Importance of Annual Servicing of New Type Heating and Plumbing Systems

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From Plumbing & Heating Magazine, MOS Contractor of the Year
June 23, 2017
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Heat Pumps

Regularly maintaining your heat pump provides the following benefits:

  • Greater energy efficiency
  • Longer equipment life span
  • Lower energy consumption
  • Improved comfort

Heat Pumps should last for 15 – 20 years and generally come with a 3 – 7 year warranty. A heat pump system will benefit from annual servicing to ensure that all the mechanical connections are sound, settings are at their optimum and that the heat collector is working properly. Regular professional servicing may also be required to validate extended warranties, this varies from manufacture to manufacture. Depending on the make and model of heat pump you may be able to complete some of the filter cleaning activities to ensure your heat pump continues to perform efficiently.

 


Boilers

Servicing isn’t just a way to fix problems with your boiler. It’s also crucial for preventing serious issues from arising in the future by looking after and maintaining your boiler properly. Your boiler’s performance and efficiency levels could drop over the years, however by having the appliance serviced regularly and replacing worn out parts, it could stay as good as new for longer.

Most boilers come with a five-year warranty as standard, in order for this warranty to stay valid for that period of time, your boiler should be serviced regularly.

Your boiler needs to be serviced regularly to ensure that no new problems have arisen, such as gas leaks. Every household should have a carbon monoxide alarm so that this issue can be picked up easily. However, without an alarm, carbon monoxide is virtually undetectable. This is one very important reason why your boiler should be serviced regularly by a suitably qualified engineer.

What does a boiler service include?

If your new boiler is coming up to 12 months old, you may be wondering what your service will include. Below, we’ve outlined each aspect of a boiler service and what it means.

It’s important to note that the installer must consult the product manual for any individual servicing requirements outside of the standard items. 

Boiler Inspection

The first thing a Gas Safe registered engineer will do is inspect your boiler and the surrounding pipework. The engineer will be checking for any visual problems such as cracks, leaks or corrosion.

Then, they will test the boiler and its controls to ensure everything seems to be working okay. They will remove the boiler casing to make sure there aren’t any cracked or damaged parts within the boiler. This should only be done by a suitably qualified engineer – you shouldn’t take the casing off yourself.

Flue and pressure check

Once the engineer has determined that everything looks okay, they’ll begin to check other important aspects that make your boiler run safely and efficiently.

They will check that the gas pressure and flow is correct and they’ll also check that the flue is fitted as it should be and that there aren’t any obstructions. This is important as a blocked flue could result in dangerous gases, such as carbon monoxide, re-entering your home. They may also use a flue gas analyser to make sure the boiler is burning the correct combination of gas and air. If it’s burning too much gas, you could be overpaying on your energy bill.

Cleaning of essential parts

Included in your boiler’s service is the cleaning of certain parts such as the heat exchanger and combustion chamber, the burner assembly and electrodes, and the condensate siphon (if necessary).

Expansion vessel air pressure check

Sealed boiler systems require an expansion vessel for excess water. As water is heated in the system, it expands and this can cause a build up of pressure. This additional water needs a place to go to reduce the system’s pressure. This is the purpose of the expansion vessel. It’s a way to store excess water until the pressure in the system has returned back to normal.

However, the air in the expansion vessel can be lost over time and the vessel can become filled with water. In some boilers, this water can be drained manually from a valve at the bottom of the vessel. The engineer will be able to check the pressure of the expansion vessel and will repressurise it if it is too low. They can do this using a foot pump.

Smaller component checks

The engineer should check any electrical connections, pipework, fans and seals.

Even if you have a gas or oil-powered boiler, the appliance will require electricity to power the pump that pushes hot water around the radiators. It is these electrical connections that need to be checked to make sure they’re safe and working properly.

The seals need to be checked as they can crack or harden over time. If this is the case, the engineer should be able to change them on site for you at an additional cost. The water and gas pipes need to be examined too. Leaking pipe fittings can be a problem if the seals have cracked or if they were installed incorrectly. The engineer should be able to determine the issue and arrange for it to be fixed. General wear and tear items such as the ignition or burner door seals could be replaced at an additional charge.

The engineer should also check that required safety devices, such as the flow switch, are working correctly.

Final safety checks

Finally, the engineer will restart your boiler to check for any working faults, such as funny noises or a faulty display screen. They may also check that your carbon monoxide alarm is working correctly.

Before they leave, ask the engineer to complete any required paperwork if they haven’t done so already. Your boiler should have a complete service history, and the engineer will need to complete this to make sure your boiler’s warranty stays in place. This could also be a good time to ask the engineer any questions you may have. They may be able to advise you on how you can make your heating system more efficient and additional technologies you could have installed, such as a smart thermostat.