Date - January 2010
The government's announcement of the boiler scrappage scheme at the end of last year and it's subsequent launch on January 5th 2010 has resulted in a flurry of activity from heating equipment manufacturers and installers alike - all keen to maximise the opportunities this new initiative presents.
But can water heating also fit into the overall picture, specifically in relation to cylinders? Here, Jon Cockburn, head of marketing for Santon, looks at the topic of separate domestic water heating systems and how this can present a business opportunity for the installer and improved service for the customer.
The boiler scrappage scheme has predominantly been designed to help the UK meet its emissions targets by encouraging consumers in England to scrap their existing old and inefficient G-rated boilers and replace them with the latest high efficiency, SEDBUK A-rated (or similar) equipment.
In addition, it will also give the heating industry a much needed boost in the same way the car scrappage scheme has for the automotive sector.
A central heating boiler is normally a stress purchase for most people, but it is hoped that the new scheme, which gives homeowners £400 towards their new equipment, will mean they will think about replacing their boiler even before it breaks down. As well as resulting in more business for installers, consumers will have new, more efficient heating provision, which will save them money on their annual fuel bills and reduce emissions. With the current high level of consumer interest in being as 'green' as possible, it is likely this will undoubtedly be a major selling point.
As it stands, the scheme only applies to gas and oil-fired equipment and although cylinders cannot be offered as part of the package, if a customer is taking up the opportunity they may also like to consider upgrading their water heating provision at the same time.
Having a new central heating boiler and system will inevitably create a certain degree of upheaval for homeowners and where there is a need for separate hot water generation, this is clearly a good time to revisit the whole system and maybe install new and more efficient equipment. Upgrading from a G-rated to an A-rated boiler may involve complete replacement of the pipework throughout a property, particularly if the old system was open vented, so it does make sense to upgrade the hot water system while all the work is being carried out.
In the same way that installing a new boiler will give the consumer lower heating bills and emissions, a new unvented cylinder, such as a PremierPlus Unvented cylinder, will deliver a fast and efficient source of hot water while also providing fuel savings. In addition, all PremierPlus models have emergency immersion heating back-up so that in the unlikely event of a breakdown, the customer still has hot water supply.
Such systems are ideal for modern homeowners who use several bathrooms at the same time, and who want frequent showers and constant, but cost effective, hot water. They also want to be able to shower while someone else in the household is running a bath, washing up, preparing dinner or doing the laundry. Then there are luxury bathroom products to consider; for example multi-jet showers and jetted air baths are ever popular and significantly increase hot water demands.
Although the boiler scrappage scheme does not in itself include cylinders, one-off installers who adopt more of an installer-specifier role and become a 'local heating and energy expert' for their customers can create additional business opportunities for themselves. By looking at the complete picture of their requirements and recommending appropriate options, the installer can become an invaluable asset to their customers.