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Don’t get the boiler blues

The nights are starting to draw in and there is a noticeable nip in the air. We’ve all been debating whether it’s too early to switch the heating back on, but after a record breaking hot summer, us normally hardy Brits are feeling the cold.

This is no problem if your boiler is in good working order, but after a long summer of no use - and after a particularly harsh winter thanks to the ‘Beast from the East’ - there may be those turning on their heating systems to find it doesn’t work. The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) is therefore advising consumers to get their boilers serviced and their heating system ‘health checked’ so they will not be left in the cold when its time to turn the heating on. 

Kevin Wellman, CEO of the CIPHE says: “Everyone assumes their heating system is in good working order, but most people haven’t used it for many months. It may work, but is it safe? Is your pipework appropriately lagged to avoid frozen and burst pipes? Is your condensate pipe correctly installed and sited to avoid freezing?The boiler may be the heart of your heating system, but the rest of the components need checking too - cylinders, thermostats, filters, pumps, radiators and pipework are all vital to providing heating and hot water in your home.” 

No one gives a second thought about putting their car through a full service and MOT – doing the same for your heating system is just as important.

“Well maintained heating systems are less likely to break down or develop faults. Service costs are considerably cheaper compared to the price of an emergency call out, so it really does make financial sense. Planned maintenance also means you can shop around for a quote from a professional engineer, rather than risk calling out a cowboy in an emergency.”

But how can you tell the professional engineer from the cowboy installer? Kevin continued, “Those working on heating systems must be accredited to the relevant regulatory body. For instance if you have a gas boiler, your engineer must be Gas Safe registered. For oil appliances, you need an OFTEC registered installer and for biofuel and solid fuel systems, you should employ a HETAS registered engineer. For additional peace of mind, ensure your engineer also belongs to the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering – they will then have passed further vettings for qualifications, experience and will abide by a Code of Professional Standards.”

“Finally, always ensure you verify your engineer’s credentials. IDs can be faked. Ask your engineer for their registration number and check their details with the relevant body before you allow them to work in your home.”

For a list of professional plumbing and heating engineers in your area visit www.ciphe.org.uk, phone 01708 472791 or email info@ciphe.org.uk