So here we are, that time of year when you have put on the heating and started to get the hats and gloves out because the weather is starting to change. The mornings are darker, the car is cold, and you have to wait for the windscreen to clear before you head off to work or do the school run.
The comfort of warmth on a cold day makes you feel good, and you’ll often hear people talk about going home and sitting in front of the fire with a cuppa tea and be nice a cosy while watching their favourite TV show.
We can all relate to these situations, but unfortunately, we may also be able to relate to or have heard about someone, waking up in the morning or coming home to find there is no heating or hot water. Today we were very grateful to meet up with Ivo from Plumbingwerx plumbing and heating services who we invited to be a proffesional quest speaker on our blog, to ask him about why boiler services are so important and put him on the spot with some questions from you, our followers, that came in via our social media channels.
We started of the interview by asking Ivo to give us more information on what, why and how often a boiler service should be carried out.
“Thanks for coming to meet us today Ivo, firstly, could we ask you what a boiler service is?”
“A boiler service is a series of checks, and tests to help make sure that a boiler is functioning effectively, efficiently, and safely. Some of the checks are purely visual, and others are physical. It includes the removal of the cover, and will also require a flue gas analysis.”
“Why service my boiler?“
Preventative reasons, as it’s essential for the early diagnosis of potential problems before they actually become problems. Also, if it’s a new boiler, a service ensures that your warranty remains valid.
“How often should you service your boiler?”
I say to all my customers, treat your boiler like you treat your car, and have it serviced once a year. Preferably before it gets too cold, just in case there IS something wrong. If anything you’ll actually use your boiler much more often than you use your car; like every time you turn on the hot tap.
“Who should service our boilers?”
A boiler service should only ever be carried out by a Gas Safe Register registered engineer. I cannot stress this enough. Anyone who carries out work on your boiler, but isn’t registered on the Gas Safe Register is breaking the law, and can be prosecuted. Never be embarrassed to ask for the engineer’s Gas Safe Register card, either, and be sure to actually check it.
“What else should people know about a boiler service?”
On the day, the engineer will need access to the boiler, so it’s always helpful if you’re able to clear a space all around, and underneath it. They will also need visual access to the whole length of the flue (especially along any joints), and the flue termination.
Also, I’ve been finding more and more recently that safe electrical isolation of the appliance seems to be becoming an issue. The engineer will need to turn the boiler off at the plug/switch, so familiarity with where this is located is helpful.
“How can people book a boiler service?”
It’s literally this simple:
Step one, is to go to the Gas Safe Register website at www.gassaferegister.co.uk
Step two, use the search bar directly in front of you on the top of the page, to search for an engineer in your area by typing in your postcode.
Step three, contact an engineer or a few and get a price for a service over the phone. They may ask you a few questions about the boiler, like what brand it is, how old it is and where it is located.
Step four, arrange a service with an engineer you’re happy to use, based on the phone calls and conversations you’ve had”
“Thats been really useful Ivo, thank you. Can we just finish of todays interview with a few questions that we had come in from our followers on social media. Now this question I think lots of people will be intrested in knowing the answer to, if there is an answer that is”
Question – “What’s cheaper; leaving the gas heating on low all night or turning it off at 11pm and back on at 5am as we currently do”
“Wow. You think it would be an easy one to answer, but it’s actually a very loaded, and complicated one to answer. With so many factors, and variables, too. I could actually dedicate a whole article just to try and answer this one question, but it would only be good to read at bedtime, as I’m sure it would put most people to sleep.
I was on a course recently, and it turns out there’s actually still a lot of research going on to determine just what is most cost effective. My opinion, though? There’s no logical reason to heat a house for six hours if you’re not going to be conscious, and enjoy it. Also, studies have shown that the human body actually sleeps better at lower temperatures. Turn off the heating when you go to bed, and not only will you save a bit of money on your bills, but you’ll also get a more restful sleep.”
Question – “How can I save money on my heating bill?”
“Again, there are so many different ways to do this, that it needs its own article. It depends on so many variables. Do you have a combi boiler, or a cylinder? How old is the boiler? How old is the cylinder? What’s the limescale like in the area where you live? How old is the property? What type of property is it? Do you have double glazing? Is your loft insulated? Do you even have a loft? Is the pipework insulated? What material is the pipework? Which provider are you with? Are you on the best tariff? Are you prepaid, or DD? Etc, etc.
The best short answer is simply to turn the thermostat down. Recent research has shown that turning your heating down by just one degree can reduce heating bills by approximately 10%. Seems like a lot, for the sake of just one degree.
If you’re serious about saving energy, and thus reducing your heating bill, there are a multitude of things you can do depending on your heating system and boiler. Some of them expensive, most of them inexpensive. Speak to your local heating engineers, plural. Get differing opinions from various people on your system and home, and see what the general consensus is”
Question – “Are there any clear dangers for not servicing a boiler?”
“Not servicing a boiler, in and of itself, doesn’t actually present any dangers, to be honest. However, not having a boiler service means that you could miss any potential dangers already present, or before they begin to develop. As the old adage says; prevention is better than cure
Question – “Should you have a regular flush/clean of your heating system?”
“It’s something that’s difficult to gauge, and there’s no minimum/maximum “timeframe” for having your system flushed. There are a lot of factors that will determine how clean the system is. The simplest way to tell if you need a flush is to take a test sample of your heating water, preferably from the lowest point in your system, and measure it in a turbidity tube. If you have a magnetic filter, and a deaerator fitted to your system, and some inhibitor was recently added, a system flush won’t be necessary for a good long while.
A qualified heating engineer will be able to help guide you through this.
” Thank you Ivo for answering those questions, how can people contact you if they need any other advice?”
If they have any other questions after reading this, please get in touch via the Plumbingwerx website at www.plumbingwerx.com Thank you for having me, I hope it has been helpful to everyone and I look forward to talking again in the future.
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