The types of boiler commonly found in residential houses and flats essentially fall into four different categories.
So-called condensing boilers differ from their non-condensing, or regular, predecessors insofar as they extract more heat energy from fuel – whether it be gas, oil or any other fuel – and so are cheaper to run and more environmentally friendly.
Combi, or combination, boilers (which may, or may not, be condensing) heat water directly, on demand and so requires no hot water storage tank, while a system boiler includes an expansion vessel and circulating pump within the confines of the boiler, itself, rather than separately.
The first thing to say about boiler servicing is that it should be performed by a registered heating engineer. Anyone carrying out work on a gas boiler, for example, must be on the Gas Safe Register, which replaced the CORGI (“Council for Registered Gas Installers”) in April, 2009.
The elements of a boiler service include checks that a boiler is installed according to appropriate regulations and is working not only safely, but correctly and efficiently as per the instructions supplied by the manufacturer. Performing the necessary checks safely requires specialist tools and training so boiler servicing is something best left to professionals.
Annual Boiler Servicing
If your boiler is over 12 months old, the manufacturer recommends that for optimum efficiency and reliability you have it serviced every year. This will give you peace of mind that your boiler is safe, has no leaks and burns correctly.
Boiler Servicing – Carbon Monoxide Risk
Thankfully, incidents of leaks, explosion or carbon monoxide poisoning are few and far between, but the regular servicing of a boiler reduces the likelihood of such occurrences still further. Carbon monoxide, for example, is particularly insidious, because it is colourless, odourless, yet deadly in concentrations of just 150ppm if exposure to the gas is protracted. It is a common misconception that carbon monoxide poisoning can only be caused by gas appliances; it can, in fact, be caused by any fossil fuel appliance if that appliance, or its flue, is faulty, or if it is operated without adequate ventilation.
Other obvious dangers aside, regular servicing means that a boiler is free of dirt and deposits that can decrease its efficiency and increase domestic fuel bills. Of course, there is little point in having your boiler working to maximum efficiency if the heat it produces is lost through your roof, walls and floor because your home is not properly insulated.