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Legal Requirements of Boiler Servicing: How often should a boiler be serviced?


Landlords who rent out their property are legally required to have their gas appliances and flues serviced on an annual basis by a certified Gas Safe heating engineer. Gas appliances provided by the landlord for the tenant’s use include boilers, as well as gas fires and gas stoves. All appliances and flues need a visual inspection and prescribed tests carried out to ensure they are working efficiently, and, from a legal point of view, safely.

Boiler safety issues to be aware of

Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the biggest safety risks posed by a faulty boiler. Over a quarter (26%) of deaths from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning in the UK between 1995 and 2019 were caused by defective central heating boilers. However, while this is a significant number, the Gas Safety record for landlords and householders are thought to have led to a recent fall in carbon monoxide-related incidents.

It can be hard to know if your boiler starts to leak carbon monoxide, so it’s important that property owners install a carbon monoxide alarm to identify any gas leaks. Also, regular boiler services will make sure thorough checks are carried out by professionals, keeping tenants or residents safe.

It is not a legal requirement for homeowners who do not rent out their property to have an annual boiler service. However, they have a duty of care to ensure their gas appliances are safe, and not liable to cause harm to themselves or others. An annual service will also keep the boiler’s warranty valid.

In order to make an informed decision, you will need to know:

  • Why a boiler service is advisable (aside from the legal implications)
  • How much is a boiler service?
  • What is included in the boiler service cost?
  • What a boiler service includes?
  • How long does a boiler service take?
  • Do boilers need servicing every year?

Find the answers to all of your questions below…

Why you should have an annual boiler service

So, how often should a boiler be serviced? While homeowners don’t have the same legal requirements to follow that landlords do, there are several reasons to have your boiler checked annually. Here are some of the main ones to consider:

• Safety
The primary reason for having your boiler serviced every year is to ensure that it is running safely. These checks carried out by a Gas Safe engineer ensure that there are no potentially harmful leaks of combustible products that may damage the health of your household.

• Identification of potential faults
An annual boiler service should identify any potential areas that may need repair in your system. It’s worth having your boiler service appointment in the warmer months as any necessary action can be taken to repair faults before your boiler is in constant use during the winter, causing less disruption to the household.

• Efficiency
The boiler service will check that your boiler is working efficiently and according to manufacturers’ standards. The engineer will make any necessary updates, leaving your boiler to run in a more energy-efficient way. This will also help to prolong the boiler’s lifespan.

• Potentially lower fuel bills
Running an energy-efficient boiler should mean that fuel is used economically, giving the possibility of lower fuel bills.

• Manufacturer warranty
Most boiler manufacturers require an annual boiler service to validate your boiler’s warranty. For instance, a Worcester boiler service should be carried out to Worcester’s manufacturer standards while a Vaillant boiler service should meet Vaillant’s manufacturer’s standards.
To ensure this happens, your engineer may need to access the boiler’s operating manual. These are often available online if you do not have the original hard copy.

• Not time consuming
How long does a boiler service take? The full appointment will normally take less than an hour. If you schedule it in the off-peak period, you can usually get the appointment you want without any trouble.

The legal requirement for landlords
Aside from the above reasons, there are legal requirements if you are landlord requiring a boiler service. For rental properties, gas appliances and flues must be serviced annually as part of the annual gas safety check.

A record of the annual gas safety check must be kept by the landlord and a copy given to the tenant. For a new tenancy, a new gas safety check must be carried out and a copy of the record given to the new tenant.

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How much should a boiler service cost?

Typically, a one-off boiler service will cost approximately £85, although it can be as much as £100. However, if faults are found that can’t be fixed as part of the boiler service cost, additional costs may be added.

It’s possible to save money on annual boiler service costs if the householder takes out a plan. This normally includes an annual boiler service, in addition to covering boiler repairs and for a small extra cost, total central heating cover. These plans are available from Hometree.

What is included in a boiler service?

  • Visual inspection of the boiler
  • Electrics to and within the boiler will be inspected
  • Controls will be inspected
  • Removal of boiler casing, to check boiler component
  • Cleaning inside of casing and components if required
  • Identification and inspection of the flue and ventilation vents. This is to ensure they are appropriately sited, adequate to remove the boiler’s combustible products, and sealed to avoid leaks
  • The boiler will be run to check for faults and controls reset, if necessary.
  • A series of tests on the system’s tightness (no potential for leaks) and flue gas analysis (efficiency and safety) will be carried out. This will check the boiler is working optimally and safely
  • The boiler system’s pressure will be checked
  • Faults requiring repair will be identified

What is included in the boiler service cost?

Most heating engineers and companies complete a standard set of visual inspections and tests to establish the boiler’s efficiency and safety. Anything that needs repairing, rather than resetting or cleaning, might come with an additional charge.

That’s why it makes sense to take out a boiler service plan. This will usually include a comprehensive yearly boiler service. An annual boiler service charge will be less than if bought on a one-time basis.

Whether you are a landlord or homeowner, it’s worth looking at the different boiler service packages that are available. This will protect you and your family or your tenants and, if you own a buy-to-let, it will keep you compliant.

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