Back boilers (also known as back boiler units or BBUs) became popular in 1966 with the launch of the original Baxi Bermuda. A back boiler is a small, compact boiler fitted at the back of an open fireplace hearth. It sits behind a gas fire and provides hot water and central heating to the property.
Back boilers were popular until the Building Regulations changed in 2005, when it became a requirement to install high efficiency condensing boilers. Although many have been replaced with wall-hung condensing boilers, there are still a large number of back boilers still installed in UK homes.
An old standard efficiency back boiler is less than 70% efficient – so for every £1 of gas burned, on 70p worth of useable heat is generated and the other 30p worth is lost up the chimney. By replacing it with a new boiler at over 90% efficient, fuel bills can be reduced by up to £305, according to the Energy Saving Trust.
When replacing a back boiler, there are several extra factors that need to be considered, which you should discuss with your Gas Safe registered installer