Yes it might sound ridiculous, but, the coronavirus has given way to a new pandemic – and, as well as your health it could be affecting boilers across the country.
With uncertainty shrouding the country, people facing difficult lockdown rules and self-isolation, life as we knew it seemed to ebb away to a distant memory. But, as well as abandoning our daily routines for furlough and face masks, we also started to neglect our boilers.
Delaying repairs or servicing to your boiler could be extremely hazardous and even dangerous – and the worry now is that there could be hundreds, even thousands, of under-maintained boilers that could be causing health problems, or even worse fatalities.
If you or your boiler are suffering from either of these three things, you might want to call on the services of a gas engineer straight away!
“It is not an essential service”
Whilst we regularly celebrated front line workers, heating engineers were often forgotten about during the coronavirus pandemic. Amazing doctors and nurses fought hard to keep people healthy, but, gas engineers had a vital job too – ensuring that heating systems remain safe at a time when we were spending the most time at home during national lockdowns.
In spite of this, people viewed boiler servicing as a non-essential service as they became nervous about who they let into their homes.
Whilst delaying repairs and servicing to a boiler can take its toll on your health – with risks such as carbon monoxide poisoning – it can also be costly on your finances. One area often overlooked is a regular clean of the boiler system, which can often leak or corrode, causing damage to walls, floors and ceilings where pipes are housed. Limescale can also cause an issue, causing “sludge” in the system to back up, causing the boiler to fail. it can also limit the boiler’s capacity to work properly, which makes it inefficient – but also costs more to run. The problem is super easy to fix and simply requires a chemical flush-through to keep the system working properly, and it would have probably been picked up during a boiler’s annual service.
Regular servicing will keep your boiler operating efficiently, meaning it is much less likely to break down and lead to costly repairs later on. It’s always a good idea to service your boiler in the summer months when it is not being used as much for heating, so that any issues can be sorted before you come to rely on it during the winter. According to a recent survey by Which, more than 50% of boiler breakdowns occur in the winter, equating to just over 2.5 million UK households suffering a heating failure. The average cost to get a boiler back up and running is £200, which means those additional households will have paid around £60 million in repairs (source: https://www.hvpmag.co.uk/Lockdown-triggers-UK-boiler-breakdown-surge-Hometree-says/12414).
This is why heating engineers are in high demand during the winter as they attend emergency call outs for repairs or new boiler installations. Therefore, if you get ahead during the summer months, you are less likely to experience a boiler breakdown during the winter months – and face delays waiting for a busy heating engineer to come and fix your boiler for you.
So, if you still don’t think heating engineers offer an essential service, you might want to think again!
People put servicing on hold
If you were one of those people thinking boiler servicing and repairs were not essential, you weren’t alone. According to a survey by Rated People, demand for installing, servicing and repairing boilers plummeted by more than a third (34%) during the pandemic, compared to the year previous. Not only were people concerned about isolation from the virus, Rated People’s findings showed that people were also trying to rein in spending at a time when there may have been concerns about job security or furlough cutting income.
However, the cost of neglecting boilers could be significantly more in the long run – and not just financially. Boiler servicing keeps them safe as early detection from dangerous issues such as carbon monoxide can save lives.
According to the NHS website, there are nearly 60 deaths every year caused by carbon monoxide poisoning – and they are all entirely preventable. The website goes on to explain that carbon monoxide is deadly because it enters your bloodstream when you breathe in and mixes with red blood cells to form a substance called carboxyhemoglobin. This substance prevents the blood from being able to carry oxygen, causing the body’s cells and tissue to fail and die (source: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/carbon-monoxide-poisoning/)
That may be hard to hear from such a graphic description, however, the most frightening thing is that carbon monoxide is completely undetectable through taste or smell – hence why it is widely known as the silent killer. It can make you feel extremely unwell and is often fatal – but again, the solution is simple. Installing a carbon monoxide alarm near to your boiler and regular servicing will help significantly reduce the chances of becoming seriously ill or dying from carbon monoxide poisoning.
That’s why, if you’ve been putting boiler maintenance or repairs on hold, it is more important than ever that you get it serviced asap.
“We thought they weren’t allowed to get it done”
As well as putting servicing on hold due to uncertainty surrounding essential work, lockdown “stay at home” messaging saw people thinking they had to isolate themselves in their own household bubbles. So, they put their boiler replacements or repairs on hold, thinking they were doing the right thing.
Heating engineers have been operating throughout the pandemic – and their work was permitted to continue. Advice from the government, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Gas Safe Register is that safety checks must continue to keep boilers working properly.
This means there are people out there who have put off having their boiler serviced for so long that they may be tempted to wait until the next service date comes around. But why wait and potentially deprive your home of heating and hot water? Plus, if you’ve recently had a new boiler installed, delaying a service could invalidate your warranty.
To keep everyone safe our engineers at KOZIWARM used more PPE and kept socially distanced from customers. Most chose to open front or back doors to allow us in to assess boilers, while they could remain socially distanced in another room.
We were also careful to wipe down any surfaces we touched, even while using gloves, and changed all PPE between visits. So, if you’re worried or concerned, we will do everything we can to put customers’ minds at ease. But, please don’t be tempted to delay those all-important repairs or maintenance. Particularly as we come out the other side of the pandemic and back to some sort of “normal” life, it can be tempting to put those plans on hold, but if anything, it’s even more important.
More people look to spend more time at home even after lockdown lifts, with more people beginning home-based working, it is more important that boilers get serviced. It is predicted that the pandemic has seen heating use increase by around 12%, increasing household bills to around an average of £55 per month. Now is the time to do all you can to ensure your boiler is working efficiently – and safely.
Click here to get a quote for a repair or a new boiler and see how KOZIWARM can make a difference to your home.