The importance of annual heating system maintenance

A recent survey conducted by central heating filter manufacturer, ADEY, found that 55% of homeowners in the UK were worried about switching on their heating last winter. The main worry was escalating heating costs as well as concerns about the age of the boiler and whether it would break down during the middle of winter. However, although 55% of people were concerned about their boiler, only 46% had actually had their boiler checked within the last 12 months. Making sure that your boiler undergoes maintenance once per year is vital in the smooth running and longevity of the components within a central heating system. The Energy Savings Trust has estimated that the cost of heating our homes accounts for half of what we spend in a year on energy bills. For this reason it’s very important that people are aware of the benefits of keeping a well-maintained boiler. It’s easy for people to just continue to switch on their heating without giving any thought to the system that provides the heat. Too often, people only think about their central system when disaster strikes in the middle of winter and the home is left completely without heating. We are well aware that our cars require regular servicing in order to help prevent breakdowns and the same awareness needs to be applied to our heating systems. The survey conducted by ADEY showed that 44% of people didn’t know whether the terms of their boiler warranties required them to have annual maintenance done. Many people who think they are covered can get a nasty shock when, in addition to their boiler breaking down in the middle of winter, they find they are faced with a huge repair bill that is not covered by their warranties due to lack of maintenance. Homeowners need help from heating engineers and installers in the form of practical advice on how to keep their heating systems running smoothly and efficiently. If having a new boiler installed, engineers should make it clear that the warranty may well only cover repairs if the boiler is serviced on an annual basis. Getting the customer to mark it on a calendar would go a long way to avoiding unexpected repair costs. Equally, installers should explain to the homeowner about chemical inhibitor - what it is and how it can prevent corrosion within the heating system. The basics of chemical inhibitor are easy for a homeowner to understand, but only after it has been explained to them in the first place. Some research has shown that 5kgs of radiator sludge in the system can reduce radiator heat output by as much as 36%. Naturally, homeowners will turn up their heating to compensate for this lack of performance and their heating bills will rise as well. Explanations of how chemical inhibitor can prevent this scenario needs to be clearly laid out by installers. Heating engineers can also explain to homeowners the benefits of having magnetic filters installed within the system. They need to be made aware that a filter has the potential to reduce call-outs and emergencies and extend the lifetime of the boiler and other heating components. They also need to be told of the associated costs and whether installing a filter is a viable and necessary option. Homeowners will then be better armed with useful knowledge so they can make a decision on what is best for them. The heating industry as a whole needs to increase the knowledge of homeowners by regularly educating them about the importance of maintaining their heating systems. This will results in customers receiving a higher level of customer service and assisting them in lowering their heating bills and reducing the chances of high, unexpected emergency costs. Article by Benjamin Clarke
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