Boiler tips for new homeowners

February 25, 2019

Boiler Gage

It’s easy to take your boiler for granted — that is, until it breaks down, landing you with costly repairs. In this article, Beckie Hatton, a Product Manager from Home Appliance Care, shares five important boiler maintenance tips that all new homeowners should know.

You probably don’t think about it very often, but your boiler is easily the most frequently used appliance in your home. Whether you’re turning up the radiator on a cold night, taking a hot shower, or even just doing the dishes, these essential appliances work around the clock to keep our homes warm and comfortable.

Despite the important role they play in everyday life, the boiler is out of sight and out of mind for the most part, which means it’s easy to forget about regular maintenance. But, putting this off can leave you seriously out of pocket. Households without boiler insurance pay an average of £245 to repair a broken boiler — and, when you’ve just spent your savings on your first home, an unexpected bill like this is the last thing you need (uSwitch).

The good news is that a little preventative care and a few simple checks can save you a lot of money and trouble in the long run. Keeping your boiler in good condition can also minimise operating and energy costs, as well as extend its lifespan, so it makes perfect financial sense in the long term. In this article, I’ll be sharing some tips to help you keep your boiler running smoothly, so you can focus on enjoying your new home.

Get a safety check as soon as you move in
During a safety check, the engineer will test to see whether your boiler, flues, air supply, and safety functions are in full working order at the time of inspection. This is to ensure that your boiler is safe to use, and that there’s no risk of poisonous carbon monoxide leaking into your home. An unchecked boiler can be a serious hazard to your health, so you should be vigilant about getting your appliance checked by a qualified engineer at least once a year.

If your home is a new build, then this should have come with a Gas Safety certificate and proof that the boiler was installed by a registered professional. But, if you’ve bought a home that was previously occupied, you’ll want to get the boiler checked as soon as possible, as you never know what state the previous owner may have left the boiler in. If the house has been sitting empty for a few weeks or months, then there’s also a chance that problems may have crept in while the boiler was sitting dormant. So, make it a priority to get your boiler checked as soon as you move in.

Get a full service at least once a year
While a safety check will give you peace of mind that your boiler is safe to use, the engineer won’t make any minor routine repairs to parts that need frequent maintenance, like the seals, gaskets, or heat exchangers. So, to keep your boiler in top condition, you’ll want to get it professionally serviced at least once a year.

A service will flag up any issues that could cause serious problems if left untreated, meaning you can deal with them before they get out of hand. It’s often much more convenient and cost-effective to get the service carried out at the same time as your safety check, so I would recommend doing both together. If your boiler is still under warranty, then annual servicing is particularly important, as many warranty policies will be declared void if you aren’t getting your appliance checked regularly.

Make sure any engineers you hire are Gas Safe registered
Whenever you employ someone to check or service your boiler, you should be careful to find a qualified professional who is registered and certified by the Gas Safe scheme. Not only is this the law, but hiring the services of an unqualified repairman could leave your boiler in a dangerous condition. So, ask to see some ID and proof of their Gas Safe certification: any trustworthy and reputable professional will be only too happy to show you their credentials.

Check the pipework
When booking your boiler service, you might also want to consider asking your engineer to run tests to find out whether there are any problems with the pipework in your home. Leaking, blocked, or damaged pipes can seriously affect the overall efficiency and performance of your heating and water system, and it can make them more expensive to run, too. Having them checked as part of your annual boiler service will help to avoid any problems developing with your heating and hot water. It will also help to keep operating costs and utility bills as low as possible.

Know the warning signs
There’s still a chance that you’ll encounter faults between safety checks and services, so it will help if you know how to identify the signs and symptoms of a broken or faulty boiler. If you notice any of the following problems, call a registered engineer as soon as possible:

  • The pilot light is burning with a yellow flame instead of a blue one.
  • The pilot light keeps going out. The boiler keeps banging or making loud, unusual sounds during use.
  • You notice that your heating is not as effective, or condensation and damp keep building up on walls and windows.
  • Black, sooty marks or stains appear on or around the boiler.
  • Your carbon monoxide alarm is sounding. If the alarm sounds, leave the house as soon as possible and call an emergency engineer immediately. You can learn more about what to do in this situation on the Fire Service website.

No-one wants to wake up and find that the house is freezing and there’s no hot water, so it’s well worth spending a little time and money to keep your boiler in full working order. As long as you take the tips I’ve shared here on board and get your boiler checked and serviced at least once a year, you should be able to keep costs to a minimum, and your home warm and comfortable.

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