Looking after the heating system

Looking after the heating system

New research from Adey Professional Heating Solutions highlights multiple benefits for installers who provide advice to their customers to help them understand why looking after their heating system is so important, explains CEO John Vaughan.

Clear communication
Communication is perhaps the most fundamental and underestimated skill required by installers to ensure they are able to do their job to the highest possible standard. Not only does it help to build a rapport with customers, more importantly it can create a relationship built on trust, which is essential for securing repeat work, referrals and driving business success.

In recent years, the industry as a whole has been working hard to reinforce the importance of annual boiler servicing and the latest research undertaken by Adey suggests that installers, manufacturers and the wider industry could be making headway in getting this simple maintenance message to resonate with homeowners.

Although our survey of 2,000 UK homeowners reveals that more than a quarter (28%) hadn’t had their boiler serviced in the past 12 months, this was an improvement from 2014/15 when more than a third of people decided to forego an annual service.

However, our research also shows that many installers could still be missing opportunities for some easy business wins. For example, 43% of homeowners surveyed said that they’d had a new boiler fitted in the last five years, but the installer hadn’t provided any advice on how to maintain and protect their heating system to ensure it ran as efficiently as possible for as long as possible.

In addition, we also found that almost a quarter (23%) of homeowners didn’t know that an annual boiler service and ongoing heating system protection could save them money on their heating bills every year. When it comes to making simple improvements to household heating systems, reducing energy costs remains the key driver above anything else.

Manufacturers have an abundance of information that can be easily obtained by installers which they can use to create a talking point with every customer, informing them of the simple steps they can take to save money with minimum investment. For example, the Adey Installers’ Club provides a range of tools to help support business growth and ensure installers have everything at their finger tips to help make their day-to-day working lives easier.

Use your influence
The results of Adey ’s research prove that installers shouldn’t doubt the influence that their expertise can have on their customers’ behaviour. The survey shows the positive influence that installers are having on their customers’ decision to book in a boiler check as almost half (41%) of those who did, had done so because they had received an annual reminder from their local installer. While undoubtedly some will see sending out reminders to a customer database as a mundane administration task, these findings reinforce how effective it can be as a basic marketing measure to secure repeat business.

Installers shouldn’t underestimate the power of using some ‘insider’ knowledge either, which can be used to great effect when trying to get the message across about the importance of best practice boiler maintenance. Our survey revealed a common misconception among homeowners, with most believing tumble dryers, washing machines and kettles are the most energy-hungry appliances in the home. In fact, it has been estimated that a boiler is responsible for around 83% of household energy consumption – useful information that installers can use to encourage homeowners to understand why giving their heating system a bit more TLC is likely to save them money.


Protect with best practice
Starting this conversation with homeowners needn’t be difficult and there are some fundamental and factual things to ask; is their boiler warranty intact? Is their boiler working safely? Has it been checked recently?

If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no’, then the likelihood is that they’ll need some help in managing and protecting the health of their heating system, and Adey ’s Best Practice approach of clean, flush, maintain, protect and test makes this as easy as possible for installers. Each of these steps can be clearly explained and demonstrated to homeowners, showing how they deliver money-saving and energy efficiency benefits.

Best practice not only ensures a heating system is protected from the damaging effects of black iron oxide sludge and corrosion, but it can also bring additional savings for homeowners.

Installing a MagnaClean filter could save 6% on heating energy bills and carbon emissions year-on-year, and the Energy Saving Trust (EST) estimates that using a premium chemical inhibitor can increase boiler efficiency by a further 3% and prevent up to a 15% reduction in the effectiveness of radiators.

Effective magnetic filtration can also reduce maintenance call-outs by up to 37% and help extend the life of a household boiler beyond the average lifespan of 12 to 15 years.

However, best practice should always start with a thorough system clean using MagnaCleanse technology. In preparation, installers should dose the system with a premium quality cleaner formulated specifically to work with the flushing process, such as MC3+ or MC5.

The fifth and final step in this approach is water testing, something which is now being increasingly recognised in the industry as an essential part of the system maintenance process. Adey ’s water testing service, for both mains and system water, offers comprehensive tests which are completed at our UKAS accredited R&D laboratory against a broad range of criteria, including corrosion or scale deposition, pH, contamination and inhibitor levels.

There are many tools at an installer’s disposal which will help them in their conversations with homeowners. It’s not something that should be ignored if you want to highlight how effective a programme of planned service and maintenance can be at reducing energy bills, carbon emissions and ensuring boiler safety. Your customers will reap the benefits, and in turn, so will your business.

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