The annual boiler service is a very important job that is best done in the warmer months of the year, but did you know around 90% of us never have the boiler serviced.
The boiler for some reason seems to get forgotten until something happens, you go to have a shower and find you have no hot water. Then you start to panic trying to find someone to repair the boiler.
So why is the annual boiler service important?
11 years ago the high efficiency-condensing boiler became compulsory in the United Kingdom.
With the boilers before condensing it was not as important to have them serviced as it is now. The reason is that the boilers then did not have so many parts inside as they do in today’s condensing boilers, yes they went wrong but were a lot easier and cheaper to repair, although it has always been a recommendation by the boilermakers to have the boiler and any gas appliance serviced annually.
It’s more important now than ever before to have an annual boiler service and the boiler checked over to make sure it is performing as should be, and most important that it’s SAFE.
With an annual boiler service, one of the most important checks is the flue pipe, this has to be checked to make sure all joints and seals are not leaking carbon monoxide or products of combustion into the room the boiler is located in.
The high efficiency or condensing boilers as they are known while running produce condense, this is acidic water, because it is acidic, it can start to corrode the flue-pipe, and should this happen the flue will start to leak products of combustion (carbon monoxide), which as we all know can be very dangerous to life, this is one of the most important parts of the service.
All condensing boilers have a condense trap built-in, this needs to be cleaned out and checked for leakage it’s also part of the boiler’s flue system.
When the boiler is running the water it produces cleans the combustion chamber of any residue and this ends up in the trap.
With many boilers of today, they work under high pressure and have an expansion vessel connected to the pipework, this can be either internally or externally.
The expansion vessel will over time will lose pressure and will need to be recharged to keep the boiler working to its full efficiency.
The expansion vessel is a very important part of the annual boiler service that needs to be checked. Once the vessel loses the charge it puts pressure on the pump, the internal water parts, and the entire O rings within the boiler.
Have you ever noticed when your boiler is running that the pressure gauge either fitted on the boiler or on external pipe starts to rise then when the boiler cools down the pressure drops down to zero. You may even have noticed that the discharge pipe or overflow pipe as some people call it, is showing signs of water discharge. If you have then this is normally an indication that the expansion vessel has lost its charge.
Part of the annual boiler service is to check the boiler combustion rate.
This is to make sure the boiler is burning gas as it was designed for, this is carried out using a flue gas analyser which is inserted into the flue-pipe and a reading is taken, if the readings are within the boilers recommendations then no further action is required, but if the readings are out of the recommendations then further investigations are needed to find the problem.
With the old type of boiler, the burners were removed and the flue-ways were cleaned and checked, but with the condensing boiler, the flue-gas reading tells us when the burners need to be removed. In fact, Vaillant boilers now say the burners may never need to be removed if the boiler is set up and maintained properly, they once suggested that the burners be removed every five years.
With an annual boiler service, these are just a few of the checks that need to be carried out, and because many boilers now come with long warranties, to keep the boiler warranty valid you must have an annual boiler service. Once the service has been carried out, then the engineer needs to date and sign the warranty booklet to keep the warranty valid.
I have spoken to many customers with long boiler warranties, and for some reason, they seem to think they do not need an annual boiler service because of the long warranty. This is not so, you must keep up with the annual boiler service otherwise, should you need to make a claim under the warranty you may find you will have a large repair bill, all because you failed to keep up the annual boiler service.
One last thing before we finish, don’t forget that any form of gas work, be it fitting your new cooker, the annual boiler service whatever it maybe has to be carried out by a Gas Safe Registered person. If they are not gas safe registered then you will have no warranty on the boiler and most important you will find your home insurance also becomes void should something happen.