The vast majority of homeowners have their boiler indoors. It’s usually in the kitchen, but they are sometimes found in basements, utility rooms, garages or lofts, and occasionally in spare bedrooms.
However, there’s a small number of homeowners who have their boiler outdoors. You might have been considering it yourself. Here, we look at the pros and cons of fitting your boiler outdoors. If you’re thinking of moving your boiler, here’s what you need to consider.
Why do some people choose an external boiler?
There are actually some pretty good reasons to have your boiler outdoors, although they are specific to a relatively small number of cases.
The first reason is that there just isn’t enough space indoors. If you live in a small house or apartment, the kitchen will likely be small too, and with the only other options being a living room, bedroom or bathroom, placing it on an outside wall might make sense.
Third, an outdoor boiler is usually easier to maintain, and is accessible from three sides. You can also have it serviced or repaired with no disruption to the home – you can even have it done when you’re out.
Finally, there’s aesthetics. A boiler in a kitchen is pretty visible, and it might not fit with the design. If there are no alternatives, it’ll have to go outside.
What are the disadvantages of an external boiler?
However, placing the boiler outside does have some disadvantages.
The main drawback is that in winter, it’s colder outdoors, so the boiler will need to go into antifreeze mode more often, which will increase gas consumption. If this function is set to trigger at too low a temperature, there’s a risk that water might freeze in the pipework and damage the boiler.
You’ll probably need to add more antifreeze solution to the water too, which can actually put more stress on the pump because it’s thicker. Now, it has to be said that boilers designed for outdoors do have extra insulation and have various safety features built in.
Even so, in cold weather it will always be warmer indoors, so energy consumption will always be higher.
Replacing a boiler is relatively straightforward if the new one is in the same place, but moving it outdoors will require extra building and decorating work, which will add to the cost. That might be a consideration for you.
Aesthetics indoors matter, but they also matter outdoors too. A boiler will be quite a conspicuous box in your garden or back yard, and unless it’s above head level, it might actually get in the way of pathways.
It’s probably rare that your boiler will be firing up when you’re out in the garden as it will likely be a warm day, but if you like a nice quiet garden, a boiler outdoors will be more audible than one indoors.
Is it worth it?
We’d say that in general, if you already have a boiler indoors, then it’s probably best to keep it there. The energy costs alone are a compelling reason.
However, if you have no choice, particularly where space is concerned, it is an option, although you should make sure you get a dedicated outdoor boiler and/or build an insulated structure around it.
Published: 19 May 2022