There is nothing worse than a cold house in winter or that sudden shock as theft water runs out mid-shower. While a day or two without heating might be bearable these problems soon become a big issue and can strike at the least convenient times. Older heating systems that aren’t regularly inspected have a high probability of developing small faults that can quickly mount up resulting in an interrupted supply of heat, damage to pipes and even flooding.
The best way to avoid these problems, and ensure you always have a ready supply of heat and hot water, is an annual service from a reputable and qualified service engineer. If you’ve ever had to handle the expense of a new boiler you will know what a shock it can be with prices in the thousands. This is why it is vital to keep your heating system well maintained and working its best.
Servicing also helps guarantee your system is safe. After all, even a small gas leak can be dangerous and a hazard to your health.
How much does it cost for an annual boiler service?
Prices for a yearly service can vary. The cost depends on a number of factors including :
- Time of year
- Company you use
- Where you live
- Type of boiler
- Size of heating system
A good annual service usually costs around £100. This is based on common prices paid and would cover the heating system found in most small to medium homes. Local firms may offer a cheaper price than larger national companies. With lower overheads and shorter travel times they are normally a better deal and can often provide quicker, more flexible booking options. However, it is worth checking the reviews and ensuring you’re hiring a reputable firm.
Getting multiple quotes can be a sensible choice if you haven’t got a heating engineer you know and trust. Bear in mind though that a low-cost inspection may not be as comprehensive as a higher-cost option. It is always worth checking the feedback for any new engineer you may want to hire. With gas boilers in particular it may not be the best option to choose the cheapest option.
When should I book a service?
If you have any of the following problems it may indicate your boiler is overdue for a service and something isn’t right.
- No hot water or irregular supply
- Pilot light won’t ignite
- Boiler keeps switching itself off
- Radiators not heating properly
- Noises coming from the boiler or pipes.
- Thermostat not controlling heating properly
Regular checks can help avoid these issues and catch them before they escalate.
Choosing the time of year for an annual service carefully is important. While it may seem sensible to have your boiler checked during the summer, when demand is lower and any system issues or repairs won’t impact your day to day life, by winter new problems could have begun to occur. If you have moved into a new property, especially if you now own it, checking your heating system should be a priority and arranging your own service inspection is a smart choice.
Autumn is a good choice as emergency call outs aren’t usually at peak levels and it means your bill won’t fall around the holidays, which can be an expensive time. If any repairs are needed you’ll have time to arrange them without too much interruption to the heating when the weather is at its coldest. The timing of your inspection and service might also depend on when the unit was installed. If you had your boiler fitted in march it makes sense to have it inspected around that time every year and you may even get a reminder from the company you bought it from. This can take the hassle out of planning and give you a handy prompt each year.
Don’t forget though, there may be a delay in getting an engineer to your property during a peak period. Best to plan ahead and not be left hanging at the last minute.
What is a yearly cover plan?
Some firms offer a yearly service as part of the deal when you buy a new boiler while others may include it in a monthly fee that also covers emergency call outs. Prices for this cover can be more expensive than a one-off service charge but as it often covers breakdowns and faults it can offer greater peace of mind. Some home insurance policies cover your heating system as well but it is always worth double-checking to avoid paying twice.
New boilers, especially those under warranty, rarely require a lot of maintenance and thus a yearly checkup is usually sufficient. Older boilers, especially those older than 5 years, can be susceptible to faults and it may be worth finding a plan that covers multiple callouts and larger issues.
Some of the issues you may face are:
- replace a broken heating pump – Average cost: £180+
- new thermostat – Average cost: £150+
- new filter installation – Average cost: £275+
- replacing the internal fan – Average cost: £250+
As you can see the cost of even one of these issues would be greater than that of an annual plan.
Is it more expensive to service gas or electric boilers?
There may be small differences in the cost of service for combi, oil and gas boilers. Electric boilers are the simplest and are therefore usually cheaper to maintain (though they usually cost more to run), followed by modern combi and older gas-only models. Electric-only servicing can cost as little as £55-£60 depending on size which is quite a bit lower than the average cost of gas-powered boilers that usually costs around £90-£100. Combi systems are somewhere in between at around £75-90 depending on the variables we mentioned before.
What does a boiler service involve?
An engineer will visually inspect your boiler outside and inside. The internal components may need cleaning or replacing depending on the age and type of boiler. This may involve removing certain elements and therefore should only be performed by a qualified person. For gas or combi boilers you will need to ensure your engineer is Gas Safe registered whereas oil-based boilers need an inspection by OFTEC registered specialists. While it may not be a legal requirement to have these regular checks performed it can help you avoid complications as the unit ages.
After your service is complete you should receive a Gas Safety Certificate. This will include the engineers’ name, the company name and address, and has the 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 a flue test if your boiler has one. Your engineer must make you aware in writing and verbally of any safety concerns they have and what should be done to address them. They must also include a list and detailed notes on any other gas appliances they inspected during the visit.
When should I replace my boiler?
If your engineer recommends a replacement for safety reasons It may indicate an urgent issue that cannot be fixed or that repairing your unit is simply not economical. After all, if the repairs would cost more than a replacement it is a simple choice.
A good boiler should last 15 years approximately and that is a good timeframe for replacement. Especially considering the speed at which improvements are made in technology and how efficient new models are becoming. It can be financially sensible to replace a boiler before it reaches its maximum lifespan.
- Prices vary depending on where you live and what system you have but the average boiler service cost is around £90 -£100..
- Boilers should be serviced annually
- This should be performed by a qualified, experienced heating engineer
- Some firms offer a monthly payment option and some servicing may be covered by your insurance plan.