Although not a legal requirement for a private householder, all experts recommend gas boiler servicing to keep it in tip-top condition. But, how much is a boiler service and why should you have one?
A one-off boiler inspection in the UK costs on average between £60 and £100. But, won’t include costs of any spare parts if they’re needed. Alternatively, you can take out an annual servicing contract for £150 to £300 This covers boiler checks, as well as breakdowns and most spares if you have problems with your boiler. However, there is enough leeway in the price ranges for you to find reasonable quotes from local heating engineers and compare prices before choosing the company you want.
Paying out on annual boiler service costs might sound like an unnecessary extravagance. But, they’re essential for many reasons.
- Mechanical and electrical components within the boiler wear out and corrode. This can lead to breakdowns or water leaks which are inconvenient and can be messy.
- Burning any type of fuel creates toxic waste gases. If your boiler isn’t working as it should, or you have a faulty flue, it can leak carbon monoxide into the house and cause illness or death.
- An inefficient boiler doesn’t produce the heat as it should. This wastes fuel and costs you money.
So, a service should take place every year. And, must cover standard boiler maintenance checks to ensure everything works as it should.
Therefore, the purpose of the checks is to:
- Reduce the risk of carbon monoxide leaks.
- Prevent breakdowns.
- Comply with the manufacturer’s warranty.
- Help to keep running costs at a reasonable level.
- Keep the boiler operating for its expected lifespan.
- Inspect for signs of corrosion or leaks.
- Confirm the boiler runs as it should.
Before we go any further, you must understand that not all boilers are the same. They use different fuel and have different purposes.
Although the majority of boilers in the UK use mains North Sea gas as a fuel, some use bottled gas or heating oil, and some use solid fuel. Especially, if they are in rural areas. All boilers need the same safety checks, but an oil boiler’s inspection might cost more, from £60 to £180 because of the increased cost of parts. In this article, we’ll mainly talk about gas boilers.
Combi & Conventional boilers
Two of the most common gas boiler types used in the UK are ‘combi’ and ‘conventional’ boilers.
- Combi boilers are high–efficiency compact water heaters combining central heating and domestic hot water. They heat cold water directly from the mains when you turn on a hot tap. Therefore, they don’t store hot water in a cylinder in the airing cupboard or need a header tank in the loft. Instead, they produce hot water on demand. Also, the boiler produces hot water at mains pressure, meaning you will have a powerful shower without an additional pump. They are great as a new boiler for small properties. However, if you have a large property with many hot water outlets, you might find that a typical combi doesn’t produce enough hot water. So what do you do?
- A conventional boiler is great if you already have an older boiler supplying heat for domestic hot water and central heating. They need a cold water storage tank situated in the loft and a ‘header tank’ to maintain the water level in the central heating system. Use one of these if you have an old central heating system as the radiators might not cope with the high water pressure of a combi. These are great for homes with a large number of hot water outlets or 2 or 3 bedrooms with en-suites. Some geographical areas might have naturally occurring low water pressure, and conventional boilers work well here too. They also work well as a compatible back-up boiler for solar water heating systems.
What’s in this article?
Okay, you now know the basics. Hopefully, in this article, you’ll learn a bit more about:
- Gas boiler costs.
- How a heating engineer carries out a service.
- Tips for hiring a heating specialist and why you should always use a Gas Safe registered engineer.
- How do one-off and annual boiler services compare?
- Are there any UK government schemes that can help financially with servicing and repairing your boiler?
- How to identify boiler problems that will need a Gas Safe heating engineer.
- Why a boiler service is so important.
How Much Does a Gas Boiler Service Cost?
A gas boiler safety inspection and repair service is probably the most important piece of home maintenance you can do. Without it, your boiler will no longer produce lashings of hot water, for baths and showers. And, won’t heat the radiators to drive off the cold winter evenings. Instead, at best you’ll have warm water to wash in, and at worst you won’t have any hot water at all.
Different types of plan
A typical one-off boiler service charge varies depending on which Gas Safe contractor you use. Some large national boiler companies and gas providers supply Gas Safe engineers to service your boilers. The table below shows typical minimum service charges, assuming that the boiler doesn’t need any spare parts, and is in pretty good shape. Remember that all amounts are exclusive of VAT and can vary depending on the area in which you live. London and Southeast England will cost more than anywhere else in the country.
|National provider||Minimum service costs|
If you want to find a cheaper service cost, look around for a local independent Gas Safe heating engineer. Usually, these can reduce their prices to be competitive with large companies. Alternatively, you might find a large company able to give special introductory deals for new customers. Often, however, after the initial period has expired, the price goes back to the more expensive, usual price.
Later on, we’ll show you how much some of the commonest spare parts cost. Then, you can see how the price of a realistic service might compare.
Alternatively, you can do away with all the extra charges by choosing an annual service plan. All you pay is a simple monthly or annual charge, whichever you prefer. In exchange, you will receive an annual service, plus unlimited emergency call-outs, and spare parts when you need boiler repairs. A typical annual cover plan starts from £23 per month or around £250 per year. This might sound an expensive alternative. But, if you include the typical spare part prices, the cost of a gas boiler service works out to be very competitive.
Boiler maintenance & repair prices
The following table includes some common repair jobs that a typical service might bring to light, together with their corresponding UK prices. Remember, we compiled these guideline prices from various sources. As such, the true amounts will depend on the make, model and age of the boiler. And, which engineer does the work and when they do it.
|Spare part||Average cost|
|Automatic air vent||£100|
|Pressure relief valve||£110|
Also, you should realise that the boiler might need replacing if it’s too far gone. In which case, you might have to pay for a new boiler, unless you’ve had it regularly serviced, and it’s still within the manufacturer’s warranty (unlikely!). If you haven’t had a Gas Safe engineer give it a regular service, you might have a hard time convincing the manufacturer that you should have one free of charge. So, you can see that paying out the relatively small cost of a gas boiler service, might prevent you from being out of pocket by many thousands of pounds.
New Thermostat Installed
The components that make up a boiler are essential if you want it to work properly. One of the components, a thermostat, is a switch that turns the boiler on and off, depending on the room temperature. It uses a heat–sensitive sensor to monitor the temperature in your home. And, it keeps an eye on what the boiler should do to maintain the set temperature. So, if the thermostat senses a lower room temperature than the set temperature, it turns the boiler on, to increase the heat. Then, when the room reaches the required temperature, the thermostat turns the boiler off. And, when the room temperature drops, it will turn the boiler on again. You can also buy models that include a timer and are programmable to set various times, and temperatures for different days.
You can buy digital thermostats from £20 up to about £180, and smart thermostats from £40 to £250. On top of this, the fitting costs will be between £40 and £120 depending on the complexity of the job.
Diagnosing Boiler Problems
It’s fairly easy for the homeowner to decide whether to call in a heating engineer to fix their boiler. You can look out for simple problems to indicate your boiler isn’t working properly:
Yellow pilot light
Look at the pilot light and determine the colour of the flame. A blue flame indicates everything works correctly. But, if it‘s yellow or orange, it’s probably starved of oxygen. Incomplete combustion (yellow flame) indicates that the flame isn’t getting enough oxygen and it‘s producing more carbon monoxide than it should. This is odourless and very dangerous so turn the gas off and call an engineer.
If your radiators take longer to warm up than usual, it might mean that the boiler has an internal malfunction that needs looking at. In the worst case, it might mean that the boiler is old and has had it. And, you need to buy a new one. However, get professional advice first to make sure.
If your boiler gives off a bad smell, you might have a gas leak. And that is dangerous too. Escaped gas will poison anyone in the house. And, if there is a spark, you might have a gas explosion as well. Turn off the gas immediately, open doors and windows and evacuate the house. Then call the Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999.
Can you hear loud banging or clanking noise? It sounds like something has worked loose in the pump. So, turn the boiler off before something else breaks.
The boiler should be at a steady pressure. So, if the pressure gauge shows it going up and down, there’s something wrong.
Increased gas bills
Do you think the boiler is using too much fuel? If you‘ve noticed the fuel bills rising steadily every month, it means your boiler’s efficiency is decreasing. In the worst possible case, it might need to be replaced. You should check its efficiency rating. It’ll be on a label on the boiler housing. The most efficient boilers are ‘A’ rated and run at 90% or above. While the worst boilers are ‘G’ rated and run at about 75%. If yours is a low rated boiler, its time to buy a new one.
Do you see a water drip, a film of water along a gas pipe or a wet patch underneath the boiler? If so, you’ve got a leak and it needs to be fixed straight away
Finally, if you bought your gas boiler more than 15 years ago. Or, the heating engineer finds it increasingly more difficult to find spares. It’s time to splash out and buy a modern boiler. Don’t worry too much, as you’ll probably find a significant reduction in your gas bills.
Use a Gas Safe engineer
Although you can safely watch out for symptoms of a sick gas boiler, you must never try to repair it yourself. It’s illegal and only someone registered with Gas Safe can work on a gas fitting or appliance.
What Happens During a Boiler Service?
Okay, it’s about time we told you what a boiler service includes? Although you can’t do this yourself, a Gas Safe heating engineer must go through a set procedure to check everything and repair faults where necessary.
If there’s nothing wrong with your boiler, a service should take about 30 minutes from start to finish. But, remember that things might need to be cleaned, replaced or repaired and this will increase the time taken.
The following list gives you an idea of what must be done.
- First, visually check for any corrosion or leaks.
- Then, remove the casing and check all parts work correctly. This includes electronic controls as well as mechanical components. Repair or replace components if necessary.
- Next, clean the inside of the boiler.
- After that, comes the flue tests. Check the flue for obstructions and whether it’s securely fixed to the boiler. This is very important to ensure no toxic flue gases end up indoors.
- Then, turn on the boiler and check the operating pressure.
- Finally, the engineer will give you a list of checked components, whether he found any faults, and how they were fixed.
If you aren’t sure of anything. Don‘t be afraid to ask the engineer for clarification.
If you’ve read this far, you’ve almost certainly noticed the prices of boilers, spare parts and installations costs. Probably, you think the prices are too high and you couldn’t afford one. If this sounds familiar, don’t worry, you might be eligible for some financial help.
The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) puts an obligation on all energy suppliers in the UK to fund energy efficiency in British households. In practice, this means they will fund loft and wall insulation, and help with the cost of upgrading your boiler to a more efficient one.
But, do you qualify?
Boiler Maintenance Legal Requirements
By now, you’ve noticed that gas boilers overflow with legal requirements. That’s because mains gas and its waste fumes are so dangerous. However, just to be safe, here are some more legal requirements governing their use.
Landlords who rent out their property must have an annual service of the appliance and its flue. Furthermore, a Gas Safe heating engineer must carry out the work. This legislation is set out in the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, which is pretty hard to understand by the layman. So, to make it easier to understand, it’s summarised on the Gas Safe Register website.
The annual boiler service must cover a set procedure of work and any faults found must be repaired or the component replaced. If the engineer cannot do any of these, the boiler must be declared unsafe. Then, it’s up to the landlord to provide an alternative form of heating or provide a safe gas boiler.
Gas safety certificate
All this must be documented and kept as a record. The best way to do this is to ask the Gas Safe heating engineer to provide suitable documentation. This is called an LGSR certificate (Landlord Gas safety Record), or sometimes known as CP12 certificate (CORGI Proforma 12).
Although there isn’t an official standardised form issued by the Government or Gas Safe, each Gas Safe engineer can make their own. The report that the heating engineer gives to you is perfectly legal. as long as it contains the following information:
- Which appliances and pipework were involved in the tests and their location within the property.
- The results of the safety checks, done on the appliances and pipework.
- List the safety issues identified from the tests. If any.
- List the remedial work needed to make the fault safe.
- Contact details of the landlord or letting agency and the property’s address.
- Contact details of the Gas Safe engineer involved with the inspection; the engineer’s Gas Safe registration number; their signature; and the inspection date.
If you are a private homeowner, who doesn’t rent to tenants, you aren’t legally required to have a gas certificate. But, it’s a useful document to have for your records, if you decide to sell, or if you have to claim from your insurance company for anything related to the heating system. Anyway, it’s always useful to know that your boiler works properly, doesn’t give off toxic fumes, and you aren’t paying out unnecessarily for fuel.
Boiler Service FAQ
When Should You Replace a Boiler?
If you bought it more than 10 years ago, or can no longer buy spares, then get a new one. Even if your old boiler operates as it should, it will be less efficient than a new one.
Do they check radiators on a boiler service?
Only the gas boiler and flue are inspected on a gas safety check. Radiators and the remainder of the central heating system are not inspected. However, even though it’s not mandatory, it is worthwhile having these regularly inspected for your peace of mind. Radiators and the central heating pipes, accumulate sludge and will corrode. These need to be checked and fixed if necessary. Otherwise, your heating system won’t operate efficiently.
Do plumbers service boilers?
Strictly speaking, a plumber will work on the radiators and pipes of your heating system but not on the boiler. Similarly, a heating engineer will work on the boiler but not on the radiators and pipes. Having said that, many plumbers are also registered with Gas Safe. So, don’t be surprised if your Gas Safe engineer will work on all parts of the heating system.
How long does it take to service a boiler?
Usually, if all goes well, servicing a boiler will take about 30 minutes. If the boiler needs repairs or spare parts then the inspection will probably take longer, depending on the amount of extra work.
Can I service my own boiler?
By law, no-one can work on a gas boiler unless they are registered under Gas Safe, and appear on the register. You will find on the Gas Safe register website a form designed to assist anyone reporting a person who illegally works on a gas appliance.
Boilers using other fuels have to be installed or repaired according to the Building Regulations by a competent person. Although the engineer must be competent, it’s not a legal requirement to be registered. However, the best way to find a competent person is to use a heating engineer registered with OFTEC for an oil fired boiler, and HETAS for a solid fuel boiler.
In practice, many heating engineers belong to all three schemes.
Get Boiler Service Quotes
Although having an annual boiler service isn’t compulsory unless you are a landlord with tenants, it’s a good thing to give it a regular safety inspection. However, you cannot do this unless you are on the Gas Safe register.
Complete the form on this page to receive 3 or 4 quotes from local Gas Safe heating engineers. Their boiler servicing costs will be competitive, and you can choose which contractor you prefer.