Our boilers are an incredibly crucial part of our homes, controlling everything from the central heating to the temperature of your shower, but they're also an appliance that most homeowners tend to neglect. Doing so can have costly consequences and failing to check that yours is safely working on arrival at your new home can result in high maintenance fees. In fact, estimations from Money Super Market revealed that boiler repair costs can range from £150–£400 each time, which can quickly mount up if you're not taking proper care of it.
You can avoid these problems from the get-go by checking your boiler straight away at your new property and maintaining it regularly while you're living there. Here's our quick best practise guide below;
Carry out initial checks yourself
With all of the excitement of moving into a new property, it can be easy to neglect the important things, but knowing how your boiler should be functioning and what it should look like is crucial for safe living in your new home.
You should look out for:
- Cracks in the exterior of your boiler, as well as leaks or error messages on the screen.
- Strange noises, like rumbling, which could suggest a build-up of limescale of sludge in your boiler's heat exchanger.
- Blockages in both the internal and external flues and any breakages in the flue pipes.
- Unusual flickering from the boiler flame and the colour of it. It should be a crisp blue rather than yellow. Also, be aware that newer boilers won't have a pilot light as they have electric ignition.
- Problems with your radiators heating up, as this could indicate a problem with your boiler.
- Failure to meet water pressure levels — check your boiler's manual to see what these should be (you can consult most manuals online if you don’t have it). A loss of pressure could mean you have a leak, and if the pressure has become too high then you'll need to switch off your boiler and call out a Gas Safe engineer.
- Issues rebooting when you switch your boiler off and on again. It should reignite without any issues.
- Leaks in the discharge pipe or relief valve or build-ups in the drain system — if you're unsure where these are, check your instruction manual.
Get a safety check done
The first thing you'll want to do when you move into your new property is to check that everything's as it should be. But, as new homeowners that might not know much about boiler safety, it's good practise to get your boiler looked at by a Gas Safe registered engineer to give you peace of mind.
During your gas safety check, expect the engineer to look at four key things:
- The safety devices are working properly
- The boiler isn't leaking harmful gas and combustion by-products
- The boiler is operating at the correct temperature and is on the right setting and can burn gas properly
- The ventilation routes are clear to expel gas into the outside air
If your engineer finds a problem in any of these areas during the safety check, they must make them safe. This could involve disconnecting the faulty boiler and arranging for the gas supply to be cut off, which can be extremely inconvenient when your house is already packed full of moving boxes, but it's best to get it done as soon as you can to avoid any problems further down the line.
Book a gas service
Once you own your new property, it is your responsibility to book in an annual gas services to ensure all of your appliances are safe for use, according to the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. These services are much more in-depth than gas safety checks and will involve a Gas Safe registered engineer removing the boiler casing so they can get to all of the essential parts of your boiler. This includes (but isn't limited to) checking the following:
- The gas pressure and flow are correct
- Flue combustion — your engineer will use a flue analyser to check that the boiler is using the correct mixture of gas and air to create heat
- Safety devices are working as they should be
- Water is working efficiently, and the pipework is in good condition
- Electrical connections are safe, including wiring
- Seals are intact and there are no leaks
- Condensate trap and pipe aren't blocked
Maintain your boiler regularly
In between gas safety checks and services, there are other things you can be doing to maintain your boiler and avoid inconvenient breakdowns. For example, if your radiators feel colder at the bottom than the top, it's likely that there is air trapped inside them that needs releasing. Bleeding your radiators can relieve this build-up of pressure and reduce the extra strain that trapped air puts on your boiler. This will make it work more efficiently and effectively while making it cheaper for you to run.
Your boiler will also need plenty of ventilation, so if it's kept in a cupboard, it's important that you clear any clutter around it. If you're unsure whether your boiler has sufficient ventilation, your engineer will be able to discuss this with you.
Moving into your new home will be exciting, but don't forget to check the important things on your arrival. A broken-down boiler can cost you hundreds in repairs and be extremely inconvenient, especially when you've got boxes and bags of stuff to sort out. A quick check now could make all the difference!