Servicing and boiler health tips

Servicing and boiler health tips

As an industry, we all understand the importance of regular boiler servicing. However, for homeowners, the significance of routine maintenance may be less clear cut, and this can make it difficult to ensure the appropriate processes are carried out as often as they should be. Steve Owen, National Training Manager at Baxi, discusses some top tips on how to broach the topic of servicing and boiler health.

The number one reason for a homeowner to have their gas boiler serviced regularly is safety. Unfortunately, consumer awareness of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is thought to be generally low across the UK. Therefore, it is important for heating engineers to explain to their customers that unsafe gas appliances (e.g. those that have been incorrectly fitted, badly repaired or poorly maintained) can produce this highly poisonous gas.

One of the easiest ways to talk to customers about why boiler servicing is important is to talk to them about the boiler’s performance. An annual service will keep a boiler performing to optimum efficiency and reliability – which in the long term will reduce energy costs and the likelihood of a breakdown. This is especially true of winter breakdowns, and ultimately gives it a longer serviceable life, saving the homeowner money and minimising disruption.

An annual service is usually a condition of a boiler warranty – which is another important reason why the homeowner should invest. Today, boilers come with lengthy warranties. Long warranties should be seen as a sign of reliability – they offer homeowners peace of mind and take away the expense if things should go wrong – and are therefore a big benefit.

Homeowners should therefore be encouraged to take advantage of warranties, but unfortunately only 40 to 50% of Baxi boilers sold are registered – meaning there are huge numbers of homeowners missing out. During the handover of a new boiler, we would strongly urge installers to explain what the warranty covers and that an annual service must be undertaken by a Gas Safe registered engineer for it to be valid. It could be useful to refer to the automotive industry, as no one would expect their car to still be under warranty if the service schedule had been ignored.

Social media
Social media is a great tool for promoting your business and services, but it’s also ideal for sharing your knowledge with customers. A Facebook business page or Twitter account is perfect for sharing bits of advice on things like why and how often customers should get their boiler serviced, and what to do with it during the summer.

Fear factor
For some, it can be more effective to outline what could go wrong if their boiler isn’t serviced to really get the message across. You could think about asking the homeowner to imagine the effect that avoiding servicing their vehicle has on the way it runs. A boiler runs for many more hours than a car and is put under substantial stresses, particularly during the cold winter months – yet homeowners are far less likely to think about having it checked. After all, we wouldn’t drive a car without getting the brakes tested, so why would we expect our boilers to run non-stop at high temperatures without a proper service?

Additional guidance
Earlier this year, HHIC produced a boiler servicing guide for homeowners. It could prove to be a persuasive tool as the guide demonstrates that what the installer is saying is backed up by an industry body, and is not just a sales pitch. Pointing customers in the direction of the guide will also help them to understand boiler-related jargon and what exactly they are getting for their money.

The fact of the matter is that annual boiler services deliver many benefits to homeowners, while also providing heating engineers with a steady revenue stream throughout the year. By explaining the essential nature of regular servicing, it should be easier to persuade customers to invest.

The installer’s view
Steve Owen also spoke to installers about their top tips for communicating the essential nature of boiler servicing to customers, and how to ensure each service is conducted to the best possible standard.

Keith Harrison – Harrisons of Burwell Ltd
“I use Facebook and other social media platforms to show the sort of issues we come across when boilers aren’t serviced properly. It’s much easier to show people what can happen rather than confusing customers with technical jargon about servicing in general.”

Vikash Patel – i-Fix Gas & Heating
“You service your car to keep it running correctly; servicing a boiler regularly will also keep it running safely and for longer.”

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