A closer look at the new Ideal Logic range of boilers

Not all decisions in life are easy. But when it comes to smart choices, Ideals new Logic range ticks all the right boxes. Dr Elaine Lancaster  Chief Technical Offier at ideal Boilers explained to Installer why these boilers are right for installers and homeowners.

Since the Logic's launch in 2009, it's sold 1.5 million boilers. Now a comprehensive new range is being launched which is the result of years of research and development as well as input from heating engineers and customers across the UK.

Not only does the new range look different aesthetically but there have been notable changes made internally too. Installer spoke to Elaine Lancaster at Ideal Boilers to find out more about the changes.

One big bugbear for installers was having the pressure gauge underneath the boiler, so now its been moved to the front fascia. And its clear from our research that they prefer an analogue gauge, so they can test the boiler using the systems hydraulic pressure, whereas a digital pressure gauge requires power and an electrician.

The Logic is already the smallest boiler on the market, which is one of its selling points. It fits into a cupboard, is easy to wall-mount and squeezes into tight spaces. The new boiler is also approximately 3kg lighter, making life even better for installers. Elaine believes that making things as easy as possible for the engineer is vital.

Our customers don't want to see lots of different coloured wires splayed around it doesn't look professional and they might accidentally knock things. So the internal harnesses are in discreet black plastic sheathing.

Plus, we've put a steel return in the front of the chassis to neatly hold the cables in place. This make it very easy to take out a connection, replace a part, and put the connection back. If something looks simple, installers prefer it.

We've also improved how the mains cable slots in. It's essential to clamp the cable, so even if someone puts tension on the wire, it won't pull out the connections.

All the improvements in the new range have been designed to save Ideal's customers time and help them work more efficiently.

Surprising feedback

As part of its ongoing processes, Ideal is talking to installers all the time and continuously making improvements, so the R&D team received no big surprises as part of their surveys. The idea behind the new range of Logics was an evolution rather than radical change. But the feedback from end-users provided valuable insight – as Elaine explains.

The ergonomics of some controls were not easily understood. They said having a reset that was a physical dial switch that springs back, was not intuitive, and they didn't understand pre-heat was related to hot water.

Our research clearly showed people prefer rotational dials for increasing and decreasing temperature, even though many competitors are moving to push button. We are sticking with what people want.

It's clear that the easier it is for homeowners, the more installers want to fit our boilers. We also had clear feedback from installers saying they wanted a greater level of information on the LCD display.

Improved energy efficiency

All boiler manufacturers are looking to make great strides in terms of product efficiency, which is very important in SAP ratings – particularly for new-build and specification.

For example, there used to be 76 parameters that controlled the boiler, affecting performance and efficiency – the latest range has 141, which achieves more accurate control, leading to further savings.

By using the modulating OpenTherm protocol to control the flow temperature from the boiler, in conjunction with the room thermostat, greater efficiency has been achieved.

Traditionally, a room thermostat would give an on/off signal – I either need heat or I don't. The dial settings on the boiler would fix the flow temperature at a maximum 80°C  or this could be turned down to, for example, 60°C, but it was still a fixed control. By the time the target room temperature was achieved, the radiators were still on full pelt at 82°C, which meant homes got too hot.

Now, as the target temperature approaches, the boiler starts to reduce the flow temperature gradually, resulting in less overheat and an average saving of about 5% in energy over a year  an achievement reflected in the new ErP classifications.

Consumers  particularly the elderly or vulnerable  can be a little scared of boilers. They'd rather be too hot than get something wrong and not know how to change it.

We've seen some alarming research showing that people just flick their room thermostat up to 30°C and when they get too hot, turn it off, but this wastes a huge amount of energy. Our improvements along with easy-to-use boiler controls will really help the homeowner.

New trends

According to Elaine, the next big developments will be around diagnostics and how they link to the internet. Once it is possible to get data direct from the boiler, it will really help improve the product and experience for the end-customer. However, as well as overcoming new challenges and meeting new demands, Elaine recognises that it is vital to remain true to the values that have made Ideal – and the Logic – a success in recent years.

At Ideal, were proud of our approach. We stick with proven technology, we work with great suppliers and use only the best materials.

We're committed to quality in everything we do, which is why every boiler goes through over 200 rigorous quality checks before it leaves the factory to ensure its performance, reliability and safety.

That's the philosophy that is deep-rooted in this company  the job is never finished and we strive every day to produce the best boilers money can buy.