Why it is important to take care of your boiler and heating system in a timely fashion.
It is one of those tasks that are better taken care of in the summer months, when you don’t need to use your heating system, but all too often boiler service and having the radiators and pipework system flushed tends to slip down the “to do” list.
But there are good reasons for getting these jobs done, not least because when it starts to get cold and you switch on the heating only to find that your boiler isn’t working it can be harder to find an engineer free to come out in an emergency.
Not only this, but if you have emergency house insurance cover, the first question you will be asked is whether your boiler has been serviced within the last 12 months. If not, they may decline to help.
Moreover, boilers usually include a manufacturer’s warranty of between 1 – 15 years, which means any faults that develop in that time will be repaired free of charge. But, again, this warranty is only valid as long as you get the boiler serviced by a Gas Safe engineer every year.
Another consideration in all this is that a system that is not operating at peak efficiency is actually going to add to your energy costs.
What is covered in an annual boiler service?
Servicing should always be carried out by a qualified engineer, Gas Safe registered in the case of gas boilers and an OFTEC engineer for oil-fired boilers. You should always check their ID card before they start work on your boiler.
The main checks they will carry out are:
- Visual inspection – to check that the boiler still meets current standards and for any corrosion or leaks. They will also visually check the flame in your boiler.
- Removal of the boiler casing – to check the components to ensure everything is working correctly. They will then clean the inside of the boiler.
- Flue check – the engineer will ensure there are no obstructions in the flue terminals and that the flue is safely fitted.
- Gas pressure check – this will ensure your boiler is working at the correct pressure.
- Boiler fired up – this allows the engineer to check for any working faults.
Does your central heating system need a power flush?
Many call-outs for what are perceived to be boiler problems actually turn out to be caused by dirty water and sludge within the boiler system. This can affect how well the boiler runs and the efficiency of the whole system
Common signs that the system needs a power flush include noisy or leaking radiators, cold patches at the bottom of radiators, excessive noise from the boiler or heating system pump, cloudy tap water, the system taking longer than usual to heat up and water that is discoloured when you bleed the radiator.
It can take up to five hours to do a thorough power flush in the average three-bedroomed house and, again, it should be done by a certified engineer. Power flushes are generally recommended for every five to six years and certainly when a new boiler is fitted.
If you have difficulty remembering to have these checks done, you can have a service contract with your local boiler fitting and care company, who will ensure they are not missed.