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I don’t want to put a damper on this whole heatwave thing, but with the lovely weather we have been experiencing, over the last 6 weeks or so, it is unlikely you have paid much attention to your central heating boiler.

In a couple of month’s time however, the boiler will be on full blast for months-on-end, if this country’s temperatures return to their normal level!

Therefore boiler services should be a pretty important diary date for most of us, because a poorly maintained boiler can not only cost a huge amount of money, in wasted energy, but also carries potential dangers in terms of raised carbon monoxide levels. We have put together a list of the important things that need to be done when having a boiler serviced, and also look at the possible ways of saving money when having this job done.

How much should a boiler service cost?

Between £50 plus VAT and £80 plus VAT for a standard boiler, and between £80 plus VAT and £150 plus VAT for a condensing boiler. The above figures do not include any parts and sometimes the engineer will have a call-out fee.

To reduce the worry of faults and breakdowns (and the cost if it happens) there are a number of heating and wiring care packages available. These policies give you peace of mind in terms of the costs for such items as checking, servicing and maintaining your wiring system, boiler, and/or your central heating system. You pay a fixed monthly fee to cover the services that the supplier offers, rather than getting an unexpected bill if something goes wrong.

We were told about the Maintenance and Protection packages from SSE (Scottish and Southern Energy), and took a little look into them. The consumer magazine Which showed that over 50% of consumers who had tried the SSE Shield Products were very pleased with them. There are several levels of care, with the most basic attracting a low monthly payment but a small call-out charge. The thing we really like about it is they do not turn you down if your boiler is a little old. You can register with any boiler, of any age, and get unlimited call-outs and repairs….Your policy will also last for the lifetime of the boiler…That’s not bad at all!  Some companies will only offer you a package if your boiler is virtually new and very unlikely to go wrong at all.

What should happen when you have your boiler serviced

  • Firstly your engineer (Who should be Gas Safe registered) will do a visual check of the boiler to make sure it meets all current safety standards as well as complying with the current Building Regulations. They should also check that it meets current water regulations and is fitted to the manufacturer’s specifications.
  • The engineer will then fire-up the boiler, to ensure that all the necessary working operations complete, without a problem. This also allows them to make sure all the boiler controls are working properly.
  • If all controls are working properly the casing will be removed and a visual check will be carried out on all the main boiler parts. The main visual parts should appear undamaged and clean. This will include the main injector, the seals, the probe, the heat exchanger, the fan and the main burner.
  • All electrical wires and connections will be checked for signs of overheating.
  • All pipe joints will be checked, including checking that the flue components are correctly sealed.
  • The flue will be checked for obstructions which could prevent fumes exiting the building efficiently.
  • The gas valve will be checked to make sure the flame is burning at the right colour, which in turn ensures that all of your gas is burning efficiently and all residue gases such as Carbon Monoxide are either being burned or passing through the flue to outside air. This part is done with a meter which analyses flue gases. A good reading also shows that the heat exchanger is doing its job properly without removing and dismantling it.
  • The casing should then be vacuumed-out to remove all dust, cobwebs etc.

After a boiler service a gas check should be done to make sure the service has not dislodged any joints, and the correct gas pressure shows there are no leaks anywhere in the system.

The casing is then replaced and sealed where necessary.

Stay safe this winter – get your boiler serviced.

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