What to do if your boiler breaks down

Follow this helpful advice for a fast and easy solution

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Don’t panic if the worst happens – follow this helpful advice for a fast and easy solution.

The cost of repairing boiler breakdowns is a concern for a quarter of householders, a recent survey by Gocompare.com has revealed. When asked how they would pay for a £300 bill, only 27 per cent said that they had money set aside for such an emergency. A further 23 per cent said they had taken out specific boiler cover, while 10 per cent revealed they would have to rely on a credit card.

Determine whether the boiler is broken

It’s possible that the boiler isn’t broken but just needs to be reset. There are simple and safe checks that you can conduct yourself to identify whether the problem can be fixed. Visit British Gas or HomeServe for step-by-step guides on what to do and whether you need to call out an engineer.

Check whether you’re covered

Many householders could be insured for emergency boiler repairs under their home buildings policy. However, policies may only be valid if your boiler has been serviced by a qualified person within the last 12 months, so make sure you check the details

If you’ve taken out specialist boiler insurance you should be covered for emergency repairs and an annual service. These services generally cover repairs to the boiler, and some also cover boiler replacement, dependent on the model’s age.

Find out if you qualify for a free replacement

Under the Government’s ECO scheme, if you’re receiving certain benefits, including Pension Credit and Child Tax Credits, you may qualify for a new boiler. To be eligible, you must be the homeowner, private tenant or a landlord applying on behalf of your tenant, your property must have mains gas, and the boiler must be more than eight years old or broken and/or faulty. Visit boilergrants.org.uk to apply.

Contact an engineer

‘It’s essential that you don’t attempt to carry out work on the boiler yourself,’ advises British Gas engineer Shaunagh Brown. ‘Doing so can be very dangerous and will invalidate any insurance policy.’ If your boiler isn’t protected by your household insurance or specific boiler cover, you should contact a local engineer who is legally qualified by Gas Safe registration (for details, see the Gas Safe Register).

Protect for the future

With an average cost of £469 for repairs, and £2,300 for replacement, boilers are one of the most expensive items in the home to maintain. ‘Keeping your boiler in good condition by having it serviced regularly is the best option,’ says Shaunagh, ‘not only ensuring the boiler is in good working order, but maximising its efficiency, saving you money on future energy bills.’ Limiting your boiler use could also be hugely beneficial in the long term. ‘Do not run your boiler unnecessarily when you are not in the house for a long period,’ she adds. ‘And if you notice minor problems or small leaks, you should never ignore them.’

Read: 5 tips to stay gas safe