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I have to turn on the hot tap a lot before my combi boiler kicks in. Can I fix this? 

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I recently had a combi boiler installed and have found I have to turn on the hot tap quite a lot before the boiler actually kicks in.

We’re on a water meter so feel we are spending quite a lot on this and it must waste quite a lot of water.

Is there some way you can adjust or fix this?

Those on a water meter are looking for ways to save money on their bills as much as possible

Those on a water meter are looking for ways to save money on their bills as much as possible

Grace Gausden, This is Money, replies: Cutting down costs has never been more important and one of the best ways to do that is slash your household bills.

Therefore, if you are paying over the odds for your water bill due to an issue with your boiler, you will understandably be getting frustrated.

Having a water meter can be a good way to cut down the cost of water bills as you will only be paying for what you use. 

This works as long as you adjust your usage but is not so beneficial in this situation when you are using more than you would like. 

You have a combination, often known as a ‘combi’, boiler, which is both a water heater and a central heating boiler in a single unit.

Combi boilers heat water directly from the mains when you turn on a tap, so that you don’t need a hot water storage cylinder or a cold water storage tank in the roof space.

They are quite popular as there are a more cost-effective and energy-efficient solution. 

This is because water is heated instantly rather than being heated and then stored in a cylinder.

An added benefit is that hot water is delivered at mains pressure, which means that you could get a powerful shower without the need for a separate pump.

However, in your situation your combi boiler is taking time to respond to the hot water tap being turned on, wasting water – and also costing you more on bills. 

If you can, speak to your installer first and if they cannot help, speak to your manufacturer. It should all be under warranty. If all else fails, contact a plumber for assistance.  

Combi boilers are popular as they heat water directly from the mains when you turn on a tap

Combi boilers are popular as they heat water directly from the mains when you turn on a tap

A spokesperson for Pimlico Plumbers replies: Firstly, if a new appliance is installed and thought to be defective or not performing properly the first person to contact is the installer. 

After the installer, the appliance manufacturer is next in line and they should come out to investigate under the terms of the manufacturer’s warranty scheme.

The delay in the delivery of hot water to the hot taps could simply be that the taps are a long way from the boiler and excessive amounts of water have to be drawn off before the heated water is reaching the taps.

It is difficult to overcome this issue with combination boilers. One thing that could be tried is to use the comfort setting on the boiler. 

This is a feature that is available on many modern combination boilers. 

The way it works is that the temperature of the plate heat exchanger is maintained permanently which therefore means the transfer of heat is more rapid and the delay to hot water delivery is reduced. 

The downside of this is that it is expensive both financially and for the environment  because the temperature of the plate heat exchanger is kept high even through periods of low.

Therefore, most plumbers normally disable this setting for these reasons.

Grace Gausden, This is Money, adds: Having boiler insurance is a good way to ensure that you are covered for any problems. 

Paying for boiler cover can cost as little as £5 per month and can give you peace of mind when it comes to such a vital part of modern life.

Make sure to check the terms and conditions of any boiler cover – for instance, some cheaper plans may require proof of annual service in order to be valid. 

Some plans cost a bit more, but include annual service as part of the package.

This type of cover usually allows for emergency call outs, parts and labour costs and a customer call centre. 

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