Cost Factors in Replacing a Boilermate

Boilermates are a storage system using the central heating installation to warm water in the unit. Thermostatic blenders mix in hot and cold water before it reaches your taps, providing reliable hot water.

They aren’t a standalone boiler but rather work with your boiler to provide water management. If you have an older Boilermate, it may start to fail, with common problems including:

  • Pump failure
  • Faults with the sensors
  • Circuit board faults
  • Leaks

Leaks are perhaps the most serious since they can cause damage to your property and flooring, often producing rusty red water that can stain.

The good news is that if your boiler is functioning well, and you simply need to replace or repair your thermal storage cylinder, this is a lot simpler than a complete boiler replacement.

Cost factors include:

  • The type of thermal storage you need. These can be vented or unvented, with unvented cylinders being the more basic option, running from the mains water supply. Vented hot water cylinders are more complex and include a water storage tank surrounded by a thermal tank jacket to stop water from cooling in the winter.
  • Whether you have an existing Boilermate and if you need to replace the cylinder, the tank, or the whole unit. Replacing existing parts is an easier task than installing a new storage cylinder. New installations cost around £250 to £350 depending on the pipework required and up to £3,000 if you need a new tank.
  • If your Boilermate is staying in the same place. As with a new installation, if you want to move your thermal tank to a different room or into the attic, the costs will increase due to labour costs and piping.
  • Whether you decide to stick with a Boilermate thermal unit or replace it with another brand. Gledhill cylinders tend to be at the lower end of the cost spectrum and offer direct and indirect copper cylinders, so there is a unit suitable for most properties. Other brands include Stelflow, Worcester Greenstore and Joule Cylinders.

The most significant Boilermate replacement cost will be the cylinder and tank, and plumbers tend to quote on the labour cost per day. If you replace a standard copper water cylinder, the unit will cost around £220 or so for the fixture alone.

That sort of project would cost around £500 to £600 depending on how many labour hours are required. The UK average labour charge is £160 per day.

Upgrading an unvented hot water cylinder to a more sophisticated option will cost closer to £700. Cylinders that are unvented, insulated and pressurised need two plumbers to fit and usually require one day of labour or more if the installation is more complicated or needs new piping.

However, if your Boilermate isn’t functioning, and this is due to a fault within the central boiler itself, you could be looking at a much higher cost.

New boiler installations can cost from £1,000 for basic models, up to several thousand pounds for a biomass boiler.

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Additional Cost Considerations in Replacing a Boilermate

There are other costs to consider when working out the budget to replace your Boilermate water storage unit – and much depends on how extensive the work is and whether repair works are required in your home.

If you are moving your Boilermate or replacing it with a different thermal heating unit type, you will need to factor in redecorating works. This also applies if your Boilermate has leaked since the damp and staining will need to be repaired.

Piping will inevitably mean drilling holes if your project isn’t a like-for-like replacement, so that will involve plastering, repainting and sometimes replacing trims.

You might also think about the Costs to Move a Radiator if your heating system has been upgraded, and you want to ensure even heat distribution throughout the property.

Should you replace your Boilermate due to problems with the hot water supply, it’s also advisable to book a Boiler Inspection Callout to ensure all the other parts of the system are operating correctly.

Other factors include:

  • Your location – homes in the southeast and London tend to cost more for repair works. This factor can add around 5% to 10% to the overall quotation.
  • Waste removal – ripping out the old Boilermate is a reasonably quick job but will incur labour charges for the time required. Your quote will also likely include the costs to dispose of the waste materials.
  • Fittings and piping – if any of the piping is worn or needs to be moved, the budget will include the costs to replace that pipework, the time required to install it, and prices for additional fittings and fixtures.

Given the range of water heating cylinders on the market, we would recommend having a chat with your preferred contractors to see which models or brands they would recommend for your property’s size and how many people live in your home.

Boilermates are not one of the most expensive models, but it’s essential to ensure you choose a thermal heating unit with the capacity to meet your requirements.

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Breaking Down a Boilermate Replacement Cost Quote

The primary elements in your Boilermate replacement quote will be labour and materials. For example, that might look like:

  • Cost for the new Boilermate unit – around £1,000 depending on the model.
  • Labour charges per person per day – average at £160 for each tradesperson x number of days required.
  • Additional parts and fixtures – that could include new pumps, pipes, components and fittings.

A lot will depend on the installation’s simplicity and whether any elements of your plumbing system need repairing or replacing to install the new Boilermate correctly.

Gledhill units can be cheaper to buy directly – although these can usually only be purchased from the manufacturer by contractors or tradespeople. However, many plumbers will only provide a warranty or guarantee against products they have supplied themselves since they know the unit is authentic and can verify the manufacturer warranty details.

There are also several different types of Boilermate unit, so if you want to stick with the same brand, the pricing could change if you opt for a more advanced model than your current installation.

Which Thermal Storage Units are the Most Cost-Effective?

The reason thermal water storage is cheaper is that it doesn’t require electricity. It can integrate with other appliances – such as heat pumps or electric boilers as well as traditional gas boilers.

You can direct the temperature via a thermostat and usually only need to heat an unvented cylinder once per day to have enough hot water for a full 24-hours. Therefore, this can be substantially cheaper (and means there is hot water on demand) rather than the need to regularly leave the system running continuously or turn it on and off again.

The best water storage unit for your property will depend on many factors – and if you’re weighing up the Boilermate replacement cost, it’s also worthwhile thinking about alternative installations.

Indirect cylinders cost around £150 to £300 – these are simple systems, which use a single heat source, and output heat through water and radiator. However, they aren’t designed for use with renewable energy sources or underfloor heating.

Thermal stores are the tank where hot water is stored. Tanks buffer the heat source and deliver water according to the required temperature. Popular options include the Gledhill Torrent (the same manufacturer as Boilermate) or a Chelmer Ecocat – these will cost somewhere around £2,000 depending on the size of the thermal store.

If you have a larger property with a bigger family, you’re probably best opting for a larger thermal water store – these can be around 200 to 300 litres for the average family. Combining that with a smaller hot water cylinder of 80 or 120 litres is usually a good compromise.

Boilermates are not one of the most expensive models, but it’s essential to ensure you choose a thermal heating unit with the capacity to meet your requirements.

FAQs - Cost to Replace a Boilermate Thermal Storage Unit

Here we’ll answer some of the most commonly asked questions about upgrading or replacing your Boilermate unit!

Do Boilermates Come with a Warranty?

Yes, they come with a guarantee of up to 25 years, depending on which cylinder you purchase.

  • Thermal store appliances come with a five-year warranty, plus one year on components.
  • Open vented cylinders have a ten-year cylinder warranty and a year for the components.
  • Unvented cylinders carry a 25-year warranty, plus two years on the components.

Warranties start from the date of manufacture. To register your warranty, you will need to find the 12-digit serial number if you have a thermal store or unvented cylinder – these are printed on a barcode label.

Open vented cylinders, and Boilermate models have a delivery note code and a job number on the data label that you’ll need to register your warranty.

Can I Buy and Fit a New Boilermate Myself?

Not usually, unless you have plumbing experience and are a registered tradesperson. Boilermates and other Gledhill appliances are not sold directly to the public and can only be bought from trade counters.

Your plumber or contractor will include the price of the unit in their quotation. You can register your warranty directly with the manufacturer using the product information on the label.

Is a Boilermate a Cylinder or a Thermal Tank?

The Boilermate unit itself will vary depending on when it was manufactured.

Traditional Boilermates are thermal storage units and store energy within the water, which is vented. These units manage hot water and central heating supply contained within a cabinet.

Newer Boilermates can include electric boilers as a backup to the main gas boiler, with central heating control, boiler settings, water pumps, mains pressure and an open vented store to manage all of the elements of household heating and hot water.

Thermal store cylinders store and manage renewable heat until a thermostat kicks in, or you draw hot water, which is then dispensed from the tank.

Therefore, the costs of replacing a Boilermate depends on the functionality you require, what sort of installation you have now, and whether you decide to opt for a different model.

Can I Install a Smaller Boiler if I Have a Boilermate?

Possibly, yes. Boilermates make heating and hot water more efficient by storing water in a thermal tank.

Depending on the size of the tank, you might be able to install a smaller boiler to account for the increased efficiency of your Boilermate unit.

Is It Cheaper to Fit a New Boilermate or Upgrade to a Combi Boiler?

The best boiler and thermal tank will depend on the site of your property. Boilermates are an efficient way to generate fast heating because they store a high volume of water and need a relatively small kilowatt boiler to produce the required heat.

However, older Boilermates don’t perform as well, and in some cases, it would be cheaper to run a larger combi boiler to supply water on demand.

Combi boilers only use a full kilowatt when the hot water is used, which might be cost-effective depending on how many people live in your home.

That said, a combination boiler isn’t appropriate for a property with a Boilermate already fitted, and so an unvented hot water cylinder would be a better option. These can usually be installed in the same space as the old thermal store.

Rich Crossley
Having spent 30 years working all over the world for top-tier investment banks, I’ve owned and developed houses all over the world – Europe, the US and Asia. I’m now based back in the UK and involved in the property industry – oh, and I’m a keen DIY enthusiast!
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