“Customers are still as keen as ever to carry on using gas and hang the consequences” – Opinion

In his exclusive column for Installer, Heating Engineer Andy Gibbs takes a look back at his busy year in 2023.
Welcome back again to my monthly ramblings, and this month I thought we’d have a recap of 2023, from my viewpoint and maybe the industry at large.
Back in January, one of my very first installs was the new, as-yet-unreleased new Vaillant remastered ecoTEC boiler. To say it was fun is an understatement.

I was absolutely desperate to tell all my colleagues and followers all about it, but I’d signed an NDA, so I couldn’t. It was a real privilege to be involved in the early stages of bringing a new boiler like that to market, and probably not something I’ll ever get a chance to do again.

May came around and with it came a trip to Remschied in Germany to the Vaillant factory with a lot of well-known installer faces. Again it was all a tie-in with promotion for the new boiler, which was great, but we also had the chance to get inside such a factory and see exactly what goes into making that white box we fit on walls, and that was actually amazing. Again, probably not something I’ll ever get a chance to do again.
InstallerSHOW at the NEC in June was another high point. It was way, way bigger than previous years, and very definitely better. It’s not only a chance to get hands-on with the latest innovations within the industry, but it’s also a fantastic social event. I really enjoy just walking around and having a chat with colleagues from social media and maybe sinking a beer or three together. And having a selfie with Tim Pollard, that’s obviously a highlight. So if you have never been, I can only ask why not and urge you to attend in 2024.
I’ll be at the bar.
As autumn came and the weather got colder, for me, the work picked up and it was just manic all through and right up to Christmas. There were loads of boilers going wrong and needing repairs and replacing. It strikes me that customers are still as keen as ever to carry on using gas and hang the consequences.
A couple of weeks before Christmas came the news that all boiler manufacturers had been dreading. The Clean Heat Market Mechanism was going to be implemented. They call it that. I call it Boiler Tax. There’s been more than enough said on the whole subject over the last few weeks, and we all know the cost of boilers will rise in 2024 and the following years.
What this has raised however, is the ugly head of those industry “experts” who have never fitted a boiler, or bent a bit of 22mm, but seem hell-bent on telling us what we are doing wrong. It’s crazy. They need us on side, but sadly, all they’re doing is pushing installers away.
I’m looking forward to 2024, can’t wait to get out there and sling more boilers on more walls and carry on as usual.