Gas Boiler Installation

Gas Boiler Installation: Pro or DIY?

Gas boiler installation yourself may be a way to do that because the trend in the current economic climate is for people to save money in any way possible. Gas boilers are frequently being installed as replacements for older less efficient heating systems. Frequently they replace older hot-water heating systems and can also be used as a solution to home heating needs as well. But can you do it yourself? Well, the answers largely depend on several variables: the type of gas boiler you purchase, the type of system you’re replacing, whether your boiler is for home heating or just water needs, your experience with plumbing and mechanical installation, and local permitting requirements.

Gas Boiler Installation: The Different Types of Boilers?

There are three main types of gas boilers available on the market: conventional or ‘regular’, sealed system, and combination or ‘combi’. Each of these types provides a differing level of difficulty regarding assembly.
The conventional boiler requires installation of a cylinder and a tank, as well as the boiler. The system then needs to be attached to the gas and water lines – carefully following the guidelines provided by the unit chosen. Proper venting is also required to prevent dangerous gases released during combustion from going into the home.
The sealed system boilers do not require a separate tank because most of the parts are contained in the boiler, but they still require installation of a cylinder and the boiler itself. You will also need to tap into both water and gas lines. This system also requires proper venting to prevent gases from building up in the home.
The third type, a combination boiler, doesn’t require the cylinder or tank. These systems need to be installed according to the directions of the given unit, and attached to gas and water lines.

How is Gas Boiler Installation Different in Older Homes?

The most important question you should ask yourself when trying to decide whether to do a DIY gas boiler installation or a pro installation is: how ready is my home for the equipment I want to use. Many older homes have inefficient, bulky systems that need to be taken out, leaving a large quantity of work to prepare for the new boiler. In some cases, the older boilers are coal or oil boilers that can weigh hundreds of pounds. Taking those behemoths out can require a lot of hard labor, and in some instances, have dangerous materials that also need to be removed. Many contractors factor removal into their bids, saving you unnecessary headaches.
If you choose the DIY installation path, there may be one consolation: the metal value of the pieces of the old boiler. After you remove the sections, you may be able to haul them to a salvage dealer, getting some money back for your labor investment.
Taking out older systems is not the only consideration regarding preparing your space for a new device. Another consideration is the adaptations for the gas and water lines, chimneys, and venting. This again will be determined by the type of gas boiler you choose, but some modifications can become pretty significant, introducing a delay to your project.

Gas Boiler Installation: Hot Water, Home Heating, or Both?

Gas Boilers serve numerous purposes around the world, including: steam heat via radiators, radiant-floor heating, or hot-water needs. When considering whether you want to pursue a DIY gas boiler installation or have a pro handle it, you need to consider the tasks involved. Gas boilers are an efficient way to heat your home, but improperly-sized boilers can end up reducing the efficiency of the system, reducing their value to you. In this case, a professional installer may be able to steer you toward the system most likely to meet your needs, and provide tips on how to increase the overall efficiency of the system once installed.
If, on the other hand, you’ve chosen the gas boiler for water heating, you may more easily rely on past experience with water heaters to decide to DIY.

Do You Have the Necessary Experience for a DIY Gas Boiler Installation?

That leads to my next question: do you have any past DIY experience? Working with water lines, gas lines, venting systems, and chimney liners requires some degree of technical expertise. When deciding whether to go it alone during a gas boiler installation, you need to think through your level of comfort. Do you have personal experience with any of the components necessary in installation? Do you know friends or family who can contribute to your knowledge base with experiences of their own? Are you familiar with the technical jargon associated with this specialty? Have you calculated the time you will need to give up to pursue your solo installation? If you can comfortably answer yes to some of the questions above, then I say DIY may be the path for you. If not, consulting with a professional may be a more viable option, saving you the time and money that an unsuccessful installation could cause.

Are There Local Requirements Regarding Gas Boiler Installation?

Many state and local municipalities require permits and inspections during the installation of gas boilers. You will need to research all of the rules and regulations associated with your location, submitting to inspections as you complete the work.

Another consideration can be insurance. Homeowner’s insurance policies can sometimes be reluctant to pay out on claims in which DIY gas boiler installation jobs have gone bad. If your system leaks or you have a gas or water line problem, will you have to pay for it yourself? Reading through the limits of your homeowner’s plan may aid you in your decision.

Choosing between DIY and pro installation of your new gas boiler can be quite daunting, but if you think through your equipment needs, adequately prepare yourself and your space, and research the appropriate laws governing your decision – you can and will come to a decision that makes sense for you and your family.