/ Home & Energy

Are you happy with how your boiler is serviced?

boilers

Like most of us, you probably call out an engineer every 12 months or so to tinker with that white box on the wall. But how much do you know about what a boiler service covers and are you happy with the result?

Over the past few years I’ve had boiler services that lasted nearly an hour, sometimes just a few minutes. Sometimes I’ve been given a checklist of what the engineer has done, other times, nothing.

And those were just the obvious differences I could see. Who knows what happened once the engineers actually started looking in the boiler?

Unless you’re a heating expert yourself, it’s unlikely you’ll have much of a clue about what a good service includes.

Is your boiler being serviced properly?

Our research shows big differences in how happy you were with how your boiler was serviced the last time. One independent firm got a customer score of 84%, while British Gas scored just 36%, in our most recent survey of ad hoc services last July.

It’s a similar picture for boiler breakdown cover (which usually includes an annual service) – with 85% for independent firms to 42% for Scottish Power.

When we last investigated this area in 2011, we asked 10 engineers to service a boiler with a minor fault. Four of them failed to do their job properly.

Tell us your boiler servicing stories

We’ve heard from people who are worried their boiler isn’t being serviced properly. And from others who don’t know how to check or what a decent service involves.

Some people have told us their servicing appointments are repeatedly cancelled – or that the engineer simply does not show up at all.

We’ve also heard that engineers tried to sell other products or services – such as filters, flushes, alarms or heating controls – during an annual boiler check.

Have you had a problem with a boiler service? Has an engineer ever tried to sell you other products and services while repairing your boiler?

Comments
Member

I use a local plumbing service to maintain my boiler. It is cheaper than British Gas and unlike BG they do a really thorough job. I do not have a call out service because in 50 years of house ownership I have only had to call a plumber on a handful of occasions, paying regular sums for this service (or other equipment) is just uneconomic.

Member
Dalefarm says:
4 April 2015

I had to call out a plumber for a leak from the toilet. The ceiling was bulging and there was water running down the wall into a light switch. I paid £100 for the fallout plus more for parts…… a washer!
I am a single woman so I feel I have no choice but to pay for cover

Member
Dalefarm says:
4 April 2015

I meant callout but perhaps fallout is more appropriate

Member
Conrad says:
4 April 2015

I use a local service firm recommended by Bosch. Their price was reasonable and the boiler works fine. I do not have a call out service as our Lloyds Bank account has a “free” service for house emergencies including heating breakdown. I have not had to use this on this boiler, but with a previous oil-fired boiler the response and repair was within 24 hours.

Member

I use an independent local firm to service my boiler. They are reliable and do not over charge for the work – a service costs £45. I have only had to call them out to the heating twice and on both occasions they came quickly and fixed the problem with minimum fuss and at a fraction of the price quoted by British Gas for parts and labour.

Member
Joe Waller says:
4 April 2015

How long does your £45 boiler service take, if you don’t mind me asking ?

Member
Keith Couch says:
4 April 2015

Had a Worcester Bosch boiler installed 3 years ago by Bosch recommended local installers. No problem with installation and boiler has been trouble free. A MagnaClean magnetic filter was fitted at the same time.
Usual problem that the guarantee required that the boiler be serviced annually and used same installer to carry out service. Cost around £70.00 but frankly this appears to be money for old rope. They remove boiler case and look inside and check gas levels in the flue whilst boiler is running. They never check the magnetic filter and when I enquired why, I was given some story about the seals being a bit dodgy and leaks could result if they disturbed it. Cleaned it myself the other day with no problem. It had trapped a small amount of metallic sludge and no leaks occurred after cleaning.Since the installer recommended installation of the filter it seems a bit much that they then say they don’t want to touch it.
Do not know what a service is meant to include. Maybe this information should be more readily available.

Member

Hi Keith – personally I think it is appalling that they do not check and clean the magna-clean unit (or any other similar brand) – yes, we have found the ‘o’ rings and seals need replacing, but I’m sure you would be happier if they included new seals as part of the service cost.

Re the actual service – this is dictated by the manufacturer. The flue analysis is now a requirement and this will show up what is going on inside. The manufacturer may well say that if the readings are correct, that the burner etc should be left alone. New seals on the boiler may be required at certain intervals.

I hear exactly what you are saying about ‘money for old rope’ – but do take into account the guy’s training fees (which have to be re-taken every 5 years), qualifications, overheads (insurance etc), travelling and the cost of the analyser itself, which has to be certificated and sent off for service and a calibration certificate each year. Not forgetting his/her expertise in knowing what to do when the readings start to deteriorate.

Member

I agree with some of the earlier comments.

In particular, would it not be possible for boiler manufacturers to publish service specifications in the same way as car manufacturers.

Customers could then ask the service engineer to carry out the work as specified by the manufacturer.