We’re always talking about the money-saving potential of modern condensing gas boilers. For instance, did you know that you could save £300 a year by trading in your old boiler and replacing it with an A-rated appliance, with these savings continuing for many years?
But just because a boiler is described as ‘Eco’ does not necessarily mean it is energy-efficient, as residents in a housing development in Grimsby are realising. The Grimsby Telegraph reports that almost 160 households in Robert Pearson Mews, Scartho Top and Freshney Green are enduring “crippling” fuel bills as a result of their inefficient new boilers.
A campaign, led by Scartho Top resident Jason Oldershaw, is asking developer Linden Homes to replace the boilers in these new housing developments, and for compensation to be paid to those households who have lost money as a result of the appliances.
Mr Oldershaw, 27, initially complained to Longhurst and Havelok Homes, but was unsuccessful. He then received help from Geoff Morgan, a heating engineer, who discovered that the NIBE ‘eco’ boilers are around three times more expensive to operate than conventional boilers would be. Despite this, Mr Oldershaw said he was informed that the boilers are just as efficient as alternative heating appliances would be, and that nobody else had complained about them.
He moved into his home just under two years ago, and became concerned about the boiler within a month. He said that the boiler is designed to be turned on around-the-clock, but that as it is an ‘eco’ model, his energy bills should be lower than they would otherwise be. Mr Oldershaw was told to predict electricity bills of £50 a month, but instead his bills have been around £90 a month or even higher.
In December, he struggled to get the boiler to work properly, and an inspection revealed that the appliance had not been set properly. Nonetheless, when it was re-set, his bills still remained high.
Nonetheless, the newspaper reported that an unnamed woman has racked up energy bill debts of £2,000 as a result of the boilers. Another householder was reportedly billed £147 despite not having yet moved into her property, while some people said they have had to invest in electric heaters because they cannot afford to run their boilers as they would like to.
Some complained that they were “too frightened” to use their boiler, even in winter, and instead wore several layers of clothes and hid under blankets during the coldest months, while one leaking boiler saw someone’s kitchen and bathroom flood on three separate occasions.
Mr Oldershaw therefore argued that it is “very clear” he was not the only complainant to Linden Homes, although he admitted some people in “desperate” situations may be “fearful of complaining”.
He said he searched for information about the boiler on the internet and found that people across the country have experienced similar issues. Concluding, he stated that Linden Homes and the other relevant housing associations should recognise that they made a mistake in choosing NIBE boilers and that they should “put it right”.
A housing association in Coventry experienced similar problems last year, but agreed to replace its NIBE boilers with gas boilers following a campaign by local residents.
NIBE boilers should recycle air. If they are unable to raise the water temperature adequately by doing so, they use an electric immersion heater. In fact, they are not actually boilers, but are exhaust-air heat-pumps (EAHPs), extracting hot air from kitchens, bathrooms and other wet-rooms and converting this energy into central heating and hot water.
A NIBE UK representative told the Grimsby Telegraph that EAHPs are “efficient, effective and cost-effective”, providing that they have been operated, installed and specified properly. “Independent academic research” supports this, they added.
The spokesperson said that NIBE is a manufacturer rather than an installer, and is therefore not responsible for the improper installation of its products. Nevertheless, the firm still takes all possible steps to ensure its appliances are installed properly, and has made it a condition of its appliance warranty that these EAHP systems are fitted by accredited and trained installers.
Around 15,000 properties in the UK have NIBE EAHPs, leading the representative to remark that “thousands of existing systems” are “working perfectly” in the country at the moment.
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If you’ve just installed a new gas boiler, or you’re planning to replace an inefficient boiler, then don’t forget to protect your investment with boiler cover. We’ve got a range of affordable protection plans especially for you.
Don’t attempt to touch any part of your boiler or central heating system if you’re unsure. Did you know? It’s illegal for anyone to use a gas appliance if they think it’s unsafe. It’s always better to be safe than sorry as you could make things worse.
Instead, call us on 0345 3192 247 and we can help. Our technical team will run through some simple troubleshooting to see if your problem can be resolved on the phone or they can book one of our friendly and knowledgeable Gas Safe registered engineers to get you back up and running as soon as possible.