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Essential Heating

Safety, Reliability, Quality, Expertise

Frequently Asked Questions

We are often called out unnecessarily to boilers that have been accidentally switched of or shut down but easily restarted. Check our page on boiler repairs for tips to getting your heating back on before making that expensive call.
The regulatory bodies for gas and gas appliance manufacturers recommend that a boiler is serviced once a year. The main reason for this is safety, but also for reliability and prevention of costly repairs.

It is likely that most years a well maintained system will have no issues but for peace of mind we recommend that you get it checked.

See what the regulatory body ‘Gas Safe’ Has to say about it.

This is a tricky one.

More experienced gas engineers will naturally find a problem faster but charge more money. Unfortunately paying more money does not guarantee more experience or that a problem will be resolved quickly.

Most Heating faults can be repaired within an hour and a half. Add to this the cost of parts and already the bill starts to mount.

Should a fault be more hard to find, consideration needs to be taken to the age of the boiler, how much it would cost to fit a new one and obviously your personal circumstances. But if a boiler is 10 years old and it will end up costing half the price of a new one to fix it, then it is not a very sound investment.

Keep an eye on the clock and for a guide to pricing, check out our rates page.

Gas boilers vary in price. the price you see on google will be very similar to the trade price any small business will pay for an appliance.

Installation costs vary dramatically dependant on the work required. See the next question for a better idea of whats involved.

The short Answer is more than you might expect. Even in the simplest of replacement like for like boilers it is recommended that the heating be power flushed. This is around a days work on its own with the use of some industrial equipment. Add to this the likely hood of having to upgrade the controls, install a magnetic filter, not to mention the boiler, flue, commissioning and paperwork. To do all this effectively takes time and it time worth spending. Cutting corners on any of these this will cost you in the long run.
In simple terms there are two main types of boiler that come in various different sizes.

1- Combination boilers (combis) These heat water instantaneously and require no hot water tank and also heat the radiators.

2- System boiler
These heat a cylinder of stored hot water ready for when you need a shower and also heat the raditors

In general terms Combi boilers are suited to smaller properties, properties with two bathrooms or less where space is at a premium. System boilers can be fitted in any property but are generally used in larger properties where storage is not and issue, where two or more bathrooms are required or in older properties.

Check out this handy boiler finder tool from Vaillant to help you decide which boiler you require.

So many boilers, so many different opinions. The industry generally speaks about Vaillant and worcester bosch as the two competitors fighting it out for the top spot. Both have been around a while. Both are made to a good quality.

Personally speaking, with a long history specialising in the fault finding and repair of gas boilers and heating systems. I always recommend Vaillant. None are perfect in anyway. All manufactures will have issues with certain components but over the long term i will tell you that these will last longer, be easier to fix, in less time and cost you less money. John down the road will tell you something very different. I’ll leave it up to you who to decide.

Finding good tradespeople can be a bit of a gamble. Not only do they need the skills and experience to complete the job correctly but you also need someone who can turn up when they say they will, protect your property, be honesty and charge you fairly and someone who can communicate effectively to find out what needs to be done and explain any options effectively.

My advise would be to look on review sites like checkatrade.com. But don’t just go with the first person you find with a high score. Take the time to speak to a few a choose one that you think you can trust. Also make sure that the engineer is covered by public liability insurance and if he is to be working on gas, check that he is a member of the gas safe register (this is a requirement by law to work on gas).

Sludge, debris and magnetite build up in central heating systems are one of the biggest causes of boiler breakdown and component malfunction.

Poorly installed or maintained systems will develop this sludge  leading to breakdown, poor efficiency, noise and reduced life span of components.

Power flushing  a central heating system and gas boiler properly Is a big job but one worth doing. It should take at least around day to do it properly dependant on system size and design. It also requires an expensive pumping machine with filters and hoses as well as Chemicals used in the breakdown of sludge and prevention of sludge build up in the future.  Chemicals can be added to the system early to aid breakdown of sludge before flushing commences.
Even the best and maintained central heating systems develop small amounts of magnetite or sludge over time. If even one flake of debris enters a boiler it can cause a breakdown and engineer to be called out.

Thats why we recommend filters for all new installations. Market leaders Spirotrap have produced the MB3 Magnabooster. Its solid high tech design removes both magnetic and non magnetic particles from the heating system.

Be aware though that a filter should never be used to resolve a problem with sludge, only a power flush can do this. A filter is purely a last defence to protect your boiler from any stray particles that might enter it.

For energy efficiency all central heating and boiler systems should have at least one form of time control and one form of temperature control. The later could be in the form of thermostatic radiator valves or an electronic room thermostat.

Beyond these standard types of control we now have the advantage of boilers that can be controlled remotely via an app. Also weather compensating controls which improve energy efficiency by regulating the boiler based upon information from local weather station received by wifi.

Vsmart controls from vaillant can achieve all of this is in one package, connected directly to the boiler.

Thermostatic radiator valves are a great product particularly for larger properties or where rooms may be rarely used. They can be set up along with other control to help mange your gas consumption and save you money over the long term.
Assuming that your  gas appliance is well maintained, I would not recommend turning your boiler off when you go away. Instead set the heating to stay on but only at a very low temperature. This will help to keep the damp at bay and prevent freezing during the winter months.
If you are going away for longer periods of time i would recommend taking the advise of a professional.