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.