An effective and efficient central heating system is a crucial requirement in any home. For homeowners using an electric heating system, immersion heaters could be the primary water heating device. Even for homeowners using gas boilers, an immersion heater can still be installed as a backup plan in case there’s a fault with the boiler.

While immersion heaters may take a longer time to heat up your water than gas boilers, they do not have to rack up substantial electricity bills since they can be turned off and on. The use of immersion heaters can cause it to develop some faults. If your immersion heater is faulty, it runs inefficiently or stops heating your water altogether. At this point, it may become necessary to replace it. This article will explore the cost of replacing an immersion heater. Several factors affect the cost of replacement, and we will explore these factors later on.

There are several benefits to having your immersion heaters in tip-top condition. Since they are not connected to your boiler, they can heat your water independently from it. Also, an immersion heater can automatically turn off and on if it has thermostat control. This feature can help you save on electricity.

Aside from that, they are usually plugged into a wall socket connected to the mains electricity supply. Thus, homeowners using time-of-use electricity tariffs can use their immersion heaters during off-peak periods to take advantage of low energy charges.

In this article, we’ll expound on how much different types of immersion heaters cost to replace. We’ll also touch on the factors that might affect the replacement costs.

Later in the article, you’ll find some tips to help you save money on immersion heaters. You’ll also find out if you actually need a new immersion heater or not. Most importantly, we’ll share the best methods to hire the ideal professionals for the job.

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What’s the Cost of Replacing an Immersion Heater?

Immersion heaters are very powerful equipment; thus, they tend to burn out after a couple of years. The durability of your heating device depends on several factors, including its model and frequency of use.

If your immersion heater is losing steam and isn’t seeming to work correctly anymore, it might be time to change it. To replace your immersion heaters, you may require the service of a plumber or electrician.

If you are sure you need a replacement, and there would be no rewiring required, a plumber will be perfect for the job. Also, if there’s a leakage issue associated with the faulty heater, you need the services of a plumber.

However, if there are no leakage problems, an electrician or heating engineer is your best bet.

TYPE OF IMMERSION HEATER SUPPLY COST LABOUR COST LABOUR DURATION
Titanium £28- £120 £25 – £85 per hour 1-3 hours
Copper £16- £70 £25 – £85 per hour 1-3 hours

Copper units are usually cheaper and can cost as low as £13. Titanium units are more expensive and are usually more durable, sometimes costing up to £120. This is because they are corrosion-resistant and can generally withstand harsher mineral and chemical abuse.

Depending on several factors, labour costs will vary widely. On average, however, expect to pay up to £80 for each of your tradesman’s hours. Replacing an immersion heater should take an average of 90 minutes. The time could increase significantly depending on whether there are additional repairs or on how many heaters you’re replacing.

Note that a storage cylinder may have up to 2-3 heaters installed. Therefore, replacing them all might incur higher supply and labour costs. Depending on your engineer’s diagnosis of the problem, you may need to change all your heaters, even though only one is burnt out.

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What Factors Affect The Cost Of Replacing An Immersion Heater?

As we stated earlier, there are several factors that contribute to the overall cost of replacing your heater. These factors are responsible for the wide range of replacement costs of immersion heaters.

Type, Model, and Size 

The cost of replacing your immersion heater could depend on the type, model, and size of the heater. As we showed earlier, there are majorly two types of immersion heaters- copper and titanium. However, there are also other less popular ones like Incoloy immersion heaters.

These different types of heaters vary in price, with copper being the cheapest. Copper heaters are popular and do the job. However, they are more prone to rusting when used in stainless steel tanks.

For hard water areas, titanium heaters are preferable. Incoloy heaters sit between both types in terms of cost.

There are three major sizes of immersion heaters- 11-inch, 14-inch, and 27-inch. An 11-inch copper unit costs an average of £17, while a 27-inch unit costs about £20. Titanium units of 11 inches cost £29 on average. In contrast, 27-inch titanium units can cost £35 upwards, even up to £100.

Prices can also differ by brand/model. Thus, you might get the exact unit from different brands at slightly different prices.

Heating Elements

The number of heating elements you install in your storage cylinder affects the replacement cost. Single-element units are cheaper and might incur lower labour costs to install.

However, there are several advantages to using dual-heating elements. These units are more expensive than their single counterparts and may incur higher labour costs. However, they are more energy-efficient.

Several people prefer these units because they heat up water more evenly and efficiently. The dual-heating units have one immersive heater each at the top and base of the water tank, and they don’t run simultaneously. The top heater first heats up the water at the top part of the tank and automatically shuts off. Afterwards, the lower heater runs to heat the bottom part of the tank. This mechanism is what makes the dual-heaters energy-efficient and prefered by many.

However, as we stated earlier, these units are more expensive. Thus, if you wish to invest in them, you’ll incur an enormous bill but save on energy bills in the long run.

Location

Like many services, labour costs might vary depending on location. In the UK, the labour cost of installing immersion heaters in London, for example, would be higher than in other places.

Also, the location of your water cylinder and the immersion heater you want to replace might affect labour costs. For example, if you have to replace the lower heater, the tradesperson would have to drain the whole tank. This might take some time and increase labour costs if they charge by the hour.

Additional Services

While replacing your immersion heater, there might be a few other things that need to be fixed. For example, your technician might find a faulty thermostat on one of your immersion heaters.

Replacing a faulty thermostat can range from £100 to £400, depending on if it’s a smart thermostat, programmable thermostat, or a manual one. Smart thermostats can be expensive, costing up to £400 for service and labour. Manual ones are cheaper and can cost as low as £110.

Also, if you live in a hard water area, you could find that your immersive heater works less efficiently. Due to the excess buildup of limescale, your tradesperson might need to install a water softener. This softener could cost £800 to £4000 to buy and install, depending on the softener type. Ion exchangers usually cost the least, while salt-free water softeners cost the most.

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Tips To Save Money On Your New Immersion Heater:

Before proceeding with any project, knowing if there are ways to cut costs without compromising quality is necessary. There are a few measures to observe that can help you reduce your spending.

Fix and Replace Elements

To save some money, you should consider replacing or fixing the necessary parts of your heater. It might be best to have a tradesperson decide if the elements or your whole unit need replacing.

Many times, it could be that replacing elements and cylinders is all you need. Also, if you have multiple elements, it might be wise to replace them all, even though only one develops a fault.

If the heaters were installed at the same time, then they are likely to burn out almost at the same time also. Replacing all elements at once might help you spend considerably less on labour.

Preempt Repairs

It’s necessary for you to plan ahead to replace your immersion heaters. Immersion heaters can last for long periods of time, depending on several factors, and some can even last up to decades.

However, when it comes to replacements, it’s essential to be more proactive than reactive. If you suspect your unit might need to be replaced soon, don’t wait for it to pack up before booking an appointment with a tradesperson. Emergency call-outs are often costlier than planned appointments.

Therefore, avoid the chance of your unit dying on you, and set an appointment beforehand. If you hire a plumber for another purpose, you can ask them to ascertain if you need a new heater.

Observe Preventive Measures

You can observe several measures to save money on replacing your immersion heater. Firstly, you may want to get an immersion heater with an automatic thermostat. This sort of device helps to turn off your heater, thus preventing it from overworking. This might improve the longevity of your immersion heater.

Also, we noted how limescale buildup could negatively affect your heater’s efficiency. Thus, investing in a water softener may be well worth it. This is a must for those living in hard water areas.

Also, investing in a titanium immersion heater is an excellent idea if you live in an area with hard water. Titanium is anti-corrosive and has several other advantages, including its lifespan.

Although these measures may seem expensive at first, they will save you a lot in the long run. Observing these and other preventive measures will help you save money in the long run.

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Does Your Immersion Heater Actually Need a Replacement?

Before deciding to get a new heater, it’s best to confirm that you do. A couple of things could be wrong with your immersion heater. These include

  • Bad thermostat
  • Limescale buildup
  • Circuit breaker problems

A faulty thermostat might cause your immersion heater not to get hot. Depending on the kind of thermostat your unit has, you might be able to simply reset it with the touch of a button. External thermostats are likely to have a reset button.

As we stated earlier, a limescale buildup could be the reason your heater is not working optimally. Your circuit breaker might also be the culprit.

Your technician might take the following steps to help diagnose and fix the problem.

  • Your tradesperson will first ensure that your miniature circuit breaker has no fault. If it doesn’t, they’ll likely isolate the circuit and turn off the cylinder switch. This is to ensure that the immersion heater does not have power flowing and is thus safe to be worked on.
  • Next, your tradesperson will use an electrical test meter to check if there’s power in your unit’s heating element.

After turning off the power and disconnecting wires, they’ll test the thermostat to see if it works. They will likely do this by setting the thermostat to the highest temperature and observing. If the thermostat shows no continuity while on resistance setting, then it’s faulty and needs replacing.

  • In the event that your thermostat is in perfect working order, your technician will proceed to test the heating elements. Depending on the resistance reading, your technician will know if your element is faulty.
  • Next, your tradesperson will need to drain your tank to have access to the immersion heater that needs replacing. Failure to do so will cause a domestic flood in your home.

After draining your tank, they will proceed to replace the necessary parts. Your technician might use a spanner to loosen your unit’s element.

  • Finally, they’ll install the replacement parts and wire them correctly. Your tradesperson will then ensure that all connections are intact before turning on the power.

At this point, you’ll need to refill your tank. When your tank is filled up, turn on the new immersion heaters to see if it works.

It’s crucial that you get a professional tradesperson to diagnose and fix your immersion heater problems.

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What’s Involved in Replacing an Immersion Heater?

It is not advisable for a non-professional to attempt to replace an immersion heater by themselves. Without considerable expertise and experience, you may end up doing more harm than good.

Replacing your immersion heater might likely take up to 2 or more hours. To replace the heater, your technician might begin by turning off the old heater from the wall socket. They might also unplug it entirely and remove the fuses to be safe.

Next, they would turn off your cold water supply valve to stop water from filling up the tank. Afterwards, they would drain your tank by turning on the hot water tap. Depending on the size of your tank, this might take a few minutes.

The technician will loosen the old immersion heater when the tank is nearly empty. The little water remaining in the tank helps provide some stability to offset the pressure of removing the old heater.

After loosening it, your technician might need a hose to drain the remaining water in the tank. When your tank is empty, the technician proceeds to uninstall the old heater completely.

Then, your new immersion heater is installed. Your technician would ensure not to cross the thread while installing the new immersion heater. They will then tighten the heater.

After the installation, all drains will be turned off, and your technician will start to refill your tank. After filling your tank, the professional will ensure there are no leaks before proceeding to the final bit.

When it’s been ascertained that there are no leaks, your technician will fix all the necessary electrical connections. They will then set the thermostat. At this point, your new unit is ready to work, and your technician will replace the fuses and turn on the power.

After the power is turned on, it might take some time before your water heats up to the desired temperature. Usually, it should take 2-3 hours, but it may take more depending on your tank size and the number of heating elements installed.

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Finding and Hiring the Best Professional

Finding the right professional to replace your immersion heater can seem like a daunting process. Moreover, it may be tough if you have not had that sort of work done before.

If you know someone who’s had this kind of work done for them, you can get a recommendation from them. Otherwise, you can solicit advice from family and friends. This way, you’ll use a professional that has been tested.

In the event that you cannot get a good recommendation, it’s best to use a tested and reliable tool like HouseholdQuotes. With HouseholdQuotes, you can get access to the best professionals in different industries.

By simply choosing the trade type and your specific needs from their list of options on the website, the tool will match you with the most reliable professionals closest to you. You can also get free quotes on the site to know how much you’ll likely spend.

HouseholdQuotes has been in the business of matching people with the best professionals for five years. The site has high ratings on different review sites and has helped thousands of people get quotes and hire professional tradespeople. You could also save up to 40% of your service charge.

You could also check the Gas Safe Register to find professionals for any of your house projects.

Ensuring the Professional is Right for the Job

If you care about getting professional work done, hiring the right fit should matter to you. If you find a professional that seems to match your needs, it’s still essential for you to do your due diligence in vetting them.

Hiring any professional for work should involve “interviewing” them to see that their profile exactly matches the skill set you need.

There are a few things that you must ensure are in place before hiring a professional:

  • You must ensure that the tradesperson is registered with necessary trade bodies. This would mean that they are certified to carry out the required trade.
  • It is best if you hire a professional with an excellent track record of carrying out similar work. A professional with the necessary experience is most likely best suited for the job.
  • If possible, ensure that the professional has a work history that can be checked and verified. Also, they should have reviews and ratings from previous jobs.
  • It’s also necessary to determine if your tradesperson is covered with essential insurance. This will give you a safety net in case something goes wrong.
  • It’s best to ask for a written quote from your tradesperson. This will guard against miscommunication and misunderstanding.

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Final Checklist:

Before getting into the whole hiring process, it’s essential to have all grounds covered. We drew up a checklist of everything you need to do.

Your heating system is an integral part of your home. Thus, you must ensure that everything goes right with your immersion heater replacements.

  • As we stated earlier, you should try to seek out referrals from your family and friends. You could also seek referrals from colleagues or even your other trusted tradespersons.
  • It might be wise for you to attempt to troubleshoot your heating problems before calling for a replacement. Sometimes, it may not be that your immersion heater needs a replacement.

There are several reasons your water may not be heating as it should. Sometimes, your tank might not hold sufficient hot water due to an insulation problem. Other times, it may be because your home’s demand is more than the size of your tank can afford.

Attempt to investigate any alternative possibility before booking a professional to change your immersion heater.

  • It’s important that you get a written quote for your tradesperson’s services. As we stated earlier, this would ensure that every agreement is clearly spelt out.
  • Use a reliable tool like HouseholdQuotes to find the best professionals in your area. With this tool, you can also compare prices between different tradespersons and choose which is best for you.
  • As we stated earlier, knowing if your hired professional has insurance is important. It’s also essential to ensure that the new immersion heater has some manufacturer’s guarantee on it.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Immersion Heaters: 

Are there alternatives to immersion heaters?

Many households in the UK only use immersion heaters as an alternative if their boiler system fails. Gas boiler systems are considered a more cost-effective alternative to immersion heaters. This is because gas is relatively cheaper than electricity.

A 3W immersion heater might incur an electricity bill of up to £1,300 a year if it heats up a 180-litre tank by 50 degrees twice daily. Gas boilers will cost considerably less for the same amount of water usage.

Do I Call an Electrician or Plumber to Replace my Immersion Heater?

The professional to call to replace your heater depends on a few factors. Usually, a plumber is well suited for the job. However, you might need an electrician if there are electrical issues with your heater or its wiring.

How long do immersive heaters last?

Immersion heaters are usually built to last. However, there are several factors that contribute to its longevity. Depending on the model, material, and usage, an immersion heater can last 2 – 4 years. There have also been immersion heaters that lasted for longer times, spanning into a decade. However, if you get a new heater, expect it to last at least two years.

Conclusion: Where Can I Get Home Heating System FOr Cheap In UK? 

Your home’s heating system is necessary for so many reasons. It’s especially true in the winter months when you need all the heat you can get. That’s why many homes in the UK have immersion heaters installed in their storage tank in case their gas boilers fail.

Some others use immersion heaters as their primary heating system. Whichever the case may be, immersion heaters don’t last forever and would likely need replacement once in a while.

This article details the cost of replacing an immersion heater, as well as other necessary information you need to have about immersion heater replacements. There are majorly three types of immersion heaters in the market- copper, Incoloy, and titanium. Copper is the cheapest and can cost as low as £15 for supply. Titanium is more high-end and can cost up to £120 or more depending on its size and model. Labor costs can vary significantly based on different factors.

You can also save some money on your project by following the tips we detailed in this article. All in all, it is best to do some research to hire the right professional to install your new immersion heaters.

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