Posted on 30th November 2016 by Geoff Barker
Ensure your warmth this winter
Now the clocks have gone back and the weather is getting noticeably colder, many of us have begun switching on our central heating. Each winter, many thousands of Britons are at risk of falling victim to their boilers breaking down. Here’s what to look out for to avoid a chilly downturn and ensure a winter warmer this year.
A lukewarm experience
A faulty boiler is not just inconvenient in terms of a lack of hot water or heating – it can also be dangerous, and in extreme cases of carbon monoxide poisoning, can be fatal. Yet buried away in a cupboard, the boiler often goes unconsidered by consumers until something goes wrong – and with the average cost of a boiler plus installation getting in to the thousands, it’s an expensive something at that. That’s why it’s one of the most important household appliances to maintain. Inconvenience aside, a faulty boiler can also squander energy so could be costing you money even if it appears to be running normally.
Another important tip is to make sure the condensate pipe from your boiler is not exposed outside the house as it enters a grid for instance. In particularly cold weather this can freeze and stop your boiler from working. If you’re not sure about this, check with the engineer at your next service.
Don’t get heated
It sounds simple but a savvy way to avoid paying out is to get your boiler checked by a registered Gas Safe technician once a year. If you’re a landlord, you’ll need a certificate following your boiler service, and homeowners should also ask for a completion notice which is often required by insurance companies pending any claim or the manufacturer in the event of warranty claim. Interestingly, new technology means some boilers now have in-built internet connectivity – enabling installers to optimise the boiler’s operation and fix minor faults remotely, thereby avoiding hefty call out fees. My top tips for ensuring a healthy boiler would be to bleed the radiators regularly and get a system flush to get rid of any debris and build-up of limescale and sludge. You should also avoid clutter around your boiler to allow for ventilation, and regularly check the water pressure to ensure your boiler is operating at maximum capacity and doesn’t cause an unnecessary fault, which can happen if it is allowed to reduce below a predetermined level. If you aren’t sure how to do this, get an expert to show you – it really helps to have a good understanding of your heating system.
Claiming your cover
In much the same way people opt-in for schemes that help protect them when other day-to-day items go wrong (car breakdown, product warranty etc.), your boiler will come with options too. Firstly, if you have a relatively new boiler, which is more than a year old, check the length of your warranty, and make sure you’ve had your boiler serviced annually– a requirement to maintain your warranty. It’s also worth checking your household insurance to know your position in case something does go wrong. If your boiler is out of warranty, another option is an annual boiler or heating system insurance policy, which often includes an annual service and breakdown cover, although these can be expensive. If you decide against standalone boiler cover, an alternative option is to self-insure, providing you have sufficient money available in your account in the event of a breakdown.
While replacing an old or faulty boiler is an investment, it’s quite often the best option and could save you money in the long run. Our Eco RF boiler can reduce bills by up to 40 per cent compared to older boilers, and 10 per cent compared to other A-rated boilers as it has a unique high efficiency heat exchanger. It can also cut carbon emissions by up to 20 percent.
As an internet-connected boiler, it comes with a raft of innovative features including a system called intouch which allows households to control their boiler using an app on their smartphone. The boiler also has remote diagnostics enabling problems to be indentified and operational errors fixed remotely from your installer’s offices, therefore reducing the need for inconvenient costly call outs.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, if you do find yourself in a position whereby your boiler needs replacing, remember it is now the law that all gas appliances are installed by a Gas Safe registered engineer.