School boiler refurbishment – asking the right questions

12 May 2021

Many parents are closely involved in running their local school as governors or on parent-teacher committees. And when it comes to spending, we all know that these groups have to be careful to make the right choices.

It’s particularly challenging when faced with a technical issue, such as the need for a new boiler. Over the years, Alpha Heating Innovation’s experts have helped numerous schools select the right boiler for their needs, so we understand how confusing this sort of choice can be if you’re not a technical expert.

With this mind, we recommend that installers work with customers in this sector to help them understand the benefits of a new boiler, and why it’s a good investment of their budget. And to ensure that the boiler they purchase not only saves money in the long-term, but also provides a better indoor environment for pupils and teachers.

These are some of the key questions to ask clients in the school sector.

How old is the current boiler?

At Alpha Heating Innovation, we have worked on heating refurbishment projects with boilers that are over 30 years old, so don’t be surprised if the current heating system has been in place for several decades. As an installer, it will also be a good indication of whether you might be dealing with a non-condensing system which will therefore need other system changes such as a new flue.

What’s not working with the current heating and hot water system?

This can help identify issues such as running out of hot water when it’s most needed; or that some parts of the school are too hot or too cold. Understanding issues like this will almost certainly identify that the current boiler is incorrectly sized for the building in its current form.

Many school buildings have been updated around an existing boiler. This can include extending the building to include new classrooms; or changing the use of some spaces to create new classrooms as pupil numbers increase. These and other alterations to the building fabric (such as higher U-value windows) can create a gap between boiler performance and occupant requirements.

Where is the current boiler housed?

If the plantroom is small you will need to consider a replacement boiler system that fits and can be installed in that space. Alpha Heating Innovation has developed a range of products with just this problem in mind. Floor-standing or wall-mounted units are available and our modular cascade systems offer the benefits of multiple boilers in a single unit.

For ultimate flexibility, and where the existing plant room is too small, or access too difficult, Alpha Heating Innovation also offers boilers that can be sited safely outside the building.

When are you planning to upgrade the boiler?

Timing is important, so think about how long it might take to carry out the work. This can depend on the type of boiler system selected. Alpha Heating Innovation boilers can be combined in number of configurations including back-to-back or in a L-shape. This flexibility makes it easier to plan the installation and to get it finished even on a short deadline.

While the ideal is to schedule a boiler upgrade during holiday times, that may not always be possible – particularly if it’s an urgent project. In this case, it can be very helpful to have a backup option to help the school remain operational while a new boiler is installed. Alpha Heating Innovation offers a very useful temporary mobile plant room that can keep the heating and hot water on, so the school can carry on as normal.

Schools looking to upgrade their heating system face an array of choices that can seem confusing. But with guidance from installers and manufacturers, they can make the right product selection for their needs, and enjoy reliable, energy efficient heating and hot water for many years to come.

If you would like to find out more about cascade heating systems for the school environment, download our FREE guide >> Cascade boiler systems in schools