It may seem like a boring subject, but knowing how often a boiler should be serviced by law and sticking to it will give you peace of mind that your central heating system is in full working order when you need it.
With the current cost of living at a record high, knowing how to save energy at home is paramount. An inefficient boiler could increase utility bills as energy consumption is wasted through faulty parts.
It's a fact that a regular boiler service is an added household bill, but keeping your boiler in tip-top condition could save a great deal of money in the long run.
Just as a vehicle needs servicing to keep it driving smoothly, a boiler service is an important maintenance task to keep the engine of your home operating well and fuel consumption at a minimum. Just as fixing a broken down car can cost mega bucks, so can a busted boiler when it is cold outside.
'Boilers are highly efficient, finely tuned machines,' explains Tyrone Ekrem, founder of Fair Fix. 'As such they demand regular checks and services. If your boiler is new and you fail to get it regularly checked, it will likely negate the manufacturer’s warranty.'
How often should a boiler be serviced?
The answer to how often should a boiler be serviced by law depends on your living arrangements. However, routine servicing will keep your appliance safe, save you money and keep your warranty valid.
Boiler service requirements for homeowners
If you are the home owner, it's not a legal requirement to have a boiler service. However, it's an annual maintenance task that if overlooked could end up leaving you in the cold and out of pocket in the long run. Or, worse still, neglecting the task may lead to having to replace a boiler completely.
'In order to keep your boiler working as effectively as possible, it is important to book in regular boiler services,' advises Martyn Bridges, Head of Technical Communication and Product Management at Worcester Bosch. 'An unserviced boiler could lead to faults, higher energy bills and your warranty ending early.'
Boiler service requirements for tenants
Landlords are required by law to have gas appliances in rental properties checked for safety. As stated on the Gas Safe Register, under The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 (GSIUR), it is outlined that duty of care as a landlord is to ensure all gas appliances, fittings, chimneys and flues are safe and working efficiently.
This includes a boiler check for gas safety. The assessment, required by law is carried out between 10-12 months after the last completed check. On completion, tenants will be issued a Gas Safety record. Remember, a gas safety check may not include a full service.
Tenants should check their private landlord agreement. A boiler service may not be included within the Gas Safety Check level of cover the landlord owns. However, as central heating systems advance in technology, how often should a boiler be serviced is usually required as part of the safety check to establish the Gas Safety Certificate valid. Either way you won't have to worry about how much a boiler service costs, as this will be for the landlord to pay.
Why have a boiler service?
Knowing how often should a boiler be serviced is important to ensure it's running efficiently and safely to keep your home at the perfect temperature. Regular maintenance will minimise the risk of breakdowns and lengthen the appliance lifespan.
- Safety– All devices that burn wood or fossil fuels such as natural gas could produce carbon monoxide (CO) if they are faulty. The gas is odourless, colourless and tasteless so can easily go undetected. It is vital to test your boiler regularly by a Gas Safe registered engineer to keep your home safe and your family in good health. Always make sure you have working carbon monoxide detectors, available on Amazon, in your home to ensure the safety of your family.
- Warranty – Although it's not a legal requirement, an annual boiler service may be a manufacturer's condition to maintain a boiler's certificate of guarantee. 'Some warranties require annual servicing to remain valid, so it's worth checking your warranty details,' explains Martyn from Worcester Bosch. It is the owner's responsibility to book any service appointments within the warranty period.
- Energy efficiency – A maintained and regularly serviced boiler will work to ensure your appliance is running with optimum energy efficiency and will prolong the lifespan of the boiler.
- Cost efficiency – The cost of maintaining a boiler regularly can be significantly less than replacement boiler cost or that of breakdown repairs. Boiler service companies and energy suppliers usually offer options to spread the cost making the agreement less of a dent on your bank balance.
- Fault finding – If a broken boiler during winter months sounds like a nightmare situation, an annual boiler service should put your mind at ease. During a service, a gas engineer will identify and fix any foreseeable problems before they occur.
What does a boiler service entail?
A boiler service can vary slightly from company to company depending on the boiler manufacturer and model. However, the general service checklist conducted by Homeserve includes:
- Visual inspection - checking the boiler is clean and identify any signs of distress.
- Operation control - testing controls and safety devices for operation.
- Flue and combustion release - making sure any obstructions in the pipe are cleared and fittings are made secure from the boiler to exit point.
- Cleaning components - inspecting and cleaning main components including the main burner, heat exchanger, flue ways and ignition pins.
Who should conduct my boiler service?
A heating engineer who works on gas boilers will need to be on the Gas Safe Register list. If you own an oil fuelled appliance, turn to Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC) registered engineers. For bio and solid fuel boilers, source an engineer who is Heating Equipment Testing and Approvals Scheme (HETAS) qualified.
'For peace of mind the engineer must carry a Gas Safe Register ID card,' says Martyn from Worcester Bosch. 'Ask to see identification as soon as your engineer arrives.'
- Manufacturers – Most boiler manufacturers employ contractors with all of the above qualifications. They usually offer a subscription cover package that includes callouts, parts and labour costs and annual boiler service.
- Energy suppliers – Another option is to book an annual boiler service via your registered energy supplier. Household names such as British Gas, Scottish Power, EDF and E-ON have online services and apps to book home care cover deals.
- Online boiler companies – Online boiler companies such as Boxt and Heatable are a relatively new and cost-effective concept. They too offer competitive monthly subscription service plans and Gas Safety certificates.
- Independent Gas Safe Engineers – Alternatively, independent contractors who are IPHE (Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering) registered heating engineers can be found on Checkatrade. They offer a conditional 12-month guarantee after service.
Boiler service checklist
There will also be a series of tests to carry out during a service checklist inspection and these include:
- Flame sense device and whether it operates correctly
- Pilot burner and any cables and probes
- High-limit thermostat
- Boiler operation
- Provision of adequate ventilation
- Flue effectiveness
- Heating controls
- Electrical wiring connections
- Location of the boiler and nearby combustible materials
- Gas and pressure flow
- Safety devices
At the end of the boiler service, the engineer will ensure the boiler is running smoothly. The engineer will issue a record of boiler pressure and heat inputs. A boiler service should last at least 30 minutes depending on the brand and age of the model.
What is boiler cover?
A survey by Uswitch boilers recently revealed that 21% of over 2,000 Brits surveyed risked having their warranty invalidated by skipping a boiler service.
Boiler cover is a type of insurance which will cover the cost of servicing, maintaining or replacing your boiler for a yearly or monthly fee. Locking into this kind of scheme will ensure a regular boiler service is always scheduled.
'While boiler cover can be overlooked, missing out could give you trouble down the road,' explains Ben Gallizzi, from Uswitch boilers. 'Issues with central heating can be difficult to pinpoint and expensive to resolve, so the certainty that you are covered in the event of a breakdown can prevent surprising, expensive bills further down the line.'
How much does a boiler service cost?
According to Which? a one-off boiler service should start from £70 up to £110 for a gas boiler. It's a little less on average for an electric boiler.
Do you have to service your boiler every year by law?
Unless you are a landlord then no. But, a faulty boiler could allow carbon monoxide to escape, which could make you ill or prove fatal. So, we advise you should.
What is the new law on gas boilers?
Is there a gas boiler ban in 2025? Not quite. 2025 marks the beginning of the Future Homes Standard. Part of the Government plan is that no new build homes will be able to connect to the gas network. Millions of homes are currently heated by gas boilers and will continue to be beyond 2025.
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Rachel Homer has been in the interiors publishing industry for over 15 years. Starting as a Style Assistant on Inspirations Magazine, she has since worked for some of the UK’s leading interiors magazines and websites. After starting a family, she moved from being a content editor at Idealhome.co.uk to be a digital freelancer and hasn’t looked back.
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