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That’s why experts always recommend that we should have our boilers regularly serviced as part of an ongoing maintenance cycle. Because boilers always break down when you least need them to and because they can be very expensive to repair if left unchecked for too long. How often should you service your boiler? How much does a gas boiler service cost?
In this article, we’ll be looking at every aspect of boiler servicing and why it’s so important.
What problems do people have with their boilers that require them to be serviced or repaired?
- Hot water isn’t on
- I can’t get my pilot light back on
- The thermostat doesn’t seem to be responding
- The boiler switches off a lot for no reason
- My radiators are freezing cold or tepid at best
- My boiler’s making a funny noise
- I am concerned about the safety of my boiler
- Is the boiler working efficiently because my utility bills are higher than normal?
There are two main types of boiler:
Conventional boilers use a storage tank which has cast iron heat exchangers inside the tank which heats up the water. They’re the boilers that supply a lot of hot water but if the hot water runs out, you have to wait for them to heat up again. You normally find them in a loft.
Combination (or combi) boilers access water directly from the mains supply. There’s no need for a storage tank. They’re a lot smaller than conventional boilers and they’re often found in a kitchen hidden behind the door of a storage cabinet.
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How often should you service your boiler?
Every year – once every 12 months is the time recommended by both boiler manufacturers and boiler engineers.
That’s even if you don’t think there’s anything wrong with your boiler. Boilers are complex pieces of technology and whilst one part not functioning effectively doesn’t mean that your boiler will start working, leaving it for later will cause both your utility bills and later repair charges to spiral much higher.
How much does a gas boiler service cost?
There are two types of boiler servicing schemes for homeowners with gas boilers.
A gas boiler annual servicing contract includes cover if your boiler breaks down. They are normally priced between £150 and £250.
A one-off boiler service will cost you between £60 and £120 generally – local companies are usually cheaper than national companies.
For both the annual servicing and one-off services, you can normally pay in advance with monthly direct debit allowing you to spread out the cost over the year.
Given how much more expensive annual servicing contracts are, it will make sense for many people to choose the one-off service. However, if your boiler is very old (10 years plus), it might be better to take out the annual servicing contract because your boiler will be more prone to developing problems that require a call-out visit during the 12 months of the plan.
When your gas boiler is serviced, your engineer may recommend that additional work be carried out as soon as possible. More often than not, these will be your engineer’s recommendations –
- new heating pump – £175 to £200
- replacement thermostat – £175 to £225
- magnetic filter installation – £250 to £350
- replacement fan – £225 to £275
If your engineer recommends any of the above, it would have worked out cheaper to have an annual service plan. Please bear in mind though that the problems listed above tend to occur more in older boilers than newer boilers.
Boiler servicing FAQ
Why should I bother getting a boiler service?
Lots of different reasons. If your boiler breaks, fixing it can be very expensive – sometimes, it might even need replacing if it hasn’t been maintained for years, costing you between £2,000 and £4,000.
Your family’s safety is another huge concern. Two dozen people a year in the UK die from carbon monoxide poisoning and the gas boiler is always to blame.
A faulty or inefficient boiler will push your utility bill up a lot higher. You might be paying hundreds of pounds more a year to your gas supplier than you need to be paying.
If you’ve had your boiler installed in the last ten years, most manufacturer warranties now make it a condition of providing a repair service that you have your boiler serviced every year.
Do you have boilers installed in your rental properties? It is now law that you must provide a Gas Safety Certificate to your tenants every year.
Can I service my own boiler?
Unless you are a Gas Safety Certified technician (or HETAS/OFTEC, whichever applies), absolutely not. Please do not attempt to try to service your own boiler under any circumstances.
Can the cost of a boiler repair be covered by my home insurance?
Many home insurance policies now will pay for boiler repairs (minus the excess) as part of the overall package.
If you’re not sure whether to choose a one-off boiler service every twelve months or if you’re considered paying for a boiler service plan, make sure you check your home insurance policy to see if you’re covered for boiler repairs. If you have both a boiler servicing plan and a home insurance policy which pays for a boiler repair, you may well end up paying hundreds of pounds a year more than you need to.
Can I get any financial assistance with the cost of boiler servicing?
If boiler servicing or boiler repairs are going to cause you financial hardship, British Gas, EDF, and nPower’s Energy Trust schemes will offer you assistance towards these expenses but you will need to complete a form to demonstrate why you need the help.
You can call up the Energy Saving Trust in England and Wales on 0300 123 1234. There are equivalent schemes in Scotland (call 080 808 2282) and in Northern Ireland.
Should my boiler service engineer belong to any professional body or have any particular qualifications?
Your engineer must be on the Gas Safe register website – click here for their site.
What should I ask my engineer for?
Make sure that your engineer checks all of the parts inside your boiler. Ask him or her to make sure that there are no leaks and that the boiler pressure is normal.
At the end of the servicing, ask for your Gas Safety Certificate. To make sure it’s genuine, the certificate will need the engineers’ name, company, company address, and Gas Safe number displayed on it. It will need to detail any problems or issues that came up during the inspection, including the result of the flue test. Your engineer must make you aware in writing and verbally of any safety concerns they have. They must also make a note of any other gas appliances they looked over on their visit.