Fixing a broken boiler can get expensive quickly, so it's important to make sure you're covered or can afford repairs
Having a boiler you can rely on is extremely important for homeowners in the UK; we use our heating systems heavily during our wet and cold winters.
But things sometimes go wrong, and a fix to your boiler can be costly which is where boiler cover comes into play.
What type of boiler cover is there?
While there are lots of options on the market, there are three main types you will see on offer.
Does what it says on the tin – it typically protects the boiler and its controls, nothing else.
Boiler and central heating cover
The next level up includes cover for your boiler and everything that’s connected to it such as radiators and plumbing.
Home emergency cover
The most comprehensive protection available covers your boiler, plumbing, gas or electricity failure within your home, central heating and hot water failure, pest infestation, damaged windows, doors and locks plus roof damage caused by a storm.
What types of boilers are there?
There are lots of different boilers to choose from, but the most common boiler found in UK homes is a condensing boiler which works by passing hot gas through a central chamber to heat up water while a second chamber uses the remaining heat to warm up water from the heating system.
Of condensing boilers, the combi-boiler is most popular choice. With a combi, the hot water unit and cold water tank sit in the same unit meaning all your hot water and heating comes from the same unit.
Choosing the right boiler is dependent on your home, you need to consider the overall size and number of rooms you have.
Admiral Home Emergency includes cover for a variety of boiler sources:
- combination boilers
- conventional boilers
- solid fuel
- electric boilers
- other forms of primary heating via renewable technologies in your home.
Worcester Bosch explains the most popular types of boilers available and their benefits. The size, construction and energy efficiency of a boiler will impact your home energy bills.
Most common boiler problems Boilers can be beset by all kinds of issues, especially if it’s an older model. Issues can include:
- Leaking or dripping
- Frozen pipes - with temperatures often dipping below freezing in the winter the risk of frozen pipes is very real. This can cause a blockage in your boiler. Do not attempt to thaw it yourself; you should contact a qualified professional
- No heating
- Loss of pressure.
Is boiler cover or home emergency cover worth it?
While this type is totally optional, it’s there for homeowners who want peace of mind their boiler and heating system will be protected if something goes wrong. It also takes the hassle out of finding a tradesmen and getting quotes if you need any repairs done.
When it comes to boiler repair costs, they can vary dramatically so make sure you get multiple quotes if you don’t have insurance and you’re paying the bill out of your own pocket.
As a guide, Which? asked over 200 Trusted Traders how much they charge for parts and labour to fix some of the most common boiler faults. This ranged from £106 for the ignition to £211 for a water pump.
The best way to avoid costly repairs is to make sure you maintain your boiler well, or take out cover so you don’t get stung with the bill.
How can I look after my boiler?
There are lots of things you can do to keep your boiler in tip top shape:
- Bleed your radiators - this will help release the air and allow your boiler to work more efficiently. This is an easy task you can carry out yourself – read our how to bleed a radiator guide for a step-by-step guide
- Service your boiler regularly - regular services can help maintain a boiler to help it last longer. It is recommended you have your boiler serviced annually
- Re-pressurise your boiler following the instruction manual, or you can contact a trained professional to do this for you
Why it’s important to maintain your boiler
Boiler maintenance is essential for efficient energy use and can save you money. If your boiler is maintained, it will also last longer. According to Energy Saving Trust boilers account for 55% of what you spend on energy bills each year, so an efficient working boiler makes a big difference.
According to HSE (Health and Safety Executive), in 2014/2015 (the most up-to-date stats available), there were 161 domestic gas-related incidents. Their website also states that in the past three years, 22 people died and nearly 1,000 injured in relation to gas incidents such as carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, gas leaks and fires.
The Chief Medical Officer reports around 40 deaths and 200 hospitalisations each year in England and Wales.
How do I make sure my home is gas safe?
Scott Darroch, Head of Communications at Gas Safe Register, gave us some advice. “All gas appliances in your property need to be safety checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer annually and serviced according to manufacturer’s instructions.
“Any appliance not checked could leave you at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, gas leaks, fires and explosions. It’s an extremely good idea to have your gas pipework checked at the same time as having a gas safety check, every year.”
Six warning signs that you should get your gas appliance serviced immediately
- The gas appliance is not working properly
- The appliance is burning with a lazy yellow flame rather than a crisp blue one
- Black marks/stains are evident around the gas appliance
- The pilot light keeps going out
- Increased condensation in the room
- Know the symptoms of CO poisoning: severe headaches, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, collapse and loss of consciousness
For more advice on gas safety and what to do if you can smell gas, read our guide.
Boiler and gas safety for tenants and landlords
Landlords must ensure gas appliances in their rental properties are safety checked at least once a year; tenants can check this by requesting to see the current gas safety record.
The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 also state private sector landlords are required to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their property and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel-burning appliance such as a coal fire or wood burning stove.
These requirements are enforced by councils who can impose a fine of up to £5,000 if a landlord fails to comply with a remedial notice.
Need to make a claim?
If you're an Admiral Boiler Emergency customer and need to make a claim you can call our 24-hour emergency helpline on 0345 609 4375. Please have as much information as possible to hand including your name, home postcode and policy number.