All About Annual Boiler Servicing

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A boiler provides you with great utility, from hot water provision for your central heating system to water supply for washing clothes, dishes, and taking baths. If you have recently installed a new gas boiler, you know that the manufacturer has also provided you with a warranty. Although quality boilers seldom break down in their first few years of service, you never know when to claim your warranty. Some manufacturers offer a ten-year warranty and provide you with several other benefits. However, you should remember that many manufacturers will consider your warranty valid only if you get your boiler serviced by their authorised representatives. Getting your boiler serviced by someone else can make your warranty invalid. So what exactly is boiler servicing?

What is Boiler Servicing?

Boiler servicing is an annual inspection of your boiler. It is carried out to check if your boiler is working correctly and efficiently. If your boiler is still under warranty, your manufacturer may require you to carry out boiler servicing as per the warranty details. It may also require from you that an authorised representative of the manufacturer carry out the service. For a gas boiler, the annual servicing by a Gas Safe registered engineer is mandatory. The Gas Safe Register is a database of authorised engineers; the list of Gas Safe registered companies and individuals is available online. You can ask for the gas ID of the engineer and verify it from the list. You will receive a Gas Safe certificate once the inspection is complete. You must share this certificate with your tenants and keep it in your record. If your boiler warranty is over, you still have to carry out an annual inspection in case you are a landlord and have tenants living on your property.

Boiler servicing usually includes the following steps:

  • Detailed Visual Inspection: The Gas Safe engineer will visually check all connections. He will check if there are any signs of water or gas leakage. He will also inspect if there is any corrosion on any part and analyse the boiler displays as well as the boiler flame.
  • Internal Inspection: The Gas Safe engineer will remove the boiler casing to check if all the internal parts are working correctly and if they show signs of any damage. He will check the spark probe, burner, injector, and all other parts.
  • Flue Check: Next, the Gas Safe engineer will check boiler emissions. He will ensure that the flue line is not blocked and that it is fitted correctly.
  • Checking Gas Pressure: The engineer will check if the gas pressure is adequate for efficient operation. The pressure should not be so low that you have heating problems. Neither should it be higher than the optimum level, otherwise, your energy bills will increase.
  • Firing up the Boiler: This is usually the last check in the inspection. The gas engineer will fire up the boiler to check for any signs of inefficient operations or damage.
  • Issuance of Certificate: If the engineer finds no problem with your gas boiler, he will issue you a gas safety certificate. He will record his observations for any future reference.

Why is Boiler Servicing Important?

Ensures Safety

A gas boiler burns natural gas, which is a hydrocarbon gas and is highly flammable. Its high flammability makes it the perfect fuel but also makes it highly dangerous. Any natural gas leakage can be disastrous if it comes in contact with fire. Natural gas is also highly poisonous. If a person is exposed to natural gas, especially in an enclosed place, he can lose consciousness within minutes. The high toxicity of natural gas can also cause death. Chemicals are added to natural gas to give off an odour so it can be detected easily as the gas is itself odourless. It is also colourless, making detection even more difficult. Another critical factor is that when natural gas is burnt, it produces carbon monoxide, which is not flammable but shares the same toxic traits as natural gas. No additive can be used to impart an odour to carbon monoxide. Inhalation of CO can be fatal, so CO alarms and detectors are often installed with gas boilers. Both these gases make safety the top reason for annual inspections.

Cost Benefits

Annual boiler inspections can help a great deal in tracing boiler faults which can otherwise end up costing you a lot more than service. Loose fittings, corroded parts, water leakages, etc., can become big problems for your boiler. A timely inspection will identify and resolve these issues without wasting money on future repairs, which might be more expensive. Fixing these issues will also improve the efficiency of your boiler and ensure that your boiler runs at an optimum level.

Warranty Claims

A good-quality boiler can last anywhere from 10 to 15 years. Many manufacturers offer warranties that range from 3 to 10 years. However, certain conditions make these warranties valid, and one of them is annual servicing; you can only claim a warranty for a broken down or damaged gas boiler if you have followed these conditions and have only hired authorised representatives of the manufacturer to carry out annual servicing. Make sure you read the warranty terms thoroughly before buying a boiler.

When Should You Get a Boiler Service?

Apart from the requirement per your warranty terms, other signs that also indicate that your gas boiler needs servicing include:

  • High Energy Bills: If you are facing a sudden rise in your energy bills even though gas prices have not increased and you have not increased your consumption, it is a clear sign that your boiler is burning more gas than needed. It could be a gas leakage or a faulty thermostat. Call a Gas Safe engineer and get your boiler serviced.
  • Frequent Pressure Changes: If you are facing frequent and abrupt changes in water and gas pressure or if your water pressure is constantly low, you may need to get your boiler serviced. This can be because of blockage or other internal boiler problems. An inspection by a Gas Safe engineer will help trace and resolve the fault.
  • Hammering Noises: Boilers are usually not silent, but if you hear hammering or loud noises frequently, it is time to call a Gas Safe engineer. There could be many reasons for these loud noises: Something might be wrong with your pump, or your boiler is making too much steam which is getting trapped. In either case, you will need the expertise of an engineer.
  • Frequent Boiler Display Errors: If your boiler shows display errors, please don’t try to resolve them on your own. Call a Gas Safe engineer who can refer to the manufacturer’s manual and resolve the boiler issue easily.
  • Gas Safety Certificate: As a landlord, your legal obligation is to get your gas safety certificate issued by the engineer after a thorough annual inspection. Not providing the certificate can land you in legal trouble.

How Much Can You Expect to Pay for a Boiler Service?

A boiler service usually takes 30 to 45 minutes, provided no issues need to be resolved immediately. Many manufacturers offer free servicing for the first year, and the cost of boiler servicing is not that high and can cost you somewhere between £65 to £100. Companies also offer various packages such as boiler covers which cost higher than one-time servicing but include other offers such as boiler breakdown and repair coverage.

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