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.

Book in your boiler service with SES Home Services today.