We may live in a throwaway society – you’ll find perfectly serviceable TVs, PCs and home furnishings junked at your local council recycling point – but few of us would consider trading in the family car because it needed an oil change or an MOT. We might exchange it when a repair bill is going to cost us more than its resale value, but on the whole we consider regular servicing and maintenance of our vehicles a good investment.
It’s strange then that, by and large, few take the same view of their boiler and central heating system. Harpers’ customers are the obvious exception, but the general view, regrettably, is to fit it and forget it until its silts up or breaks down – and then replace it!
If you’re an eccentric millionaire, fine. But you’ve only got to do the calculations to realise that it doesn’t add up. A new boiler, typically, will cost you in the region of £1,500. An annual service to keep it in good running order will only cost you around £65, giving your system a working lifetime of between 15 and 35 years, as opposed to as little or two or three if you leave it unattended.
Nor is it just a matter of longevity or cost saving. An un-serviced boiler is an inefficient boiler, which makes a hot bath or shower on demand a rare luxury. Worse still, it could become dangerous: every year around 4000 people go to A&E with carbon monoxide poisoning due to leaking boilers.
As we’ve often remarked in this blog, prevention is better than cure, and if conducted on a regular basis is relatively quick, simple and economical. The three golden rules we follow in the business are ‘Clean, Protect & Maintain’.
At Harpers our after sales service begins immediately after boilers and central heating systems are installed. We flush the system through – with mains or power pressure flushing as necessary, to clear any residue that may have accumulated during manufacture or installation.
The biggest problem with boiler and central heating systems is, ironically, the easiest to cure. And that, believe it or not, is: sludge, the accumulated silt and metallic particles that settles in tanks and pipework. Clearing it is the first procedure we undertake in all service calls.
Preventive maintenance is the most cost effective, so next we top up the system with a chemical inhibitor that helps prevent corrosion or the build-up of limescale. Filtration devices are now also available for this purpose.
This is not, of course, a one off treatment. The concentration of the inhibitor needs to be checked and maintained at regular intervals, and the annual service is the ideal time to do this. This is particularly important in hard water areas like Hertfordshire.