Your guide on boiler repair services
Applying for one-off boiler repair or any of the service plans, you need to understand what aspects to expect from the company to cover. It will save a lot of your time and even money and prevent you from paying for low-quality works. In addition, in this post we will reveal a few tips on how to save money by preventing a boiler breakage.
A must-have when providing your boiler with repair services
Here we will discuss such essential details as your safety and guarantees a company shall ensure.
Gas Safe engineer
It is very important to entrust your gas appliance not to a handyman but a Gas Safe engineer. Dealing with licensed engineer, you can rest assured he is well-qualified to provide your boiler with quality repair services and get other benefits:
Any boiler service and repair must end with a gas safety check. This is the way the company ensures they leave your appliance safe to operate. This gas safety check at least shall include:
Though, there is no law regulating the guarantee issues, providing boiler service and repair with certain post-work commitments is a common practice. Of course, the guarantee period and its conditions vary depending on the details to repair or replace.
On average, companies give at least six months of warranty on parts and labour. It’s worth to ask about any guarantees in advance to understand your options.
Consider this before you hire someone to accomplish boiler repairs
With so many companies providing boiler repairs and so many myths about their services, it could be hard to find the one that suits you. Here are some factors to consider or not when choosing a repair provider.
You may have already read about the need to check a company experience before hiring its services. Of course, the number of years a company (or, better, its engineer) provides these services matters. However, with a Gas Safe engineer, it is unlikely you get low qualified repairman even if his experience is no more than just one year. To clarify, everyone who applies for the Gas Safe ID card must take and pass very strict exams.
A company’s reputation is of great importance when you look for someone who completes gas boiler repair. No one wants to deal with poor communication and services. So, try to find any feedback about the company’s works to understand the level of its professional and communication skills.
Is it necessary to book boiler repair services from a company near you? To be honest, this only has a sense in case of emergency, when every hour counts. However, if the case is not that urgent, you’d better explore other factors. In other words, find the company that can provide you with top-notch boiler service and repair rather than one that is near your location.
Typically, the cost factor is the cornerstone as it affects your budget. In turn, it deals with two subfactors:
So, try to compare the company’s prices with its reputation to find an optimal ratio. Besides, avoid dealing with companies whose prices are not transparent. That is to say, understand their hour rates before they visit your site.
What to do to prevent your boiler breakdowns
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So, make little efforts and spent some money to prevent any issues instead of spoiling your nerves and drain your budget to fix them.
1. Regularly service your boiler
To minimize your boiler breakdowns and lower your repair bills in the future, regular maintenance is the service you need. First, by annually inspecting your appliance an engineer can find the one close to its end. Timely replacing worn or corroded detail saves you from having a lot of more serious issues with your appliance. Second, by checking and tuning your appliance, an engineer ensures its proper operating. To clarify, this prevents its excessive wear and tear and lowers its breakdown possibility.
2. Insulate your pipes
If a pipe gets frozen, it will block your boiler and your heating system as a whole. To avoid this, insulate pipes that have got a potential risk of getting frozen. Use any appropriate lagging and wrap these potentially problematic pipes with it before winter comes.
3. Don’t let your boiler stay inactive for too long
Many boiler issues come from it stays inactive too long in summer. If you turn its heating mode off for the whole summer, you may have the feeding system seized up. To prevent this, we recommend you run your appliance for 15-20 minutes at least once a month.
So, follow these three steps to avoid a lot of boiler failures. Or, if it does occur despite your best efforts, be equipped with our tips to get the best of provided repair services.
Emergency boiler repair in London: hope for the best and prepare for the worst
Cases when a gas boiler needs emergency repair are not uncommon in London. It could be a very frustrating experience unless you are prepared for it. Here we will guide you through all the steps so you will be fully aware of signs you need paying attention to and how to act when the boiler breakdown strikes you.
Warning signs your boiler needs immediate repair
All boiler malfunctions we can divide on extremely dangerous and of so-called secondary importance ones. Unit deformation, leaking, colour change, and no heating warns you are facing the first group. So they must be prioritised and resolved immediately.
Visible deformation of boiler parts
Any deformations due to inner reasons are obvious signs of your insecurity related to your heating appliance functioning. To clarify, you never know what may happen next moment, whether it may burst or not. Therefore, we recommend inspecting your unit at least once a month in order not to miss any deformation. Except for summer months, when the temperature allows you to stay for a while with your gas boiler out of order, this requires immediate repair.
There is water around the boiler
No boiler is designed to emit water. Thus, if you find any wet spots near your heating appliance, it means your unit is leaking. Leaking unit can still heat, but is unsafe. To clarify, there are electrical connections in its construction and water ingress may cause short circuit. In turn, electrical short has got two negative consequences:
The flame colour in your boiler is yellow or orange
Ideally, the flame should be blue. In this case you can rest assured your heating appliance operates properly concerning fuel combustion quality. In other words, it runs with complete combustion. In contrast, changing the colour to orange or yellow indicates poor air supply and incomplete combustion.
Is this problem is serious? Yes, it certainly is! Just read about the hazards incomplete combustion creates to choose one that stresses you the most:
Your boiler is not heating
No heat is not only the sign your boiler needs emergency repair but a real problem, especially in London winter. We guess we don’t have to tell you why you need to resolve this problem in no time. You know well, staying without heat and hot water is not a pleasant experience when it is below zero outside.
However, let us indicate one more detail – the risk of getting your whole central heating system frozen. The more scale of the disaster, the more efforts (and more money) it takes to restore the system.
Other signs indicating your boiler malfunction
Early we describe common signs that indicate the need for immediate repairs. Nevertheless, you may find other manifestations of your boiler failure. That is to say, we do not rate them as emergency but still urge you not to neglect them. Here they are:
How to act if your boiler needs emergency repair
If you find out any of the signs listed in the previous section of this post, do not panic but follow our recommendations.
Step 1. Switch your heating device off
While manufacturers designed a boiler to shut down due to serious malfunctions, in cases we described earlier your heating unit is likely to be still operating. So, first you should do when notice your unit does not heat, leaking, or change its fame colour from blue to orange or yellow is to shut it down. To accomplish this follow the next procedure order:
Step 2. Check your warranty or insurance
Here you need to check whether your boiler warranty is still valid. So, store your papers the way you exactly know their place and can easily access it. If the warranty is still valid, check the service centers you can apply for repairs.
If your appliance is much older, you may have another option to cover your repair expenses. To clarify, your home insurance may include boiler breakdown clause it covers. So, check if yours has this clause and make prescribed arrangements if it has.
Step 3. Contact a company near you for emergency boiler repair
No matter, whether you have the valid boiler warranty, cover, or appropriate clause in your home insurance, you need to contact a Gas Safe engineer. Note, emergency call-outs are often charged at higher rates than pre-scheduled. However, it is still cheaper comparing to the inconvenience and expenses you may have during the longer no-heat-no-water period.
Step 4. Prepare for no-heat-no-water period
It is impossible to guarantee you will get your appliance back up and running the same day it breaks down. So preparing for no-heat-no-water period is what you do the next:
Understand the essence of boiler breakdown service and your options
No one wants to wash with ice water or stay in their cold home in winter. Therefore, if your heating appliance breaks down, the sooner you bring it up and running, the better. Your options for fixing your boiler breakdowns, apart from one-time repair services, are the following:
So, let’s discuss a cover issue for your gas boiler to get deeper into breakdown services it offers, understand its pitfalls, pros and cons.
Types of boiler service and breakdown covers
Basically, there are two cover types that differ with the number of services depending on the items they deal with:
However, each company develops its own plans and ranges them within these two bases. For example, for a gas boiler, a cover may split on the only breakdown servicing and a plan with initial inspection or annual service as well.
The tendency here is the wider the range of breakdown services a company provides within the cover, the higher its annual fees.
Typical boiler breakdown cover pitfalls
Choosing a cover for your heating device, be aware of its pitfalls. These pitfalls concern specific conditions and exclusions on which a company provides its services. Here are the most common of them:
Claim excess is a call-out fee a company charges every time you claim their assistance under the contract. First, a contractor may charge for a claim excess to prevent false call-outs. Second, this call-out fee compensates its labor and travelling expenses for an engineer getting to the site. In general, the exact excess amount varies from £50 to £99 depending on the company.
Though charging an excess is a widespread practice, you may find a company that doesn’t apply it. We can’t say whether no-excess practice affects the quality of their gas boiler care and breakdown services such company provides. Nor can we guarantee it will really benefit you.
First, if the company is a new entrant, it may run a no-excess policy to win its target audience. Second, the company may issue any other coverage conditions such as, for example, claim limits. Third, the company may charge greater annual coverage costs.
This is a period when you are not eligible to apply for any repairs. Usually it lasts from 14 to 30 days from the start of the contract. To clarify the nature of no-claims period, it is enough to mention two main things:
Unless a company charges excess, it usually limits the number of claims. Claim limits may grant up to 5 call-outs a year including annual boiler service request. However, you can find companies that enlarge your limits up to 10 call-outs and more.
Repair limits and boiler replacement
Reserving boiler service via a breakdown cover, consider its repair excess and conditions. With repair excess you have to pay parts and labour costs in case its amount exceeds set repair limit per claim. For example, some companies additionally charge for their labour if parts cost more than 75% of the replacement expenses.
As for replacement conditions, most contractors promise free-of-charge replacement for an appliance under 5-7 years. However, they contribute only £200-350 in case of replacing an older device. Imagine you need to replace your 7-year old gas combi appliance with a new one. Still, even with the cover, you will have to pay from your pocket up to 80% of its price and all works related to gas combi boiler installation.
Pros and cons of a boiler breakdown cover
As it says, there are two sides to every question. Therefore, we recommend you to compare your typical boiler service options and a breakdown cover with your needs to find the best solution.
Benefits you can get (pros)
First, it is good to have someone you can rely on. With a cover, you don’t need to cudgel your brains over deciding who to call for boiler repairs or servicing.
Second, you can be sure your call-out will be of the highest priority in case of emergency. As a company has got certain obligations, it is interested to fix the problem as soon as possible.
Third, if you will face major boiler breakdowns, your repair bills won’t be as hefty as they could be. Partly it is because the company, according to your agreement, won’t charge you for labours in full. Partly it is because your expenses are dispersed via monthly cover fees.
Opportunities you can miss (cons)
First, if the company you choose in fact is not as professional as it presented itself, you will be still bound to it by your agreement. Thus, you may miss an opportunity to entrust your heating appliance to more reliable contractor for better breakdown service.
Second, if your appliance will run all the year flawlessly, you will simply waste money. Maybe £160-250 is not a great fortune, but still, money doesn’t grow on trees.
Third, with so many conditions and exclusions, you may end up paying more money for minor fixes. It is especially true if your heating appliance is older than 7 years.
To conclude, it’s up to you decide. You may sign a breakdown cover agreement for your boiler care or apply for its repair and servicing on the terms of one off call-outs. Try to analyze your device condition and weigh the pros and cons basing on the results.
Luxury Kitchen Care Guide
We are happy to share our guide that took us many years of experience and a few months of writing and designing to create it. In the document below you will find tips and aspects, which you should take into consideration when you look after your kitchen equipment. Especially, it will be very helpful for those who owns La Cornue, La Canche or Sub Zero brands.
Central air conditioner installation: what to consider
Installation of central air conditioner involves many preparation steps that enable you to get optimal performance of the system. In this post we will outline the basic concerns for central air conditioner and its installation, so ask a contractor near you for solution appropriate in your case.
1. Choose the right-sized ac unit
In other words, it stands for ac unit capacity. You can measure air conditioner capacity in one of two metrics:
However, in the UK we usually express capacity in Btu metric. So, let’s discuss this metric in more details. Btu is about energy (heat) you need to use to raise the water temperature at certain extent in an hour. One Btu means you take 1 pound of water and heat it by 1° Fahrenheit. That is to say, one Btu is equal to approximately 1.055 kilo joules.
Problems with undersized unit
If your install air conditioner of less capacity you really need, you will suffer from tree main problems:
At last, you have to pay for wasted electricity. Let’s explain it with an example of far distance at the first sight. Imagine you want to boil water somewhere outside in cold winter with just one candle in your possession.
However, the candle can give less heat to the water that cold air takes away. As a result, you will spend (and waste) your candle but you will not boil your water. So it is with an undersized unit though situation is vice versa. Heat accumulates in your house more quickly and intensively than air conditioner is able to remove.
Problems with oversized unit
In contrast, if you complete ac installation of too much capacity, your oversized unit will cool your rooms too fast to remove extra moisture. That is to say, your may have to face extra humidity in your house. In turn, it may affect your health and spoil your clothes, linen and furniture.
So, you will end again with more money to spend. Besides, a unit of higher capacity costs more. It means, you overpay for your cooling system at installation stage.
How to calculate the heat gain
Of course, you need to consider a lot of factors to calculate the heat gain. Nevertheless, the basic factors are the following:
However, premise insulation and location needs an expert to estimate their impact on the total heat gain. So, ask a reliable contractor about this when you design your central ac system.
2. Choose air conditioner with an optimal efficiency-price rate
AC efficiency is the ratio between its heat removal capacity and its electricity consumption. In other words, it shows the number of Btu per a watt. In the UK AC rating rated efficiency usually is expressed in letters. Efficiency of modern units typically varies from A to A+++. Installation of central air conditioner that has got higher ratio helps you to save money on your electricity bills.
Although units of higher efficiency are cheaper in use, they are more expensive to buy. Therefore, you need to consult with your budget whether you can afford it or not. We often recommend our clients to choose the appliance in the medium efficiency segment. This is because its efficiency-price ratio is optimal.
3. Think about installation of a multi-zone central air conditioning system
There are two main types of central air conditioning system:
Thermostats control temperature in each zone. In addition, mechanical dampers direct the air toward certain zone based on its cooling needs.
To summarise, it is worth noting you can save up to 30% on your electricity consumption if you install multi-zone central air conditioning system with right-sized unit of A++ efficiency. Isn’t it great to pay less for more comport in long run?
LE Company team