What’s a Retro Boiler?

Heating and Hotwater Industry Council introduces labelling scheme for ageing boiler systems

A real Zombie Boiler. Image by Milosz G (via Shutterstock).

A Real Zombie Boiler: this example, seemingly well over 40 years old, probably fits the HHIC criteria. Image by Milosz G (via Shutterstock).

Alongside the usual socks, underpants, jumpers, and whatever this year’s ‘must-have’ toy is, retro style record players could be topping Christmas wish lists. With our penchant for all things retro, there is certainly one thing we won’t be adding to our list in great numbers. That of an ageing boiler with an oh-so-groovy domed top and a flattering fibreglass gown.

On the 16 November 2016, at the Plumbing and Heating Exhibition at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea, the Heating and Hotwater Industry Council launched a labelling scheme for old boilers. In other words, inefficient boilers which have an effect on household fuel bills. It is estimated by the HHIC that nine million households have an ageing boiler.

Zombie boilers?

If your boiler is over twenty years old you have, in the words of the Heating and Hotwater Industry Council, a ‘zombie boiler’. A Zombie Boiler refers to any installation that is twenty years old or more. One that is highly inefficient compared with today’s models yet, seems to last forever. Typically, they have an energy rating of ‘E’. Switching to an ‘A’ energy rated boiler would dramatically cut CO2 emissions by 0.7 tonnes. After the initial cost of a new system, a saving of £150 per year on your fuel bills.

A similar scheme was introduced in Germany with great success. Stewart Clemens, on the scheme at Chelsea, said: “A growing number of consumer electrical products such as washing machines, fridges and vacuum cleaners feature an energy label, which helps consumers to quickly assess how energy efficient their appliances are, and therefore how much it will cost to operate.

“The heating industry recognised this and under this ‘Retro Boiler’ label scheme will be providing a similar label for older inefficient models.”