What is Involved in a Boiler Service?

May 20, 2022
The blog heading overlaying the interior of a boiler.

Did you know that your boiler should be serviced every year?

Similar to a car, a boiler has a number of moving parts and safety features which need regular inspection and maintenance to ensure they are working properly and efficiently. No one likes breaking down in their car and no-one likes waking up to no hot water or no heating in the winter.

At City Warmth we love boilers and want to see as many of them working as safely and as cost effectively as possible. That cannot happen without ensuring correct servicing is undertaken annually, and with gas prices continuing to rise it is more important than ever to ensure your boiler is working as efficiently as it can whilst still being safe to use.

Boiler Servicing by City Warmth: What’s Involved?

There are two different types of boiler service that our team undertake, an interim safety check and a full strip down service. Our boiler engineers are fully trained, qualified, and gas safe registered to ensure you receive the highest quality service possible.

An Interim Boiler Service

To keep it simple lets define the terminology, an interim boiler service could sometimes be called a landlord safety check, an interim service or a boiler service. Going back to the car analogy, think brakes, exhaust and oil change.  

When undertaking an Interim Boiler Service our Team is there to run health checks, rectify issues and provide a report.

What’s Involved in an Interim Boiler Service?

  • Functionality Check
  • Upon arrival we will check that the appliance is working and providing heating and hot water as it should be.
  • Visual Inspection
  • We will then visually inspect the boiler inside and out making note of any areas of concern such as leaks, rust or general corrosion.
  • Safety Checks
  • Next on our list is checking of the safety devices. Your boiler has them so it’s good to know that they will work if you ever need them.
  • Gas Pressure
  • We check the working gas pressure at your boiler. Your boiler needs a certain amount of gas to operate properly but certain things can stop that from happening, such as gas pipework replacements out in the road. Ensuring your boiler has good gas pressure is a priority and something our engineers will check every year.
  • Flue (Exhaust) Gases
  • The exhaust gases need to be checked every time a boiler is serviced or has major components replaced. By inserting our electronic flue gas analyser probe into the flue/exhaust gas test point we are able to check that your boiler is burning gas in a safe and correct way.
  • Water Quality
  • Under Building Regulations BS 7593:2019 the quality of your radiator water needs to be tested every year! A protective Inhibitor chemical should be added if the test shows it is not present to the correct level. Your heating system may even need a clean! Your boiler warranty may be voided by the manufacturer if your radiator water does not pass this test.
  • Gas Meter
  • Finally we will check the gas meter to ensure that it looks healthy and that the control tap works. If you ever smell gas you would need to turn the tap off. Checking that the gas meter works doesn’t take long but can make the difference if you ever need it later on down the line.

Once these checks have been completed a member of our office team will send you a copy of the report electronically, normally within a few days.

How Long Does an Interim Boiler Service Take?

Seeing as we specialise in all things boiler and heating related we have got boiler servicing down to something of an art and would typically be with you for no more than 45 minutes ensuring all elements of our checklist are completed properly.

A Full Strip Down Boiler Service

At City Warmth we advise a full strip down service if; we are servicing a boiler for the first time,  the boiler hasn’t had a service for around three years or more, or as standard every 3 years if we are maintaining the boiler annually ourselves.

What’s Involved in a Full Strip Down Boiler Service?

  • Functionality Check
  • As above, our Team Member will check the functionality of your boiler ensuring it works correctly.  
  • Visual Inspection
  • They will visually inspect the boiler inside and out, checking the safety devices, the working gas pressure, the flue/exhaust gases and the gas meter.
  • Boiler Manual
  • With this level of service you will see our engineers referring to the boiler manual, whether a paper copy or online, to ensure all points are noted and covered.
  • Gas Valve
  • The gas valve will be adjusted if it can be.
  • Burner Plate
  • The burner plate (the flame cover) will be removed from the front or top of the heat exchanger with any gaskets and the spark electrodes replaced along the way.
  • Heat Exchange
  • The heat exchanger (place where the flames live) will be cleaned out whether by flushing through with water, wiping with a damp cloth or hoovering out. Once all the soot and ash has been cleaned out of the heat exchanger the condensate trap will be emptied, cleaned out and re-filled, if the boiler is a newer condensing boiler.
  • Expansion Vessel
  • The expansion vessel will be drained and re-charged with the Schrader valve replaced, if the boiler is a combi boiler or a system boiler, and once that is done the system pressure will be topped back up.
  • Range Rating
  • Finally we will check that the boiler has been range rated to the size of the property, if they can be, saving you some more money on your gas bill. Every little helps.

At the end of the boiler service you will be left with a fully functional and leak free boiler that is working more efficiently than before.

How Long Does a Full Strip Down Boiler Service Take?

This level of service is far more involved and you should expect the engineer to be at your property for over an hour, maybe even close to 2 hours.

Flue Gas Analysis and Gas Valve
Burner Inspection
Electrode Inspection
Cleaning a Heat Exchanger
Condensate Trap
Expansion Vessel Maintenance

Can I Service My Own Boiler?

You cannot service your boiler yourself just like you probably can’t change the exhaust or cambelt on your car. However, there are a number of basic checks you can do on a boiler yourself but for the rest it’s important to find a local engineer who is both licensed with gas safe and experienced in boiler servicing.  

Below is a list of boiler checks you can make yourself.

  1. Check Your Boiler Pressure
  2. If you have a combi boiler or a system boiler you can check the pressure gauge (inset picture of boiler pressure gauge here maybe).
  3. The needle wants to be around the number 1 (1 bar). Anything below that may indicate a leak, whilst anything above may indicate any number of problems with your boiler that need to be fixed.
  4. If the needle is low and you have quickly checked your radiators for any obvious signs of leaking, ensuring that there are none, you can top up the boiler pressure using the filling loop.
  5. Check for Boiler Leaks, Rust or Signs of Overheating
  6. Without removing the front of your boiler you may be able to check for signs of problems such as leaks or a boiler that is overheating. A quick check of the pipework and metal areas underneath, to the sides and on top of the boiler will give you some indication of any problems that may be lurking inside.
  7. If you think you see areas that are wet or starting to rust/corrode give our team a call. We can send a gas engineer to repair the problem.
  8. Check Your Radiators
  9. Radiators can and should be checked for operation and overall heat by you, the home owner. Do the control knobs work, allowing you to control the level of the heat whilst also being able to turn them on and off?
  10. You can also bleed your own radiators if you feel confident in doing it. If not, watch this YouTube instructional video which is a great starting point.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I service my boiler myself?
  • As stated above and despite what you may have read elsewhere on the internet you cannot service your boiler yourself. You can only service a boiler if you have been trained to do so and have the correct equipment to ensure it is done safely and correctly.
  • Boiler fumes can kill! It can be costly and potentially fatal taking the case off a boiler and/or trying to service or replace parts if you do not know what you are doing.
  • Leave this one to the experts. It is worth the money.
  • Are radiators checked as part of a boiler service?
  • Radiators are not typically checked for operation as part of a standard boiler service, however we’d be delighted to offer this as part of a pre-winter check of your heating system if requested at time of booking.
  • Are radiators bled as part of a boiler service?
  • Radiators are not bled as part of a boiler service. If you’d like that done we’d recommend booking us for a pre-winter boiler and heating check to ensure you’re not left cold when you need Warmth the most.
  • Do I need to turn my boiler off before it is serviced?
  • Most of the time, no. Modern boilers are very good at dissipating heat and most of the elements being checked by our engineers won’t be hot.
  • If you are having a full strip down service it would be good to try and switch the heating off for an hour or so before the engineer arrives as the main heat exchanger and burner can be very hot to handle.
  • How much should a boiler service cost?
  • Prices for boiler servicing vary greatly.
  • You may see summer or pre-winter boiler service special offers advertised on social media priced around £50 + VAT. Although the price may be enticing, the quality of the work won’t be. Your boiler won’t be serviced for that price, although it may be subject to a visual safety check of some sort.
  • Material prices cost around £30-£50 when a boiler is to undergo a full strip down service and the engineer should be in your property for between 1 and 2 hours. At City Warmth, a full strip down boiler service would cost you between £250 and £300. We do it correctly and completely!
  • If you can’t afford a full service but want to ensure your boiler will give you heat when you need it, get in touch and book in a pre-winter heating check for this coming Autumn!

Final Words

So there you have it, that’s what you should expect from a boiler service. A boiler’s life won’t be prolonged just by paying someone to look at it for 10 minutes, it needs to genuinely be worked on.

If you would like to know more about boiler servicing by City Warmth, give us a call. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have and would be delighted to look after your boiler from here.

The city warmth outlined icon in orange.