How Often Should a Boiler be Serviced?

July 18, 2022
A close-up shot of a monthly calendar.

Boiler servicing is to some extent dependent upon use but as a general rule of thumb servicing your boiler every year is a solid place to start.

Your boiler is the engine behind the majority of what goes on in your home. Every time you go to step into a nice hot shower or fill the washing up bowl with hot soapy water, your boiler is the silent hero making sure you’ve got what you need. Water and warmth are two of the essentials to continued human health and existence. But do you really provide the same level of care to your boiler as it does to you?

In the article below we look at what a boiler service is, why a boiler should be serviced every year and how much a boiler service should cost.

How Often Should a Gas Boiler be Serviced?

Our boilers get a lot of use here in the UK. Every time you open a hot tap or turn up the room thermostat by 1 degree your boiler is working. Your boiler is something you rely on. So, why not service it regularly? Similar to a car, a boiler has many moving parts which are in use every time your heating or hot water is.

Take, as an example, the average 3-bed semi-detached home in the UK with 2-4 occupants and a Combi boiler. To support a household of this size, a Combi boiler will turn on and off around 60 times a day.

If you drove your car on 60 separate occasions every day you would know about it. Not least due to the fact that you would be exhausted, but you would see the petrol gauge go down, your tyres starting to wear, and your fingerprints ingrained into the steering wheel.

Admit it, you would take your car to the mechanics far more often if you drove it 60 times a day!

With a boiler we don’t see much of the usage, unless you have a smart meter. All the boiler components are neatly tucked away behind that white case inside a cupboard somewhere.

Just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not happening. This means your gas boiler service is probably long overdue.

Boiler Servicing: What You Need to Know

Inside the typical Combi boiler there is a fan, a pump, a PCB (brain to you and me), a gas valve, a diverter valve, a heat exchanger, a plate heat exchanger and lots of wires and pipes. All these parts are put under constant strain due to the high levels of use and all of which can be inspected and/or serviced to differing levels.

There are typically two levels of boiler service on offer, a standard or interim service and a full strip down boiler service.

Standard Boiler Service

A standard boiler service is something we would recommend to anyone who doesn’t know when their boiler was last serviced. A standard boiler service provides a great opportunity to gauge the overall health of your boiler.

Boiler Response: once we have inspected the gas meter and associated controls we will check the boiler’s ability to respond to commands. For example, does a Combi boiler provide hot water when we open a hot tap and does it fire up when we ask for heating?

Visual Inspection: a visual inspection of the boiler and the flue (exhaust pipe), both inside and out, comes next. This is critical ensure there are no obvious signs of leaks or corrosion that could be damaging the health of the boiler or endangering the health of the homeowner!

Safety: we will check that the boiler’s safety devices work as well as the level of heating system pressure.

Gas Pressure: a working gas pressure is taken. This is to check that the boiler is receiving enough gas to work as the manufacturers intended. A boiler without enough gas may still work but could break sooner due to the extra stress of not having enough gas.

Gas Burning: we then take out our flue gas analyser just to check that the boiler is burning gas correctly.

Service Report: assuming the readings on the machine are where they should be, we would look to generate the service report and tidy our things away leaving you to enjoy your day.

To find out more about what a City Warmth Boiler service includes, and the different options available, take a look at our article, What is Involved in a Boiler Service?

Why Do Boilers Need Servicing Every Year?

So, why should a boiler be serviced every year?

Safety Devices

Did you know that your boiler has safety devices? Such as;

  1. Devices that can cut the gas off if the boiler realises the gas won’t light?
  2. Devices that turn the boiler off if it thinks it’s getting too hot?
  3. Devices that regulate how much gas is being used when a boiler is running?

Having these safety devices checked during your yearly boiler service could well be the difference between living in a home that is safe and living in a home that is not!

When to Get a Boiler Serviced

In reality you can have your boiler serviced at any time, but wouldn’t it be nice to know that your boiler will work when you need it the most? Getting your boiler serviced during spring/summer/autumn, before mid-September, will put you in good stead for the winter season. You will find that most heating firms are more readily available during the off-season, between April-September. So, scheduling a boiler service will be easier to do.

Signs My Boiler Needs a Service

There are many telling signs your boiler needs a service. Knowing what to look out for could save you money on expensive maintenance or even a boiler replacement further down the line.

  • Your Boiler is Making Strange Noises
  • Have you recently noticed that your boiler is making noises that are different to normal?  This could indicate that a repair is needed but it could be that a standard boiler service can identify and rectify the noise, depending upon what is causing it.
  • Your Boiler is Leaking
  • Is your boiler leaking? Although some boiler leaks would start dripping onto the kitchen worktop or floor, which would be a sign for you to have your boiler checked, some do not.
  • Some boiler leaks slowly eat away at the metal behind the case, and you don’t even know that it’s happening. Depending on the age and make of the boiler, that leak could cause either a rather large flood or highly dangerous fumes escaping into your home. Having your boiler serviced annually would highlight these issues way before they reach that point.
  • Your Boiler is Old
  • Is your boiler old? The older it is, the more helpful an annual service will be for prolonging its life.
  • Your Energy Bills Have Increased
  • I would ask whether your energy bills have recently increased, but I know the answer to that one! At the time of writing, gas prices have recently gone up by between 50% and 100% and are still on the rise.
  • Instead of asking whether your energy bills have increased, I will ask whether you’ve been using more gas recently than you would normally expect to use? Even if your boiler is an A-rated energy efficient model it can still use more gas than it should if it hasn’t been serviced within the last year.
  • Remember the boiler we spoke about above that was trying to work on not enough gas? It’s the same problem if the heat exchanger is clogged up with carbon. Carbon is soot to you and me. If the heat exchanger is full of soot, the boiler will have to work harder to push the fumes through. This can lead to higher gas consumption and more wear and tear on the boiler system.
  • A properly serviced boiler will definitely use less gas, saving you money on your energy bills!
  • Find out whether your boiler is A-rated or not. In this article, we share how quickly you could recoup the cost of a new boiler through gas savings.

Boiler Servicing Highlights Future Problems

It’s always better to know about problems in advance, isn’t it?

As part of your boiler service we will point out any obvious problems that may lead to a breakdown in the near future. Although we don’t have a crystal ball, we do see boilers often enough to know if certain parts are nearing the end of their life.

Any parts requiring replacement will be quoted for, a pre-emptive repair is always cheaper than an emergency repair. It’s a lot less hassle emotionally, too!

Your Boiler Needs Servicing - What next?

If you don’t know when your boiler was last serviced, or if your service is overdue, give us a call. We’d be delighted to give your boiler a proper service. Nothing makes us happier than saving you money on your energy bills whilst knowing your property is safe and warm!

Whether it’s the team in the office or our engineers on the road, with City Warmth you can expect the same friendly, knowledgeable level of service from every member of our team.

How Much Does a Boiler Service Cost?

“So, how much will a boiler service cost me?”  I hear you ask.

A standard boiler service carried out by our team at City Warmth is £99 plus VAT. Our engineer will be with you for between 30 and 60 minutes, depending upon the make and model of the boiler.

Some larger homes and/or small commercial properties may require a boiler service as often as every 6 months, depending upon the level of usage the boiler is getting.

A full strip down service is £198 + VAT + any materials required. There is a lot more work required in a full strip down service. Whilst our standard boiler service has 20 points to check, a full strip down service has closer to 40 - along with gaskets and washers to potentially replace. That’s why it costs a little bit more.

For budgeting purposes, depending upon the age and usage, your boiler may require a full strip down service every 3 to 5 years, so long as you have a standard boiler service carried out every year.

Final Words

So, there you have it! Your boiler should be serviced every year, ideally between April and September, and by our Gas Safe registered engineers who know what they are doing.

Remember, the boiler is the backbone of your homely comforts!  Servicing it won’t seem so expensive when you consider the fact it’s working for you EVERY day of the year.

The city warmth outlined icon in orange.