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So, you CAN have your boiler serviced but does that mean that you SHOULD?

Is it safe to conduct non-urgent plumbing and heating work?

At the beginning of lockdown in March we suspended boiler servicing. At the time it was the right thing to do to allow us to focus on urgent plumbing and heating repairs as well as create new protocols for safe working practices and transitioning office staff to home working. In early April, we reviewed this and made the decision to reinstate boiler servicing. This was based on the following:

  • We had established that we could successfully comply with social distancing guidelines
  • Boiler servicing may not be urgent but it is still essential. Not servicing could potentially put some people at risk
  • For those in rented accommodation, landlords were still required to issue Landlord’s Gas Safety Certificates (where possible)
  • Demand from customers was there for servicing
  • All boilers would still need servicing at some point and we had concerns that a backlog could ultimately create more demand than the industry could reasonably manage

Since this time we have been successfully carrying out boiler and gas appliance servicing in people’s homes, operating the same social distancing measures as for emergency repairs.

So, the question is, now that you can have your boiler serviced, should you?

If your boiler service is due in the next few weeks, or you have missed it because of lockdown, it is your decision whether you choose to go ahead with it and if you don’t feel comfortable with the idea you have the right to postpone it a while longer. There is, however, a strong case for going ahead when you consider the following:

Reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning

The greatest risk associated with any gas appliance is a carbon monoxide (CO) leak. This is potentially fatal and the symptoms can even be confused with those of covid-19 so misdiagnosis is possible (see here for more details). Having your boiler and other gas appliances serviced annually is the best protection against CO poisoning. If you don’t want to have your boiler serviced, at least make sure you have a working CO monitor to alert you to any risk. (Though bear in mind, a monitor will only alert you once a leak has started. A service could identify an issue before it becomes a leak).

Keep your boiler working effectively

One of the main purposes of a boiler service is to check it properly and make adjustments needed to keep it working well. Just as servicing is vital for keeping your car running properly, so it is for boilers. Annual servicing will also keep it working efficiently (which costs you less in gas consumption) and extend its lifespan.

Reduce the risk of breakdown

Servicing is really good for identifying potential issues before they become bigger problems. Remedial action taken can reduce the risk of a breakdown a bit further down the line. A breakdown would require you to get an engineer in anyway and it could cost you a lot more than a service.

Maintain manufacturer’s warranty

A manufacturer’s warranty comes with conditions which always include annual boiler servicing. In normal times this means if you have a problem that would normally fall under warranty, but have not kept up with servicing, the warranty would be invalid. Now, the majority of manufacturers are being flexible in these unprecedented times (though it’s worth checking with yours) so this may not be an issue now. However, if the lockdown continues for a long time, this may not always be the case.

Get ahead of the demand

As we said at the start, all the boiler services that should have been done but haven’t because of lockdown, will need to be done at some point. We anticipate that once restrictions are lifted, there will be a significant backlog that will all need to be serviced at once. If you go ahead with your boiler service now, you can avoid this deluge.

We don’t advise that you have yours done early, if it’s not due yet, so that we can deal with them in a timely way. However, it may be a wise move to get yours booked in now for when it is due later in the year to make sure you secure your appointment.

We don't know long lockdown will last

There is a big element of uncertainty around lockdown and nobody truly knows how long it will last. Going a few weeks over your service date may not be too much of an issue but it could conceivably become months, which isn't ideal.

Some reassurances

Even taking all of the above into consideration, we fully appreciate that you may still be worried about inviting engineers into your home at this time, and that is understandable. We want to reassure you that we are operating in total accordance with government guidelines: we are designated essential workers so permitted by the government to enter your home to conduct repairs; our engineers are equipped with full PPE and working to social distancing guidelines; and we would never send an engineer into your home who was experiencing symptoms of covid-19. Likewise, we ask that you do not allow engineers to enter if anyone in your household is isolating for this reason. For further details about how we’re managing the covid-19 situation you can read our FAQs.

Your decision

At the end of the day, of course, the decision is yours. We do recommend that you go ahead with boiler servicing, and have made the process as safe as it can be, but ultimately it’s down to how comfortable you feel about the idea.

If you would like to book at boiler service you can call us on 0800 032 6478 or you can complete the form here. If we usually service your boiler on behalf of your insurance provider then we will contact you when your service is due.

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