With changes to Part L of the Building Regulations coming into force on 1 April, Paul Strudley, sales director at ADEY Professional Heating Solutions, warns that we shouldn't forget about older homes.

Under the changes to Part L, all new homes will be required to make an additional 6% saving on the target emission rate (TER). Ostensibly this means a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, but central to this is improving the efficiency of the heating system itself. According to the Department of Communities & Local Government (DCLG), homeowners could also see a further £200 reduction in their annual fuel bills if the 6% uplift in TER is combined with other recommended changes.

The ability of regular checks in helping to keep boilers working efficiently should not be underestimated. When you consider a boiler accounts for around 55% of the annual household fuel bill, it is imperative that installers look at a complete solution to system maintenance to ensure it continues to function at an optimum level. Here, installers have an important role to play in educating homeowners about the ongoing benefits of regular maintenance and a best-practice approach will allow customers to reap the rewards.

We welcome any legislative changes that will help improve the efficiency of the nation’s central heating systems. In this case, the changes to Part L make a direct link between environmental benefits and system efficiency, which can only be a good thing. This also translates to a cost saving for homeowners so it’s an attractive proposition.

However, these changes only relate to new homes, so while it’s certainly a step in the right direction, it’s by no means a catch-all solution. In most cases, the older the home, the older the boiler, and it’s perhaps here where there is even more of a need to ensure boiler efficiency is maintained. This is especially pertinent when you consider the UK’s ageing housing stock, with around 80% currently aged at least 25 years or older.

This is further underlined by the results of research commissioned by ADEY, which revealed the extent of the UK’s ageing boilers, with 45% of homeowners claiming to have a boiler between 10 and 15 years old, exceeding the industry accepted lifespan. Incredibly, a further 15% of people who’ve been living in their current home for more than 20 years have boilers that are at least 20 years old.

We believe that every system, whether old or new, will benefit from an effective system flush, installation of an effective magnetic filter and use of premium chemicals to slow down the rate of corrosion. This eliminates further build-up of sludge and scale, preventing system deterioration and helping to maintain maximum efficiency.