Some unseasonal tips for a much better boiler
Summer’s a great time to upgrade your home’s central heating system because you don’t need the heating on - here are some things to consider (Julia Gray, PA)
1. It’s against the law for anyone other than a Gas Safe Register (www.gassaferegister.co.uk) installer to work on a gas boiler, or an OFTEC (www.oftec.co.uk) installer to work on an oil boiler. “In an ideal world, we would all have an installer we can call on when needed, but this is not always the case,” says Martyn Bridges, director of technical support at boiler manufacturer Worcester, Bosch Group. “Friends and family who have had a good experience can be a good starting point, but many manufacturers have a database of installers across the country.” Worcester has a Find a Local Installer section on its website: www.worcester-bosch.co.uk
2. If you have an old boiler, replacing it with a new, highly efficient one, is the best thing you can do, but you can make less expensive improvements, such as fitting a new thermostat/controls and adjustable radiator valves. Your boiler, even if it’s new, should be serviced annually by a qualified heating engineer to ensure it’s safe and working efficiently.
3. Keeping the central heating system clean is also important, but it’s not something most of us think of. “Maintaining a clean system is vital in order to protect the boiler and system components from contaminants and corrosion. It improves the efficiency and performance of the system and increases the lifespan of the boiler,” says Bridges. “Radiators can become blocked by the build-up of contaminants over time, reducing the amount of heat they transfer. As a result, the boiler has to work harder and for longer to heat your home to the desired temperature, which increases heating costs, affects how comfortable your home is and risks premature failure of the boiler.”
4. “It’s fairly easy to help guard against this,” continues Bridges. “The first thing is to treat the water in the system with either a gravity flush of a chemical cleansing fluid, or a power flush in the case of particularly contaminated systems. Adding a corrosion inhibitor to the system water after flushing will also help to keep the system in optimum operating condition by limiting the amount of corrosion that can build up.” Expect to pay around £40 for the cleansing fluid and around £35-£40 for the inhibitor, plus around £100 for labour for a gravity flush and around £250-£300 for labour for a power flush.
5. Having a system filter fitted is something to consider too, as it cleans the system by attracting contaminants floating around it. “System filters lengthen the lifespan of a boiler, protect key components within the heating system and save you money by improving the system’s efficiency,” says Bridges.