Heating engineers – is it worth having my boiler serviced?
I’ve got an old glowworm space saver boiler that was installed in 1992, as far as I can tell its working fine, no funny noises, house gets warm, water gets hot. We’ve got carbon monoxide detectors but they’ve never sounded an alarm.
I know for a fact that the boiler hasn’t had anyone look at it for at least 14 years.
Is it worth getting it ‘serviced’, ie paying a heating engineer to give it a once over?
Ie can these boilers go out of tune? Will I notice a significantly warmer house as a result? Lower gas bills?
I know that its massively inefficient compared to a modern condensing boiler, but I don’t want to replace it. I’m of the view that if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it. But if its worth getting it serviced then I will.Posted 8 months ago
Most heating engineers would just use a flue gas analyser to service your boiler nowadays and tell you your spacesaver is burning really cleanly. You are supposed to get it serviced every 12 months but to be honest even if it is serviced properly it won’t work any better or more efficiently. Only thing to really go wrong is the thermocouple burning out and they are readily available. I wouldn’t bother doing anything with it. As long as the water in your system is clean and you’re not too bothered about efficiency you’ll probably get a good few years out of it yet.Posted 8 months ago
Ta for that, yep the thermo couple does fail every few years, it’s easily sorted with a generic thermocouple from b and q for about 4 quid.
I’ve drained the system down a few times over the years too,seems clean enough.Posted 8 months ago
Not had ours serviced for a good 10 years now, but I doubt I can find anyone who will work on a 30+ year old boiler.Posted 8 months ago
Our boiler was last serviced about 10 years ago.
I sometimes think about getting serviced again at some point, but the thought does not last that long.
I feel better now that I have read that others do the same as well!Posted 8 months ago
Im.on oil so it’s slightly different but we had it set up about 10 years ago and now just clean the turbulators and the burner every other year. Changed the pipes for the bio 10 year green pipes rather than the braided change every year pipes.
Other than that I had a PCB die this year -servicing wouldn’t have stopped that.
I sometimes think about getting it serviced and then thing what are they doing that I am not other than firing an analyser up its arse….and what’s changed between this year and last ?Posted 8 months ago
I’ve got a 35year old Stelrad Sprint combi boiler that hasn’t been serviced in years…….!
I’ve changed the diverter valve, pump, timer/controller and ignition thermocouple but other than touch wood it’s been great. The trouble with older boilers is that the older engineers who would have known them are retired.
Vacuum the burner bar out if it’s accessible and check eBay for spares and maybe get a few bits in stock just in case.Posted 8 months ago
I fitted my own gas central heating and boiler in a previous property and didn’t have it serviced for 20 years, had it done just before we sold up, gas engineer said it was working fine.Posted 8 months ago
Thanks all, you’ve confirmed my suspicions- not worth getting it serviced.
I have replaced the circulating pump which is not part of the boiler a couple of years ago because that failed. And I fitted a nest thermostat a few weeks back to pretend I’ve got a modern central heating system.
Wonder how long the old boiler will go on for? Might make it my life’s mission to keep it running….Posted 8 months ago
There’s not a lot to service, it’s not like there are wear and tear parts to be replaced. It is worth cleaning out the dust and soot and check the combustion is clean, that’s what most servicing is.Posted 8 months ago
That model of Spacesaver doesn’t get dirty so there won’t be anything to really clean out. Well designed burner hardly produces any carbon monoxide and large flueways through heat exchanger So they don’t have a tenancy to soot up. I’d wager if you stuck a flue gas analyser in that even without a service you’d get a reading below 0.0004 which is a really good combustion reading. Just leave it alone it’ll be fine.Posted 8 months ago
Got a fairly old boiler, probably 15 years old. On the heating system I’ve replaced the pump and the 3 position valve, controller time clock and thermostat.Posted 8 months ago
The boiler itself needed a new fan last year, so I called out a heating technician who replaced that, checked it was burning cleanly and hoovered it.
That’s probably the only time in 15 years.
He suggested I avoid a replacement at all costs due to the lack of reliability of modern boilers and cost of parts.
I will be getting it serviced moving forward, yes there’s a carbon monoxide detector above it but I’d like it checked.
carbon monoxide detector above it but I’d like it checked.
I will say part of the reason to my attitude is my boiler lives at the bottom of the garden. It ain’t co’ing anyone.Posted 8 months ago
Don’t forget that CO detectors only have a limited life and don’t last for ever. Might be 5,7,10 years but make sure you check the date on it and replace when past it! A lot of people don’t realise this also don’t buy the cheapo stick on plaque ones with a spot that changes colour with CO, its the last thing you’d check when falling asleep in front of your fire!Posted 8 months ago
Wonder how long the old boiler will go on for? Might make it my life’s mission to keep it running….
I’ve been keeping mine going for yonks. Problem is there is a rust hole in the back of the boiler which weeps onto the kitchen worktop every so often, then it fills back up with rust. Probably means I can’t clean it out with Fernox DS-40 anymore, which I do every 10 years or so to stop it kettling. We’re in a very hard water area, so everything limesclales up…Posted 8 months ago
Re the monoxide detectors, yep, aware that they have a finite shelf life, just replaced the last one a few months ago, I write the replacement date on them so I know when they’re done.Posted 8 months ago
Don’t forget that CO detectors only have a limited life and don’t last for ever. Might be 5,7,10 years but make sure you check the date on it and replace when past it! A lot of people don’t realise this also don’t buy the cheapo stick on plaque ones with a spot that changes colour with CO, its the last thing you’d check when falling asleep in front of your fire!
Got a CO test cartridge on my Solo Smoke detector tester. Not tried it yet, it’s quite new.Posted 8 months ago
I’ve got an old Saunier Duvall combi. Everyone says it’s sh1t but it’s about 17 years old now and still is working of sorts. Dead basic and just works. I’ve replaced various parts over the years (non gas I might add, just stuff to go wrong with the cold water feed) this time it was the filler tap the other month and being lazy I ended up getting some water on the pcb which now gives an F1 fault occasionally. Leaving it off for about 5 seconds and then turning on sorts it. I’ve had someone quote a new boiler, prices for a vailant around the £2k just for the boiler!!! Prices are nuts. Not had a service for about 4 years, but have and replace when necessary the carbon monoxide detector near it.Posted 8 months ago
I had mine serviced earlier this year, but last week the thermostat went and it’s trashed the heat-exchanger and the whole lot has to be replaced, including the gas fire in the lounge, ‘cos it’s a Baxi. ☹️Posted 8 months ago
Really not looking forward to getting the quote for putting it right. 😱
Depends of you have some form of breakdown cover for it or not. Most such plans insist you have an annual service for them to be effective. Similarly if it’s still under warranty (not the case here clearly) it is often a condition of the warranty that is serviced annually.Posted 8 months ago
Touch wood, Baxi Solo 2 here that is just over 25 years old. Only ever had an engineer out twice, gas valve and circuit board. It occasionally get’s a noisy fan, which Finish Line ceramic sorts, then it was lazy firing up. Opened up, squirted carb cleaner near the gas inlet and cleaned up the metal gas jet flue type thingy (google was helpful). Also hovered any bits of crud out the heat exchange. We have a carbon monoxide detector nearby.
Been fine, and no reason to replace as my gas bill is £40 a month. Don’t mention the leccy… 2 gaming PC’s and a hot tub.Posted 8 months ago
Depends of you have some form of breakdown cover for it or not.
Doubt you’ll get cover for a boiler over 10 years old.
The other problem, is that BG engineers (as an example) are on commission to get you to buy a new boiler, so have a direct incentive to say ‘sorry mate, too old can’t get the parts’ when they’re readily available….Posted 8 months ago
Depends of you have some form of breakdown cover for it or not
To be fair it’s a. Similar sort of snake oil
By the time.ive paid for the 10 years of breakdown cover and a yearly service…. I can replace the whole boiler……..
As happens I’m.down one expansion vessel and a PCB to date…. About 120 quid.Posted 8 months ago
Our Ideal boiler is 29 years old and it’s been serviced properly once since we moved in 8 years ago. That said my father in law is a retired heating engineer so he often checks it over. It’s gone wrong once in those 7 years a fortunately he was visiting, it turned out that the micro switch contacts had some corrosion on them. A quick rub down and it was working again. If we’d replaced it with a modern condensing boiler when we moved in we’d likely had to replace that by nowPosted 8 months ago
I’ve an old Glowworm Spacesaver that was installed in ’85. Thermocouple occasionally fails but still going.Posted 8 months ago
I’ve an old Glowworm Spacesaver that was installed in ’85. Thermocouple occasionally fails but still going.
Nice to hear, so I’m aiming for at least another 7 years from my space saver installed in 1992Posted 8 months ago
Our Baxi wasn’t new when we moved in almost 30 years ago. It had a midlife refurb when we replaced the crappy microbore pipes and all the radiators about 20-25 years ago. The guy removed it and took it to his workshop where he worked some magic then reinstalled it. Other than a pump that failed shortly after being fitted it just works. No services for last 15 years at least.
Our gas use is approx £450 per year so I don’t think installing a new boiler before the old one breaks is cost effective.Posted 8 months ago
Nice to know what everyone does, moved last year and the Glowworm is 42 years old, think it was serviced a couple of years ago and seems (touch wood) to work finePosted 8 months ago
Hark at all you lot with your modern boilers.
The property I’ve just left had a Glow-worm Majorca of mid 1970s vintage. The pilot light assembly (thermocouple / spark plug / HT ignition cable) was perpetually bollocksed but beyond that any servicing I had done involved stripping it, hoovering out all the brick dust, doing a smoke test to see if the chimney is still chimneying and then putting it all back together again.
I’d slap a carbon monoxide detector next to it though.Posted 8 months ago
To counter all these other opinions, I have an ageing Baxi back boiler. I get it service every year to 18 months as it cokes up and I suspect it won’t last forever. It is as much for peace of mind too as I am not a heating engineer of any sort and want to ensure we don’t die of CO poisoning even with the monitor in place.Posted 8 months ago
Don’t mean to be a ‘Job’s comforter’ but….some home insurance policies have small print which expects annual boiler servicing as a condition…which is where an independent service engineer can be a boon as against the commission driven big boys.Posted 8 months ago
some home insurance policies have small print which expects annual boiler servicing as a condition
It would only be a condition to the boiler breaking down though. No home insurance policy will exclude paying out for property damage or theft because the boiler wasn’t serviced. In the very rare event such a policy did exist it would not be in the small print either – it would have to be detailed in the major exclusions list.Posted 8 months ago
Oil combi at our house is a bit of a Triggers Broom. 2002 on the install ticket but since we’ve been here (5 winters, christ!) i’ve replaced:
heating circuit pump
hot water circuit pump
‘magic eye’ photocell in the burner
fill valve and pipe
flow valve sensor
not to mention the amount of running repairs, most notably (when the fill valve sprang a leak on the mains side) having to completely strip, dry out and re-assemble the PCB and controller ‘cos it got soaked! One of the curses of an outdoor combi: out of sight out of mind!
i’ve done all the work myself, the hardest part by a mile is the fault diagnosis. They arent a complex assembly as such (minimal moving parts etc), being able to accurately diagnose the fault under pressure is the main challenge.Posted 8 months ago
I was thinking more of fire or flood caused by a boiler which didn’t have a planned maintenance paper trail……p’raps I’m wrong.Posted 8 months ago
I was thinking more of fire or flood caused by a boiler which didn’t have a planned maintenance paper trail……p’raps I’m wrong.
I have never seen that in a policy wording and as I say it would have to be drawn to your attention as a major policy condition/exclusion. CIDRA is pretty onerous on insurance companies now about how they must disclose important policy conditions and what questions they must ask as part of the underwriting. I would argue that if having the boiler serviced was that significant then it should be asked as part of the application and the application declined if you answered no.
Insurance underwriter for the last 20 years with qualifications specifically in insurance law. I could be proved wrong of course but I would happily assist anyone who had a claim declined on this basis 🙂Posted 8 months ago
find a good independent repair person for your boiler.
My partner has a 16 year old valiant in her flat and when i asked her if she ever pumped it up to 1.5bar she just looked at me like i was talking another language.
turned the filling loop on up to 1.5 but had to use a screwdriver on an already chewed up brass valve that wouldn’t take the key we found.
1 day later pressure drops and doesn’t fire. all my fault!
was recommended a local Valiant only repair man. £160 later we have the pressure vessel pumped back up (needs to be done every 10 years or so) and a new filling valve and service.
Repair man said “best boiler they ever made, no plastic all brass, never replaced a pressure vessel in one in 20 years, good for another 10”
british gas wanted £3.5k and to hire a cherry picker to supply and fit a new boiler!Posted 8 months ago
I claimed off insurance a couple of years ago for a ‘water escape’ from a dodgy pressure release valve…an item that was checked at the previous service so the fact I got it serviced didn’t prevent failure and the insurance company never asked if I had the system serviced at all let alone asking for proof of servicing. didn’t ask anything about the boiler or its maintenance. Unless it reduces risk of a claim then insurance companies are not interested and servicing a boiler doesn’t reduce the risk of anything really. I get my boiler serviced every year to maintain warranty and that didn’t prevent the failure of the valve. Now my warranty has expired I wont be annually servicing the boiler…might drop to an every 2 or 3 year schedul. The plumber who did mine last year said it was a waste of time.Posted 8 months ago
We do a fair bit of insurance work for a very big insurer, their agents have always said boilers should be serviced yearly as part of expected maintenance. They have refused to pay out in the past after boilers causing fires etc
Worth bearing in mind or at least checking your policyPosted 8 months ago
… since we moved in 8 years ago. … If we’d replaced it with a modern condensing boiler when we moved in we’d likely had to replace that by now
I’d be thoroughly disappointed with a boiler that lasted < 8yrs.
I had an old Glowworm until it finally died about 7 years ago. The problem is – if the first time you get the uneconomic to repair prognosis is the first time you’ve met the heating engineer you don’t know if its the “British Gas training” coming out in them to sell you something new. Its also inevitable that the time it goes wrong is in a really cold spell, and lots of other people boilers have stopped working too – so you are down the priority list… I see my current £85/yr as keeping my engineer sweet so if it does break he’ll be round the next day. I should say that the glowworm was not serviced every year – only when something went wrong with it – right up until the point at which after 8.5 hrs of trying to get it going, the bad news was delivered.Posted 8 months ago
We purchased a new combi boiler about 3yrs ago. Came with a 7yr guarentee and i believe is subject to a service each year. Got the boiler through a helpful chap on here 🙂
Anyhow i think it cost £500+ and it costs me £50 per year to service. For that i think he checks it is burning correctly and empties out the filter. I dont really care tbh.
A year ago he reported that the condensor was leaking and tbh if it needed replaced the boiler would be a write off. We called the manufacturers and next day they replaced the condensor foc. Only question they asked was “Had it been serviced”. We were able to say the service guy reported the problem.
For £50 per year i am quite happy to maintain the warranty for 7yrs and have peace of mind its looked after. They are becoming a replaceable part at £500 but i dont see the harm in helping it along the wayPosted 8 months ago
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