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Servicing your boiler at least once a year is much more than just a basic safety check. It also helps you ensure that it’s operating effectively, as well as making sure any seals and gaskets aren’t showing any early signs of wear and tear.

 

Can’t I just check the boiler myself?

Whilst it’s always advisable to keep an eye on your boiler throughout the year (and not just during the winter months, when most families tend to start relying on it more); it’s important to have your boiler checked and serviced by an approved Gas Safe registered engineer.

The Gas Safe Register contains a list of approved businesses that are legally authorised to carry out gas work. You can quickly check for your nearest engineer by following his link: https://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/find-an-engineer/

To ensure your boiler is fully covered, you also need to check the terms of your warranty since failure to have your boiler serviced every 12 months could lead to it being invalid. This can be extremely costly should anything go wrong. Remember, a faulty boiler will not only waste money on energy but could also start leaking poisonous carbon monoxide. Unfortunately, because gas is both colourless and scentless this can often be difficult, if not impossible, to detect.

 

What can I expect from a boiler service?

If you have any specific concerns about your boiler, or the way it’s performing, then always be sure to discuss these with your chosen engineer. Other than that, the service should include a check of the heat exchanger; together with other parts of the boiler such as the flue – just to make sure that everything’s operating as it should and above all, safely.

During the service, your engineer is likely to check the different components, clean, test and undertake pre-emptive faul spotting.

 

Are there different types of boilers and does this make any difference to the service?

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Yes: boilers can either have an open flue (which is a vertical, chimney-style version) or a balanced flue (which are horizontal and will run through your wall).

Because most open-flued appliances can easily allow combustion products to enter your home when something goes wrong with the flue (or even the ventilation); they sadly tend to cause more deaths resulting from carbon monoxide. For this reason it’s advisable to get the boiler serviced every 12 months since problems such as these aren’t usually noticeable to the naked eye.
Balanced flues, on the other hand, tend to be much less critical since flue problems are not only much rarer but usually less serious. What’s more, because they draw clean fresh air from the outside the burner airways don’t attract lint accumulations of the usual household elements such as carpet fibres, pet hairs and so on. This also means that cleaning needs to be done less often that open-flued alternatives.

 

What do I need to look for in an engineer?

Other than being Gas Safe registered, always be sure you understand exactly what your engineer is going to do. Unfortunately, whilst some companies offer an “annual safety check” this doesn’t necessarily mean that your boiler will be serviced; so always be sure to ask what the service does (and doesn’t) include.

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There’s no doubt that solar panels have taken off in a big way in the UK over recent years; in May 2017 a new record was set with electricity generated from solar panels exceeding nuclear power generation for the first time by producing a quarter of all the UK’s electricity .This is no accident, with solar panels continuing to expand at the rate they have done this record will continue to be broken as solar power continues to thrive.

Price

Once considered an accessory for the well off, home solar panels are now a common sight throughout the country. This has been spearheaded by government subsidies and incentives first put in place in 2010 to encourage more homeowners to invest in the technology.

Solar is seen as a key resource for the nations that have signed up to the Paris Climate Agreement and is now receiving major investment as a result. This has seen a rapid improvement in the technology and a reduction in price in a very short space of time. With home solar panels now costing between £3000 and £7000 they are much more readily available; a few years ago a similar setup would have cost up to £15,000. With little to no on-going maintenance costs throughout the solar panels lifespan they are proving to be a worthwhile investment for those that gone ahead with the installation.

 

Return on investment

With solar panels for your home it pays to go for the biggest that you can both afford and fit on your roof space. For example if you were to install a 4 kW setup it would cost around £4,500 – 7,000 and give you a return of around £70 a year from the governments feed in tariff. Savings on your bills could be as much as £200 a year meaning that overall, the panels will pay for themselves in 12 – 15 years.

Once the installation cost has been paid off everything you save or make is profit. With the current design life of solar panels at approximately 25 years that’s at least 10 years that you will be making money from your solar panels.

 

Some of the benefits that have seen an increase in solar panel installation include:

  • No planning permission is required
  • The larger your panels the better your return and the quicker you start making profit
  • With energy bills set to continue to increase these savings will likely only get bigger
  • A one off set up cost
  • No on-going maintenance costs
  • By 2020 it is predicted that 10 million homes in the UK will have solar panels installed, today the figure is around 1.5 million so the huge increase in projected growth is clear to see. With the UK currently installing solar panels faster than any other European country they now stand fourth in terms of the total number of solar panel systems installed to date. Despite the weather solar power is now seen as a reliable, cheap and environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuel production.

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