My boiler is being temperamental at the moment. It comes on, but then after a couple of hours switches itself off. I’ve tried putting the thermostat up to tropical levels to get it to work but no joy. While it is getting colder, at least we’re not knocking ice off the inside of windows at the moment. We have a gas fire in the sitting room and I’ve just ordered a cheap electric heater so I can keep my office warm enough that I don’t have to type in gloves.
And we’ve got an immersion so we can get hot water even if the boiler carries on with its hissy fit. I’ve also got a registered gas engineer to come and service the boiler soon. I’ve used him before and he was fine – so I’m willing to hang on until he’s available. A typical boiler service costs about £72 – it’s very much dependent on where you are in the country and whether you use a national or local firm (the latter being cheaper). You must use a gas engineer registered with www.gassaferegister.co.uk. Put in your postcode and you’ll get a list of local engineers.
So what about boiler service plans? I used to have one. I don’t any longer. I can’t remember how much it cost a month – I had the service plus emergency call out – but it wasn’t cheap. I stopped doing it mainly because of price but also because the last time the engineer serviced the boiler he took all of 10 minutes and spent about 20 minutes sitting outside in his van playing with his phone. When I later had it serviced by the man I now use, he said it hadn’t been properly done for years and showed me some disgusting clogged up bit of the mechanism which he said hadn’t been cleaned for yonks. In addition, if you read the personal finance pages of some of the newspapers, you’ll see there are plenty of complaints about the cost and cover offered by the big firms for boiler and gas emergency services (see here for a good example). Better to self-insure by saving rather than paying premiums, I think. And you don’t need emergency cover: just the phone number of a good local engineer who you trust and will come out to fix it.
However there’s a fault in my plan. What if I am being too optimistic and our boiler’s days are numbered? I really hope not because a new boiler is hugely expensive. Which? says that one costs between £600 and £2,000 and then there’s the installation – from £500 to close to £2,000. All in all, it’s definitely a four figure sum. And even if the boiler does recover then its days are numbered: it is about eight years old. If I’m lucky it should last another seven says Go Compare. Time to start saving. And see our guide to saving on energy bills here.