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Finding a trustworthy, reliable and accredited heating engineer isn’t always easy and, once you do find one, it’s important to know what questions to ask so there aren’t any surprises, cost or otherwise, down the line. But how do you know what questions to ask?
Whether you’re having a new boiler installed or your appliance is having a yearly service, here are some queries you may wish to ask your heating installer before the work starts and after it’s finished.
A boiler or heat pump can be a big investment, so it’s really important that it’s installed correctly by a Gas Safe registered engineer. In fact, a 2016 study from the Gas Safe Register showed that around one million gas works are carried out each year in the UK by engineers that are not qualified. You can easily check whether an installer is accredited by visiting the Gas Safe Register website and entering their details.
Before an installer carries out any work, you can ask them for their Gas Safe ID card. You can request this prior to your appointment or on the day when they turn up at your property. The card will contain a unique licence number.
Many people don’t realise that gas engineers can be qualified to do certain tasks and not others. For example, they might be able to install a gas cooker and boiler but not a gas fire. Another one might be able to fit a gas cooker and a fire, but not a boiler. This information is available to you on the Gas Safe Register website or on their ID card.
If your boiler uses oil instead of gas, you should ensure that servicing is conducted by a registered OFTEC engineer listed with the Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC). This is the oil equivalent of the Gas Safe Register.
You may feel more comfortable with an engineer who has a bit more experience and has been in the trade for a long time. This is, of course, down to personal preference.
Heating and gas engineers, whether they operate as a sole trader or are employed by a limited company, should have one of two types of insurance: public liability or employers’ liability insurance. The former protects you as a homeowner as well as your property should an incident occur. The latter is for engineers who have other people working for them.
These are important basic questions that could save headaches down the line. A quote will likely be needed in order to answer them. Getting a quote also means that the installer can take a look at what needs doing and provide an accurate price and timescale. Both of these things could differ depending on the complexity of the task at hand. For instance, a boiler installation can take anywhere between one and three days depending on complexity and size of the task.
Most engineers will be able to accept a direct bank transfer, however do check this with them. Some may request cash after the work is completed and others might want paying as they go along, particularly if it’s a big job that could take a few weeks. No engineer should ask for 100 per cent of the fee upfront.
There may be no point in booking a heating engineer if they can’t start work for a few months. This is especially the case if your boiler is broken or won’t turn on. However if, for example, you wanted a new bathroom installed, you might not mind waiting a couple of months for a particular heating engineer who has been recommended to you.
No matter what your situation, it’s a good idea to get a general sense of when they can start the work.
Once the gas work has been completed, there are a few further questions you may wish to know the answers too.
If your boiler has had its annual service with the suitably qualified heating engineer, you must double check that they have filled out the correct part of the benchmark book. This book should keep any information about work carried out on the boiler. If it isn’t completed, your boiler’s warranty could become void, so do make sure the engineer has included the relevant information.
If you’re happy with the job the engineer has completed, you may want to book them in again for 12 months’ time. It might be best to do this before they leave. Just don’t forget to make a note somewhere of the appointment!
If the heating engineer installed a brand new boiler, you should confirm with them when you’ll receive your gas safety certificate in the post. This certificate will prove that the work was carried out by a Gas Safe registered installer, as well as providing other information, such as the date of installation. It’s important that you make sure this certificate arrives a few days after the boiler has been installed. If you don’t receive it, you should contact the engineer to check that they registered the boiler. This is essential in order to comply with Building Regulations.