The Importance of Boiler Maintenance: Why Regular Servicing is Key

Boilers should last many years, but regular servicing will invariably extend their life and maintain their functionality. The cost of a boiler service may be something you want to avoid, but compare it to the cost of a major fault, or even having to replace your boiler. There are a few things worth knowing about boiler maintenance and servicing, such as what to expect, how often to schedule services, and how long it takes. ‍ This is the ultimate guide to boiler maintenance, when to do it, and what you need to know about it. 

Do I need to service my boiler?

Boilers are one of the most important features of any home. Here in the UK, we rely on our boilers to keep the hot water flowing and the heating on throughout winter.

While modern boilers are exceptionally hardwearing, they’re still prone to issues that can develop at practically any time. However, most issues are easy to fix if you catch them early.

One of the most common questions asked about boilers is, do I need to service it? And how often?

The answer to “do I need to service my boiler” is yes, surprise surprise! But the second question “how often do I need to service my boiler?” is a little harder to unpack.

Do I need to service my boiler every year?

We’re sure that you’ve heard that boilers should be serviced every year, and this is true.

Practically every boiler manufacturer recommends yearly services. If you’ve purchased a new boiler, a yearly service will likely be required as part of your warranty. If you miss the service, your warranty may be voided.

Boiler controls

Above: Typical boiler controls

The data shows that around 5% of all boilers break down over a 10-year period. Regular services vastly reduce the chance of a major breakdown, which can cost thousands to repair.

If your boiler is old and already out of warranty, you might take your chances and service less frequently. It’s difficult to estimate how many people follow advice and service their boiler every year, but it’s certainly not everybody. Even so, the advice remains the same: service annually to prevent your boiler from failing.

Engineer fixing boiler

Above: Gas boiler service

It’s worth mentioning that no one is obliged to service their boiler by law, so the choice really is yours. Of course, servicing your boiler yearly while it’s in warranty is strongly recommended. From there, it’s still recommended for your service every year.

To summarise:

  • Most authorities recommend yearly services for most boilers.
  • Newer boilers may require yearly services to maintain the warranty. If you skip a service, the manufacturer may void your warranty.
  • Most boiler issues are prevented by regular servicing.
  • You’re not obliged to service your boiler by law.‍

Do I need a boiler service to sell my house?

There’s no legal obligation to service your boiler before selling a house. A recent boiler service may slightly boost buyer confidence in your house.

If you have a new boiler in warranty, then showing a buyer you’ve upheld that warranty is a good gesture. This will enable you to pass the warranty onto the new owner.

Some people choose to service their boilers prior to selling the house, but there’s no obligation to do so.

To summarise:

  • There’s no legal obligation to service a boiler prior to selling a house.
  • If you’ve kept your boiler in warranty, it’s a good gesture to pass that warranty onto the new owner.
  • A regularly serviced boiler will increase buyer confidence in your home.

Do I need my boiler serviced to keep the warranty?

Most modern boiler manufacturers, including Veissman, Worcester Bosch, Vallian, etc, require annual services to uphold the warranty for as long as the warranty lasts (usually a max of 10 years, but check for the manufacturer, make and model).

The service needs to be officially registered by a Gas Safe engineer. However, that engineer doesn’t have to be associated with the manufacturer (but do check anyway). Some manufacturers enable boiler owners to pre-pay for their annual services, or services might be offered as part of a boiler plan.

If you move into a new house or flat, check whether there’s a record of boiler services. This might help you claim on the warranty if your boiler breaks down.

Boiler parts on counter top

Above: Corroded boiler anode:

If you get a new boiler installed, the Gas Safe engineer will register it with the manufacturer, which will start the warranty. Ensure you have a record of this in case anything goes wrong.‍

What’s involved in a boiler service?

Boiler services generally take an hour or so, providing there are no repairs or issues that require further investigation.

A typical boiler service includes:

1: Visual inspection

The engineer will inspect the boiler, the boiler flame and the surrounding plumbing. They’ll assess the controls to ensure they’re working properly.

2: Flue

The engineer will inspect the flue to ensure it’s working correctly with no obstructions.

3: Cleaning

The boiler is disassembled, checked and cleaned. The main burner, heat exchanger, ignition pins and other parts are checked internally.

4: Diagnostics

The boiler is then checked with regard to:

  • Boiler operation
  • Electrical connections
  • Pilot light
  • Gas flow and pressure
  • Heating controls and thermostat
  • Condensate trap and pipe
  • Safety devices
  • Seals
Boiler Service

Above: Boiler diagnostics

If you have any concerns or observations about your boiler and heating (e.g. your radiators aren’t heating up properly), then a service is a good time to bring those up.

5: Record the service

Finally, the engineer must record what they’ve done and submit the service to the manufacturer if required.‍

How long does a boiler service take?

For new modern boilers that require a service simply to maintain the warranty, a boiler service might take just 30 minutes or so. For older boilers that require a more thorough check, a service might take an hour or two.

If repairs or maintenance are required, this might take another hour or so. Common repairs include replacing seals, replacing pilot lights and installing new electrical components if they’re showing signs of rust or decay.

Summary: Do I need to service my boiler?

Regular boiler servicing keeps boilers running smoothly, while also preventing serious faults from developing.

Maintaining an efficient boiler will also keep your heating bills down, which makes servicing a good economic choice in the long run.

Furthermore, many boiler manufacturers require homeowners to service their boiler annually in order to maintain their warranty. Missing your yearly service may void your warranty!

Overall, the general advice to service a boiler annually is sound advice. 

The cost of a service is small compared to the cost of running an inefficient boiler, let alone the cost of a boiler developing serious faults and remember you cannot service your own boiler.

So, how often should you get your boiler serviced?

How often to get a boiler serviced

Boilers are tough, hardy devices that we rely on to deliver every year. 

Boilers become especially important in the cold winter months, which is when they’re used the most. 

As everyone probably knows, energy prices are soaring, and the value of good-quality, efficient boilers are always increasing. Regular boiler services are yet another expense, but they prolong boiler life and cut heating bills by boosting efficiency. 

So, how often should you get a boiler serviced? 

How often should boilers be serviced?

Virtually all manufacturers, energy companies and other authorities recommend that boilers should be serviced annually. 

  • Eon recommends yearly services here.
  • EDF recommends yearly services
  • Viessmann recommends yearly services.
  • Vaillant recommends yearly services.

If you’re wondering whether this is just a ploy to make people service their boilers more than they need to, then you’re not alone. 

However, a quick browse through forums such as Quora and Reddit reveals that gas engineers genuinely recommend annual boiler services. Failure to properly maintain an annual service can result in catastrophic failure or, worst case, a gas explosion or carbon monoxide leak. 

How often should a gas boiler be serviced?

Gas boilers are the most common boilers in the UK by a massive margin. If you live on the gas grid, then you almost definitely have a gas boiler. There are three main types of gas boilers: 

  • Combi boilers
  • System boilers
  • Traditional/conventional boilers 

The advice remains the same regardless of which boiler you own: service your boiler every year. 

Servicing a boiler

Above: Service your boiler every year

If you have a traditional boiler (considerably more common in semi-detached or detached houses built before 1990 to 2000), your boiler might be getting on a bit now and won’t be in warranty.

If you have a newer combi or system boiler installed in the last 10 years, it’ll likely still be in warranty. 

An important consideration governing how seriously you should take your annual service is the warranty. 

The vast majority of modern gas boilers remain in warranty for 5 to 10 years on one condition: an annual service is performed by a Gas Safe engineer. 

Many manufacturers will book your services in advance. If anything happens to your boiler under warranty, it’ll be repaired or replaced. If you skip a service, you might void your warranty. 

How often should a combi boiler be serviced?

Combi boilers are a newer type of boiler that provides heating and hot water from the same compact unit. 

They’re most popular in smaller houses and flats with one bathroom. 

If you have a combi boiler, the advice is the same for any other boiler: service it annually to keep it working smoothly and safely. 

digital boiler control panel

Above: Combi boiler panel 

If you’re renting a house or flat, your landlord must check your boiler for gas safety every 12 months. If they fail to do this, you must immediately raise the issue with them and/or the agency. Again, this is a legal requirement. 

This doesn’t necessarily have to include a full service - the main aim is to assess gas safety. 

How often should an oil boiler be serviced? 

Those in more isolated and rural areas may use an oil boiler, which works similarly to a gas boiler but uses oil from a purpose-built tank. 

Oil boilers are regulated by OFTEC. OFTEC recommends that all oil and liquid-fuel-fired boilers are serviced annually. Failure to do so can cause poor performance and may increase the probability of dangerous faults occurring. 

So, if you have an oil boiler, the advice remains the same: service it annually. But, again, this might be required to keep some oil boilers in warranty. 

How often should a boiler be serviced by law?

For homeowners, there is no legal requirement to service a boiler. While advice strongly recommends you service your boiler annually, you’re not obliged to service it at all. 

Landlords must check their tenants’ boilers for gas safety every 12 months. This is a legal requirement and must be registered by a Gas Safe engineer. This doesn’t necessarily include a full service - the main aim is to check that the boiler is working safely.

Should I get my boiler serviced every year? 

In a word, yes. 

The cost of an annual boiler service might seem prohibitive, but the cost of repairing a faulty boiler is much higher. In the worst cases, a faulty boiler might leak carbon monoxide or cause a gas explosion. That is unlikely, but it’s not out of the question for boilers left in chronic disrepair year on year. 

For the most part, servicing a boiler keeps it working smoothly and safely. A smooth-functioning boiler will save you money on your heating bills too. In fact, as heating bills rise, a good-functioning boiler will save homeowners more money than ever. 

Tightening nut with Wrench

Above: A smooth-functioning boiler is an efficient boiler 

The average boiler service is around £50 to £100 or so, which works out at something like £1 to £2 a week. So holding back £1 or so a week to service your boiler every year is well worth it

Moreover, if your boiler is new and you don’t service it to keep it under warranty, you’re really missing out on a big safety net. If your boiler fails, but you’ve voided the warranty, it’s unlikely the manufacturer will help you repair it. 

How do I know if my boiler needs servicing?

Servicing prevents faults from occurring - you shouldn’t wait until you ‘know’ your boiler needs servicing to service it! 

If your boiler does any of the following, call our Gas Safe engineers straight away: 

  • Your boiler is leaking.
  • Your boiler’s pilot light glows orange or orange-blue rather than blue. 
  • Your boiler is making noises you haven’t heard before. 

If you can smell gas and suspect a gas leak, turn off the emergency gas stopper, evacuate your property, and call your energy company’s emergency line as soon as you can. 

The following problems should also prompt an immediate service: 

  • Your energy bills are more than you expect. 
  • Your radiator performance is poor, and you’ve checked and bled the radiators. 
  • Your boiler is more than 10 years old. 
  • You’ve moved into a new house with no record of when the boiler was last serviced. 
  • Your boiler looks visually decrepit and worn.

So, how long do boiler services take?

How long does a boiler service take?

The boiler is an essential part of any home. We rely on our boilers to heat our homes and water throughout the entire year, but they become especially important in the cold winter months. 

The general advice is to service a boiler once a year. This is required to keep newer boilers under warranty. 

The cost of servicing a boiler is certainly less than the cost of replacing expensive boiler parts or, in the worst case, replacing a broken boiler. 

A boiler service costs around £50 to £100, which works out at just £1 to £2 or so per week - an amount definitely worth spending to prevent your boiler from breaking! Moreover, a well-serviced boiler will run more efficiently and can save money on your energy bills. 

So, how long does a boiler service take?

How long does it take to service a gas boiler?

Gas boilers are the most common type of boilers in the UK. If you live on the mains gas grid, you almost certainly have a gas boiler. 

A typical gas boiler service will take 30 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes. 

It’s possible to service a near-brand-new boiler in just 20 minutes, especially if it’s a newly installed combi or system boiler. 

There are three main types of gas boilers: 

  • Traditional or conventional boilers 
  • Combi boilers 
  • System boilers 

Combi boilers are more modern, providing hot water and heating from the same unit. They’re typically installed in smaller one-bathroom homes and flats but rarely in larger homes with more than one bathroom. Combi boilers are pretty simple and easy to service. 

Boiler Controls

Above: Combi boiler panel

System boilers are also fairly modern and feature a separate water tank, ideal for homes with more than one bathroom. For example, you might have a system boiler if you live in a 2-bathroom+ semi-detached or detached house built since 2000. System boilers are generally more powerful than combi boilers, with more components to check and test. 

Then, we have conventional boilers that feature a cold water feed in the loft. These remain the most common type of boiler for houses. 

Older conventional boilers often require more intensive services, especially if they’re 15 years or old. However, many conventional boilers in the UK are now over 30 years old. This might mean the service takes slightly longer compared to near-new combi and system boilers. 

Servicing Boiler

Above: Repairing a conventional boiler 

How long does it take to service an oil boiler?

Oil boilers are popular for rural and off-grid properties that aren’t on the gas grid. 

Like gas boilers, the general advice is to get your oil boiler serviced once a year. Services should be performed by an OFTEC engineer, a different organisation than Gas Safe who regulate gas boilers. 

They’re frequently used to support other renewable energy sources and are generally as efficient or more efficient than gas boilers. Oil boilers work similarly to gas boilers, except they use liquid fuel rather than gas (heating oil or kerosene). 

Oil boilers are slightly more complex than gas boilers and take a bit longer to serve as a result. 

You can expect an oil boiler service to take 1 to 2 hours. 

How long should it take to service a combi boiler?

As noted, combi boilers are a newer type of boiler that provides heating and hot water from the same unit without the need for any additional water tanks. They’re extremely common in flats and are becoming increasingly common in small houses. 

Many combi boilers installed today are still quite new, so services may only take 30-minutes, but 1 hour is a more typical estimate.

If your new combi boiler is under warranty, then make sure you service it as per the manufacturer’s guidance, or else you might void your warranty. 

How long does it take to service a Vaillant boiler?

Vaillant is a well-known, reputable boiler brand that recommends yearly boiler services. This is usually a condition of their warranty. ‍

Vaillant says an average service will take around 1-hour

A typical service includes checking the boiler and heating controls, testing safety devices and boiler sensors, inspecting the combustion chamber and expansion vessel pressure and checking consumption and flue performance. 

How long does it take to service a Worcester Bosch boiler?

Worcester Bosch is a well-known, reputable boiler brand that recommends yearly boiler services. This is usually a condition of their warranty. 

Like any other boiler service, a Worcester Bosch service should take at least 30-minutes, but 1-hour is a more typical estimate. 

How long does it take to service a Baxi boiler?

Baxi is a well-known, reputable boiler brand that also recommends yearly boiler services. This is often a condition of their warranty. 

Baxi says an average service will take around 30-minutes.

A typical Baxi service includes flue and combustion analysis, checking electrical connections, seals, electrodes, and safety devices and inspecting condensate pipes and water and gas pipework

How long does it take to service a Viessmann boiler?

Viessmann is a well-known, reputable boiler brand that recommends yearly boiler services. 

Viessmann says an average service will take around 1-hour

Engineer servicing  a boiler

Above: The engineer will produce a service report

Summary: How long does a boiler service take?

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to servicing boilers - each service differs slightly from the next. 

Boiler services take 30-minutes to 1 hour for most gas boilers. Newer boilers can be serviced in just 30-minutes. Gas boilers take a little longer to service, around 1 hour to 2 hours. 

Servicing is well worth it in the long run as it helps boilers run smoothly and safely. In addition, regular servicing will boost boiler efficiency, which will lower your energy bills. 

As energy bills rise, the impact of a regular boiler service is bigger than ever - so make sure to book your boiler service for this year!

I Need Boiler Services, What Do I Do?

If you need to book boiler services or repairs, or aren’t sure what to do with your boiler, then contact SES or book our services through the Clik 2 Fix portal.

Our friendly customer service team and expert engineers are on hand to help 24/7, 365 days a year.

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