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What Does A Boiler Service Include?

A boiler can be one of the most expensive appliances within the home and many households don't realise their reliance on it until something goes wrong. Just like any appliance, a boiler can get damaged if any underlying issues go undetected or ignored.

A boiler service should be part and parcel of your household's outgoings every year. Typically, an annual boiler service is recommended to check over the appliance and see if there are any issues or problems that need addressing.

But what can you expect from a boiler service? What does it include? 

In this guide, we'll cover everything you'll need to know about getting an annual boiler service, from what it will include to the importance of booking this service routinely.

A Typical Boiler Service Will Include:

It's always good to know what your boiler service includes so that you can cross-reference these on the report your engineer gives you. There are a number of steps that make up a typical boiler service, which may vary slightly depending on the engineer. However, they all follow pretty much the same pattern of checks.

Visual inspection

The first stage of a boiler service is a visual inspection. 

Your engineer will take a visual check of your boiler from the outside. Engineers are qualified to inspect the boiler safely and efficiently. They will know what they are looking for when it comes to parts that should be working safely and parts that don't look right.

During this inspection, you may see the engineer looking for any leaks or corrosive damage that may have occurred since their last visit. They will also check the boiler flame to see if it looks normal.

Casing removal

After the Gas Safe Registered engineer has done the visual inspection, they'll then look at the boiler internally. This requires them to remove the boiler's casing. This protects all the main components within the boiler from damage and is where the engineer will check the components and clean the inside of the boiler where necessary.

They will check the burner, the heat exchanger, and other components which are critical for the boiler’s performance. 

Checks

A boiler service includes ticking off lots of different tests. These include, but aren’t limited to:

Flue check

The flue check is where the engineer will look to see no obstructions within the flue terminals, They will also check the flue emissions with a flue analyser, to confirm the flue is burning safely with readings within the tolerances set in correspondence with the Boiler manufacturer instructions. This is where potentially dangerous emissions can be discharged if the flue isn't fitted safely. It's a key component to check, and only a Gas Safe Registered engineer has the qualifications to do this check properly.

Gas pressure check

A gas pressure check is essential, especially as high or low boiler pressure can cause problems for your boiler's performance and lifespan.

Your taps and radiators rely on the gas pressure to be at the correct levels. Otherwise, they won't heat up properly.

Check that the boiler fires properly

The engineer will check that the boiler starts up as it should and that there are no faults.

Once all the relevant boiler and system checks are completed the Gas safe engineer will issue a report of how everything with your boiler looks. They will highlight any potential problems or issues that need addressing and what is required to fix or amend these boiler problems.

Why Is A Boiler Service So Important?

What makes a boiler service so important? 

Sure, it's not illegal to skip your boiler service but not having one can put you and your family at risk, not to mention financially out of pocket, if something goes wrong that a service could have prevented. For example, if anything were to happen, insurance companies may be hesitant to pay out if boiler services weren't conducted to prevent the damage from occurring.

Here are a few reasons you should be booking your annual boiler service.

Safety

Safety is the most important factor for households of any size. A boiler service is key to keeping your family safe from carbon monoxide poisoning and any potential appliance safety issues. 

Carbon monoxide is odourless, so you may find yourself mistaking the symptoms for another illness. These symptoms include headaches, nausea, dizziness, and breathlessness.

With a gas boiler service, the engineer will be able to spot a leak instantly.

Prevent breakdowns

Preventing breakdowns is essential because boiler repairs can be very costly. When you have an annual boiler service, engineers can catch the problem earlier on without giving it chance to get worse.

Boiler repairs and new boilers can cost hundreds or even thousands of pounds, so it's worth paying for the gas boiler service each year instead.

Warranty

Did you know that not getting a boiler serviced for over a year can void your boiler's manufacturer warranty? If you still have a remaining warranty on your boiler, you will want to book that boiler service just in case you ever have to claim on that warranty whilst it's still available.

Ensures maximum efficiency

With an annual boiler service, just like you would maintain the cleaning of your dishwasher or oven, it helps ensure the appliance is performing at maximum efficiency.

A boiler service will mean all the components have been checked and are working efficiently.

Save money on costly repairs

Regular checks are going to save you money in the long run. Many will see the upfront costs of boiler services as not worthwhile, but they can help fix problems for less than what you would pay if you had simply ignored any issues.

Ultimately, if you don't get your boiler serviced, you won't know whether or not your boiler is safe and in good working condition. The outcome will likely be more expensive if you allow problems to continue affecting your central heating system.

Reduce your energy bills

Getting an annual boiler service can help you to save money on your energy bills. Typically, problems that occur with boilers can directly impact your energy bill costs, whether that's a fault with the pressure or overusing energy.

A boiler service will improve efficiency so that your boiler is using less energy, even when it's years old.

Signs That Your Boiler Needs A Service

What are some of the common signs that your boiler needs servicing? There are some pretty easy signs that you will spot yourself if you are looking at your boiler regularly or within its vicinity.

The pilot light turned off

Pilot lights are usually featured on older boilers, so your new boiler probably won’t have a pilot light. However, if your boiler does have a pilot light which is turned off or keeps turning off every time you use the heating system in your home, then this is a sign that the boiler isn't working as it should. The pilot light acts as the ignition for the boiler, a key function of the appliance.

If the pilot light is burning with a yellow flame, this is an indicator of carbon monoxide leaking.

You hear unusual noises

The odd noise coming from your boiler as the heating turns on isn't an issue. However, if your boiler is making a noise that you have not heard before, this may indicate that you need your boiler serviced.

Strange bangs and sounds could all signify the wear and tear that sometimes a boiler encounters as it gets older.

The previous service was a year or more ago

If you have not had a service in over a year, we have already mentioned that your warranty may be at risk of being void. Not only that, but in the space of just twelve months, issues with your boiler can crop up without you knowing. It's good to get routine checks within a year of your previous boiler service.

You smell an unusual odour

Smelling unusual odours are a sign that the gas in your boiler may be leaking or may have issues. You may notice dark markers around the boiler's casing, which is a sign that you have a leak. Even though carbon monoxide is odourless, there will be some unusual odour coming from your boiler when there's a leak.

Inefficient performance

When the boiler is on, check your heating around the home. Are the hot water taps delivering hot water quickly and consistently? Are the radiators hot, or are they quite tepid? Chances are, if the boiler isn't working correctly, then it's going to provide inefficiency when it comes to its performance.

How Often Should A Boiler Be Serviced?

Oil and gas boilers should be serviced within 12 months of the previous service. Even if you don't spot any signs of damage or wear and tear, it's good to have it looked at every year just in case.

As part of the service, a gas safe engineer will inspect the boiler and make sure it’s running as it should. 

Regular maintenance will help to lengthen the life of your boiler, and keeping a watchful eye over your boiler is always a smart habit.

How To Find A Professional Engineer To Service Your Boiler

An annual boiler service should be on your home maintenance to-do list, but how do you find the right engineer for the job? The boiler service you have will depend on what type of boiler you have. There are two types of boiler services, a gas boiler and an oil boiler service.

Gas boiler service

An authorised and regulated Gas Safe Registered engineer should conduct a gas boiler service. Make sure to check their ID card before working or establish you have a gas boiler with the engineer before you book them. You may also want to let them know the brand of boiler you have too.

Oil boiler service

An oil boiler service needs to be done by an OFTEC engineer. OFTEC consists of a register of technicians from businesses specialising in oil, solid fuel, and renewable heating.

FAQs

How long does a boiler service take?

A gas boiler service will likely take, on average, around 1 hour, but some may take a little longer depending on the engineer and how quick they are to check over all the components. 

An oil boiler service typically takes longer than a gas boiler service, due to the need to check the oil tank as well as the boiler. 

You ideally want an engineer who takes their time and does an efficient job than someone who rushes it!

To learn more, read our how long does a boiler service take guide.

When is the best time to service a boiler?

The best time to service a boiler is during the warmer months. This is because the boiler is not always in use, and during the winter, it's likely working hard to keep up with your household's needs. 

You’re likely to have shorter waiting times for an appointment in the summer months too, as there is less demand for heating engineers at this time. 

Getting your boiler serviced ahead of the winter months will provide you with peace of mind, knowing that your boiler is ready for the cold weather. However, you’ll need to make sure it is within 12 months of the previous service.

How much does it cost to service a boiler?

A boiler service cost will depend on the engineer. This could be anywhere between £60-£150, with the average being £75. You can either choose to pay the one-off fee for the annual boiler service or pay for a boiler cover plan to keep you covered throughout the year. 

A boiler service will be cheaper, but boiler cover may offer more peace of mind. Boiler cover can cost upwards of £300 depending on the cover provider. 

With a BOXT Service Plan at £7.99 per month, you will receive one service every 12 months from one of our Gas Safe engineers. Alternatively, our Protect+ Plan is available for £17.99 per month which includes the same boiler service, alongside cover for your entire central heating system.

Can I service my boiler myself?

You should never attempt to service your boiler yourself.

Having your boiler serviced annually by a professional will give you peace of mind that your boiler is working well ready for the winter months.

Final Thoughts

A boiler service can be a cost-effective way to prevent you from paying for the cost of repair work or replacement of the boiler itself. Be sure to get your annual service on the calendar so that you don't forget!

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