A straight swap boiler but a tight space – is it possible without affecting the kitchen cupboards?

When a job is straightforward, there’s no margin for error. We found this out when replacing a boiler in a small cupboard.

To understand why this job is such an issue, we need to look back about 30-odd years ago. Wall-mounted boilers were large. In fact, many were huge! Why? First, the heat exchangers used the same cast iron type available in the equivalent floor-mounted boilers. Second, the boiler case had to cover this, plus seal over the flue assembly mounted on top of the heat exchanger. Finally, the case would also have to cover the burner under the heat exchanger. This made for very large cases, which didn’t work very well with wall-mounted kitchen cupboards.

So the manufacturers came up with boilers like the Potterton Suprima, the one featured in this case study. The Suprima came to market in the late 1990s and became a best seller. It used a low water content heat exchanger and a tight-fitting burner and fan assembly. The heat exchangers are tiny compared to the behemoths of the 1980s. In fact, the whole combustion chamber space is smaller than the old type of heat exchangers. But best of all, it fitted neatly into a standard-width generic kitchen cupboard.

Boilers can’t keep getting smaller

This leads us to our problem. Boilers haven’t become smaller. In fact, they are considerably larger. Now the old Suprima boiler did a fine job with little fuss, but it isn’t a high-efficiency condensing boiler. And condensing boilers come with more components inside them. Which means bigger cases etc, etc. You get the idea. In summary, there aren’t any boilers available today that can fit, like for like, in this cupboard.

So, what did we have to do to swap this boiler in a small cupboard? First, we had to change the flue position or the boiler would sit too close to the work surface. Second, we needed to clear enough space in the cupboard to accommodate the required condensate pipe. Plus, we must leave enough room to remove the boiler case. Inevitably, we had to move the boiler further up the wall. By doing so, the boiler flue becomes visible above the cupboard. With no alternative, it left a simple task of boxing over to hide the flue.

Fortunately, Parkstone Yorkshire are certified Vaillant Boiler Installers, and their 618 boiler is the perfect replacement. The gas supply required upgrading from upstairs, and we also updated the timer. Further work included a straight swap leaking unvented cylinder.

Very pleased with the outcome of this one!

If you would like a quote on a boiler swap, please get in touch.


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