To save you time before reading on, three really quick questions to ensure boiler cover is for you:
1) Are you the homeowner? If you're a tenant, the heating system is the landlord's responsibility so you don't need to pay for it. Contact your landlord and arrange something through them.
2) Have you checked your home insurance policy? Some policies include boiler repair so check first before paying twice.
3) Is it boiler cover or boiler repair you need? If your boiler is broke now, and you're not covered, then you need boiler repair so find your local Gas Safety Registered engineer then once fixed come back here and get boiler cover for any potential future issues.
With that out of the way, let's crack on.
In this article, we'll look at what boiler is, what it includes, what it can cost and a few simple steps you can take to get your boiler working again.
There is nothing worse than waking up in the depths of winter to find out your boiler has packed in and you've got no heating or hot water. Worst still, you realise this when you're in the shower and you get a very unwelcome surprise and wakeup call as cold water flows out of the shower head.
It's at this point you realise how important boiler cover actually is. If you have it, great! You can call your boiler cover supplier and hopefully have an engineer round to your house within a few hours. If you haven't, the experience is one you'll want to forget as you rush to call around all your local Gas Safety Engineers to try and fit you in ASAP.
Hopefully the fact you're reading this article means you can avoid this traumatic experience for yourself. So, with that in mind, let's take a look at boiler cover in more detail.
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Boiler cover is an agreement (or policy) with a third-party to carry out maintenance and emergency repair on your boiler, and potentially broader heating system, in the event of your boiler and heating system malfunctioning. Having this gives you peace of mind, in the event that your boiler breaks, that you know a professional will be on hand to fix your boiler quickly.
If you do have an issue with your boiler, you simply contact your boiler cover supplier and they will send a Gas Safety Engineer to your house to fix the issue usually within a 24-hour window (depending on where you live in the United Kingdom and who your boiler cover supplier is).
There are different policies of boiler cover for households and landlords so be sure to select the right one. Landlord boiler cover is more expensive due to it containing the following legal requirements:
If you don't have boiler cover, and have a home emergency, please ensure you only use engineers registered on the Gas Safe Register. This is to protect you and your boiler should you experience any further issues.
There are a multitude of cover options available including:
Prices for policies vary by provider, and what you want it to include, but as a ball-park figure you'd be looking at about £12 per month for your standard boiler cover up to £20 per month for a broader full home policy covering your boiler, heating and water supply.
The other element to consider is the excess included in your policy which again determines the monthly fee you pay and also whether there is a call out fee.
With most decent policies, you will also receive an annual service to help ensure your boiler is well maintained which will help ensure it runs efficiently and therefore use less energy and have less of an impact on the environment through your carbon emissions.
Whilst operating and working on a gas boiler should only ever be carried out by a fully qualified Gas Safety Engineer, there are steps you can take yourself to try and get your boiler working again.
Check if the pilot light is lit inside the boiler. This is a small blue flame which indicates whether your boiler is still on or not. If you have a push and twist button, use this and hold the button in to try and get the boiler to properly ignite. This can sometimes need to be held for a long period of time but instructions should be found on the cover of the boiler somewhere.
In Winter, especially on cold frosty nights, another common issue is a frozen and therefore blocked condensate pipe. This is a pipe running from your boiler to an external grid point (in most cases) that disposes of excess water during the condensing process. In cold-snaps, this can block and trigger the boiler to malfunction. To find this pipe, try to follow it from the boiler, as what should be the only plastic pipe connected to the boiler, and at any point where it runs outside, check to see if the pipe is frozen. To de-ice, don't apply boiling water as this may cause the pipe to crack or warp but instead apply warm water or use a hair- dryer (as again I've done personally). This should clear the ice and ensure the boiler to start working again. As a more permanent fix, insulate any external pipe work with pipe lagging to prevent it from freezing over in future.
The pressure in the boiler will be shown by a pressure gauge on the boiler itself. If this is low, you may have a leak somewhere in the system which will need to be identified e.g. a leaking radiator valve. To top up the pressure, you simply need to slowly open up the water inlet valve until the level reaches a suitable level of around 1.5 bar. Again, your specific boiler manual should be checked and ensure the level doesn't go too high i.e. reaching any numbers highlighted in red.
These are the basic issues and boiler repairs you can make yourself but we'd always advise for anything more serious, or if you're not confident, to leave this to a professional and Gas Safety Registered engineer.
In summary, for peace of mind, boiler breakdown cover (or boiler insurance) from a reputable company is worth having with the annual cost easily cover the costs of a call-out should you ever experience any issues. We also strongly advise that you have an annual boiler service to ensure your boiler is operating efficiency. This will prolong the life of your boiler and help reduce your home energy bills.
We hope this guide to boiler cover has been useful. As always, we welcome any feedback to help ensure we can improve the quality of our advice and guides so please don't hesitate to get in touch.