Boiler services - A complete guide for homeowners
Your boiler is undoubtedly a vital household appliance, helping to keep you and your family warm and giving you hot water when you need it. Thankfully, high-quality modern gas condensing boilers are extremely reliable, but if you want to keep yours working as effectively and efficiently as possible, it’s essential that you arrange regular services. This is also a requirement for many extended boiler warranties.
If you’re wondering what exactly is included in a service, how often your boiler needs one and how much you can expect to pay, keep reading. Here, we take a look at the cost of this maintenance, what it involves and why it’s so important.
What is a gas boiler service?
So, what does a gas boiler service involve? This type of proactive maintenance is intended to ensure that your appliance remains safe, reliable and efficient. By law, only a Gas Safe registered engineer can legally inspect or service a gas boiler. Whoever you choose to use, be sure to verify that they are currently certified. All Gas Safe engineers carry an ID card confirming their status - we recommend you ask to see this and look for the logo when choosing a company to work with. The service itself includes a full examination of all boiler components.
The engineer will remove the boiler casing and conduct a visual inspection to make sure that the appliance still meets the necessary requirements, and they will check for any leaks or corrosion. Among other things, they will check the heat exchanger, main injector, spark probe, burner, electrical connections, seals, controls, water and gas pipework, flue and combustion releases. They will also make sure your boiler is functioning at the correct pressure.
Why is a gas boiler service important?
Boiler services are important for several reasons. First and foremost, they ensure that your boiler is working safely, protecting you, your home and your family. The most important reason for this is to make sure that there is no risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in your home. Carbon monoxide is a highly dangerous and potentially deadly gas that you cannot see, smell or taste. This is why you should have an active carbon monoxide detector located around two metres away from your boiler.
A boiler service includes a full examination of all components to check they’re working safely too. Your engineer will ensure that any worn or damaged parts are replaced long before they can become a risk, as well as cleaning components as required to optimise performance and safety. Your service engineer will also be able to advise you on how to make sure you get optimum performance out of your boiler, helping you to improve efficiency and save on your energy bills.
A service is also important if you want to keep your warranty valid. A new, quality boiler will typically have a guarantee of five or more years as standard. For added peace of mind and to avoid costly surprises, many homeowners choose to purchase an extended warranty, giving them cover against boiler breakdown for as long as ten years. It is important to be aware that in order for your guarantee or extended warranty to remain valid, typically an annual service must be performed by an approved engineer.
Finally, having a boiler service carried out each year could keep the appliance more efficient for longer. Your boiler will not maintain its efficiency if you don’t invest in boiler maintenance. Undertaking boiler care will ensure that it continues to operate at maximum efficiency and does not waste energy by under-performing. Leaking, blocked or damaged pipes can have a significant effect on the overall performance of your heating and hot water system. Having them checked annually during a service will help to avoid any problems developing with your heating and hot water, as well as helping to keep your fuel bills as low as possible. Investing in this kind of inspection once a year can offer big savings in the long run.
What are the signs you need a gas boiler service?
Whilst you may have a routine annual boiler service scheduled, you should get your boiler serviced as soon as possible if you notice any of the following:
- The boiler isn’t working properly
- A pilot light that has a dancing yellow flame instead of a crisp blue one
- Black marks/stains around the boiler
- Condensation in the room where the boiler is located
You should also get your boiler and any other gas appliances inspected and serviced immediately if you notice any of the following signs that may indicate carbon monoxide poisoning:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Tiredness and confusion
- Stomach pain
- Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing
Read our advice article about gas leaks to learn about what to do if you do suspect that you have a gas leak or carbon monoxide leak in your home.
How much does a gas boiler service cost?
You can expect to pay anywhere between £60 and £170 for an annual gas boiler service depending on the size of boiler and style of unit, although typically prices range between £65 and £110. A number of factors can impact on how much you pay. For example, a one-off boiler service - as opposed to an annual service - may cost you more as it may involve more work.
The type of boiler you have, where you live and the company you use will also have an effect on price. You may be able to save money by comparing quotes from a few different engineers or companies, but always make sure you go for a Gas Safe registered professional.
If your boiler needs repairs, you will usually be required to pay extra for them. However, check if your appliance is still under warranty as some repairs might be covered by it. Also, some boiler repairs may be covered under your home insurance policy.
How long does a gas boiler service take?
A standard gas boiler service should take around 60 minutes, however this does vary depending on the particular model. Also, if extra work is needed, your heating engineer may take longer.
How often should I get my boiler serviced?
If you’re wondering how often to service a gas boiler, in most cases the answer is once a year. As mentioned previously, most warranties require an annual service - and this is also good practice for keeping your boiler in safe and efficient working order.
However, you don’t have to wait a full year between services. For example, if you think that your boiler may not be working correctly, it’s recommended you contact an engineer even if your regular service is not due for some time.
Even more importantly, make sure you book a service immediately if you notice any signs of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Can I service my own gas boiler?
You shouldn’t attempt to service your boiler yourself. By law, only Gas Safe registered engineers are able to carry out these boiler checks. Attempting to do so yourself could be highly dangerous, and it will not meet the terms of your warranty agreement.
All Gas Safe engineers carry an identification card that confirms their accredited status, so you can request to see this ID. Look for the Gas Safe logo when choosing a company online too.
You may also want to go for an engineer who has been trained on the specific make of boiler you have. This will help to ensure the service is conducted to the highest possible standard, and it will also mean that genuine spare parts are fitted if needed.
Is a gas boiler service the same as a gas safety check?
It is important to understand that a gas boiler service and a gas boiler safety check are two separate things - however they may be done together.
A gas safety check for your boiler consists of all of the checks and tests needed to ensure the appliance is safe to operate - for example, the gas is burning correctly and the boiler is physically stable, securely fitted and properly connected to the gas pipework. The check will also involve making sure there is a suitable, permanent air supply suitable for the appliance type installed, checking any flues or chimneys are operating correctly and ensuring all safety devices function correctly. It does not, however, contribute to maintaining your boiler’s performance and reliability.
In contrast, a gas boiler service will include all of the above checks and tests but also any other specific checks, for inspection and/or cleaning of the appliance as specified and detailed in the appliance manufacturer’s instructions.