How to

6 January 2017

Boiler Reviews by Which? Reveal 60% Failure Rate


Those thinking of buying a new boiler before the onset of the February temperature trough should carefully consider which brand they invest in, if long-term reliability is a relevant factor. That’s according to a new report by consumer rights watchdog Which?, which exposes what it calls an ‘appalling’ failure rate for boilers supplied by the least reliable brands between 2010 and 2016.

According to the research, wherein 179 Which? Trusted Trader heating engineers were asked to rate the build quality of a range of boiler brands and 11,460 members of the general public were surveyed in May with questions relating to the performance of their boilers, six of every 10 boilers from the ‘least reliable brand’ were found to have failed over the six year period in question.

As the graph below shows, the research also revealed a remarkable difference between the general likelihood of faults developing in the most trustworthy brand compared to its least dependable competitor.

Img source
As the report states, the graph reveals ‘seven out of ten people who purchased the most reliable brand in 2010 haven't yet had to shell out for any kind of repair. If you purchased the least reliable brand in the same year, then you can commiserate with the six out of ten who will have needed to pay for a repair.’

According to the Boiler Guide website, ‘the majority of boiler breakdowns occur during the cold winter months, when boilers – having been inactive for long periods – are forced back into life.’ Boilers which are failing to provide hot water or heating could be suffering ‘broken diaphragms and airlocks, failure of motorised valves, issues with the thermostat or low water levels.’ Those which are leaking also tend to have broken internal components like seals or valves; and those making strange noises could have pressure problems.

On average, boiler repair costs £200 each time. Schemes like boiler grants can help cover the costs of following Which?’s advice, which is to choose a reliable brand that won't let you down.

To gain access to Which?’s boiler reviews and to know which brands are recommended by the organisation, you’ll need a Which? membership subscription. Unfortunately, there aren’t many schemes to cover the cost of that. 


James Stannard

James has a Bachelor’s degree in History and wrote his dissertation on beef and protest. His heroes list ranges from Adele to Noam Chomsky: inspirations he’ll be invoking next year when he begins a Master’s degree in London.