pounds and there was no guarantee the boiler would last much longer.

So, rather than throw good money after bad I’m shelling out for a new one: a bill that’s going to be close to £2,000. It’s a huge sum of money that will dent my savings. But it’s better than worrying about the thing packing up again and I can’t stand being freezing cold and bathing in a few tepid inches of water. And, thinking positively, a new boiler should be more efficient and save me money in the long run. The new one will come with a five year warranty that for an extra £140 I can extend to ten years – that seems a good deal as long as the boiler man carries on working that long (he could give up work and retire to the Bahamas).

Yet still, £2,000! At least I have the money in my account, but if I didn’t, what would I do? My boiler man (a local, one man band) doesn’t take credit cards so I couldn’t put it on that. I imagine lots of people would have to take out a personal loan if they needed to get a new boiler. Rates on these depend on how much you borrow – and what your credit record is like. Assuming you’ve got a good one then you might be able to get a rate of 2.8% (see here for current deals) but if not, you’ll pay a lot more. What you do need to be wary of is taking out a loan if you’ve got savings. This is pointless, given that you’re probably getting no more than 1.5% on your savings – half that you’ll pay on a loan. Many of us say we have savings for our rainy day money: replacing the boiler surely counts as something you should use your emergency cash for.

And see our SMM guide to saving energy here.

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Wednesday, 22 May 2019