When times are hard we all think about expenses we can cut, and you may be tempted to ask yourself if you really need to book that boiler service. After all, your boiler is working fine right now, what’s the worst that could happen?
Getting your boiler service is easy to forget when you’re busy, or put off if you’re trying to save money. If you’re asking yourself “is a boiler service worth it?” then we’re here to tell you more than just “yes it is”. The fact is that getting your boiler serviced regularly is not only good for your wallet. It’s also vital for yourself and your family’s safety and peace of mind.
It’s also easy to do, and may cost less than you think, so well worth scheduling before the next cold snap, rather than waiting to call out a plumber for a boiler breakdown.
While cancelling or not bothering to book a boiler service could save you a little bit of money in the short term, this could be a false economy. We’re here to show you that a boiler service is worth the time and money. We’ll walk you through why getting your boiler serviced regularly is so important and what you can expect during your annual boiler service.
Is it worth getting my boiler serviced?
The short answer is, yes it is. Not only will getting your boiler serviced keep it safely ticking over, it also helps you cut down on your central heating costs, improve the energy efficiency of your home and, in the long term, save you money.
Servicing your boiler is a simple one off payment (we’ll get into the specific costings later) that could potentially save you hundreds of pounds in boiler repairs. Not to mention the cost and hassle of buying a new boiler.
Let’s take a deeper dive into some of the benefits you can get in return for having someone regularly come and service your boiler.
Boiler servicing benefits
OK, getting your boiler serviced probably isn’t the most exciting thing in your calendar. But there really are benefits to getting this job done and off your to-do list. Here are just some of them:
When it comes to boiler maintenance, spending a little money can actually save you money in the long run. Servicing your boiler will ensure that it continues to run efficiently, saving you money on your heating bills.
The age and model of your boiler will also determine just how efficient it is, but a boiler service engineer will be able to check the efficiency of your boiler, which can help you cut your energy bills.
A healthy, well-looked after boiler lasts longer and is less likely to break down, saving you money in potential repair and replacement costs.
A boiler service engineer will also pick up on any underlying problems before they become an issue, reducing the need to shell out on more expensive repairs. According to Checkatrade, the average boiler repair costs around £300, while a new boiler can cost up to £2,500, Safe to say, it’s a surprise expense most of us can do without.
Be more energy efficient
We’ve all seen the news about the need to cut down our energy usage and reduce your carbon footprint, and servicing your boiler can help you to do that.
The more efficient your boiler is, the less energy it will need to run, and the warmer your house will be. A boiler service will check that your boiler is running efficiently, helping you to run a greener home with a more efficient central heating system.
While you wait for your next service, there are a couple of extra things you can do at home to improve the efficiency of your boiler, like keeping it clean, bleeding your radiators and and switching off the heating when it’s not needed.
Prevention is better than cure when it comes to your boiler. The last thing you need is to have your boiler break down just as the cold weather starts to set in.
Just like having your car serviced, a boiler service from a reliable engineer will spot potential problems before they become an issue that stops your central heating from working. They will find and fix any minor problems, saving you time and money on potentially expensive repairs and the stress of diagnosing and fixing bigger problems.
One survey found that one in three boilers that were serviced annually have never needed a repair.
Gas appliances are such a common feature in our homes, that we rarely think of them as being dangerous. However, if they’re not properly maintained or installed incorrectly, then they can cause serious illness and even death from carbon monoxide poisoning
More than 4,000 people end up in A&E due to carbon monoxide poisoning in the UK each year. Carbon monoxide is colourless, odourless and tasteless, so when it leaks from a faulty boiler often there’s no way to know you’re being poisoned until it’s too late. Many people also confuse the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning (headache, tiredness, dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath) with something else like flu.
During your boiler service a gas safe registered engineer will check for any leaks and tell you about any boiler repairs you need to make, giving you and your family a safe, warm home and peace of mind.
Meet your boiler warranty requirements
If your boiler is still under warranty of a guarantee, then one of the common conditions is that you have it regularly serviced. Check your warranty paperwork to make sure that you can continue to validate your boiler manufacturer’s warranty.
Advice for landlords
If you’re a landlord, then it’s a legal requirement for you to have a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer carry out gas safety checks on any gas appliances in your properties each year. This includes your gas boilers, so get that service booked in!
What’s included in a boiler service?
Knowing what’s included in a boiler service will demystify the process and make you feel more confident that your boiler has been well taken care of.
The service will vary a little between different providers, but here’s a general idea of what to expect.
The engineer will start with a visual inspection of your boiler. They’ll look for any obvious damage or wear and tear and find any initial problems. They will also clean the boiler and check that the pipes are all installed and positioned in the right way.
If there are any signs of water leakage, overheating, or damage to the electrics, then the engineer should spot them during the visual inspection.
Remove the boiler casing
By taking off the casing the engineer can check the components of the boiler and make sure that everything is working safely. They can also give the insides a good clean and check for any defects.
Flue and combustion check
The engineer will make sure that there’s nothing blocking the flue and that it is fitted correctly. A flue gas analysis will check that the boiler is burning the correct mixture of gas and air.
Other items on the checklist
During a boiler service the engineer will check for other things including:
- Gas pressure
- Controls and safety devices
- Any operating faults
- Gas rate
- System pressure checks
- Pilot burner
Once they’re finished, the engineer will replace the casing and make sure everything is sealed properly.
At the end of the service the engineer should give you a checklist to show you all the work that they have done. They will also let you know if there are any boiler repairs that you need to make.
If you have any questions about your boiler, don’t be afraid to ask your engineer or get in touch with your manufacturer.
How long should a boiler service take?
This will depend a little on the age, brand, make and model of your boiler. Luckily, you don’t need to block out a full day to get this done and off your to-do list.
A boiler service should take at least 30 minutes, and on average last for one hour. If you find yourself getting impatient just remember, that the engineer needs to check a lot of different components. It’s also vital for your safety, and will keep your boiler running efficiently for longer, so the time spent really is worth it.
If it’s been a while since your last service, then you can expect it to take a little longer, especially if parts need fixing or replacing.
If you have an oil boiler, rather than a gas boiler then the service might take a little longer, usually around one to two hours. This is because the oil tank will need to be checked as well as the boiler.
How much does a boiler service cost?
You can expect to pay around £80 for an annual boiler service. This is a one-off fee, and the price will vary depending on the type of boiler you have. The amount you pay may also depend on where you live, with London and the South East being more expensive.
Servicing an oil boiler will cost more because it takes longer and there are other, different things to check.
One more thing to keep in mind, if you need to replace any boiler parts, then these will cost extra.
How often should I get my boiler serviced?
Most energy providers recommend that you get your boiler serviced at least once a year. However, you should also check with your manufacturer to see how often they recommend, to make sure that you don’t mistakenly void the warranty by not getting it serviced regularly enough.
Even if nothing has gone wrong with your central heating, you should still get your boiler serviced each year. Even though everything seems to be ticking over fine, there may be something going on under the surface that you can’t see.
If you’re a tenant, then it’s your landlord’s responsibility to get the boiler serviced. If you’re a landlord then remember that by law you must have the boiler serviced at least once every year.
Signs you need to get your boiler serviced.
Your boiler may be telling you that it needs a little TLC and a visit from a qualified engineer.
Signs and symptoms that your boiler needs a service include:
- A drop in the water pressure
- Turning itself off
- It being more than a year since the last service
- Water leaking
- Filters clogged
- Slow or inefficient to heat up
- Strange sounds coming from the boiler
- The pilot light cuts out
- Your hot water runs out quickly
- Strange smells
If you spot any of these issues, then it’s time to schedule a boiler service.
Who to call for a boiler service.
You can book a boiler service through boiler manufacturers and energy suppliers. You can also get boiler services through insurance and home repair companies.
If you have a gas boiler, then you will need to call a Gas Safe engineer to carry out a service. If you have an oil boiler, then you will need a OFTEC engineer to carry out the work.
If you’re at all unsure, ask to check their ID before they start work. You can also check the gas safe register to make sure that they’re qualified.
How to get the best boiler service.
There are several little things that you can do to make sure that you’re getting the best boiler service for your money.
- Before you book a service, ask what checks will be carried out.
- Ask the engineer what extras you might have to pay for, like repairs or new parts.
- If your boiler has been acting up, tell the engineer at the start so that they can investigate fully.
- Check the warranty before paying for any repairs.
- Ask the engineer any questions or concerns you have about your boiler.
- If you’re thinking of buying a new boiler, ask you engineer for advice.
- Make sure that the engineer gives you the written report at the end of the service.
To make sure you’re getting the best price, you can gather several quotes from different providers, or check on a price comparison website.
The best time to service your boiler.
Most people wait until the weather turns cold before they bother to service their boiler. While we get the logic (‘oops, it’s getting cold, better make sure the heating doesn’t choke!’) it’s actually better to get it done in the summer months.
If you get your boiler serviced before winter, then the engineer can resolve any problems before things get cold, ensuring you always have a warm and comfortable home. If they need to turn the heating off to fix any issues, then you won’t be stuck with a freezing house.
In the warmer weather, there are usually shorter wait times to get your boiler serviced, as there are fewer people needing repairs or dealing with broken down boilers. Because of this, you’re also more likely to be able to get an appointment that suits you.
Boiler service cover.
You can choose to take out boiler cover and central heating cover instead of paying for a boiler service. This costs £180-£300, so it is more expensive than just getting the annual service. However, it does cover extra things, like boiler breakdowns.
If you have home insurance then you may be able to add boiler insurance to your cover. Speak to your home insurance provider to find out more, or if they have any deals that you can take advantage of.
There you have it. Everything you can expect from your annual boiler service. Hopefully this article has shown that having a regular boiler service is worth the time and the money.
One small, one-off fee will give you a safe, efficient and and healthy boiler and ensure that you don’t overpay for your heating bills. It will also give you peace of mind, knowing that your boiler won’t break down when you most need it, keeping your house toasty warm.
Make time in your diary to book a boiler service at least once a year with a qualified engineer. It only takes a small amount of time out of your day, and could save you a lot of money and stress in the long run.