At your service

For many homeowners, a boiler is a significant purchase, and not always a planned one, so it's important for customers to feel they are getting a good deal when they decide on a replacement. Longer manufacturer's warranties can soften the blow and offer reassurance that, for the next few years at least, the cost of any repairs and labour is covered - no more costly surprises, just reliable heating and hot water.

Each manufacturer's warranty has its own terms and conditions however, which must be adhered to by the homeowner to keep it valid, so it's always worth checking the small print. These terms will often include an obligation to register the warranty with the manufacturer within 30 days of installation, and there will be a requirement for an annual service to ensure the boiler runs safely, and to its optimum performance and efficiency, and that any faults are picked up quickly.

With this is mind, once an installer has fitted a new boiler, the first thing they need to do is discuss the terms of the warranty with the homeowner to ensure they do not unwittingly invalidate the agreement.

While discussing the terms and conditions, installers have a golden opportunity to let the customer know about their service offering. Of course, some customers may be resistant, perhaps understandably, to the idea of an annual service after just paying for a new boiler and installation, but ensuring the boiler is checked regularly actually has many important safety and cost benefits.

It's worth making clear to customers that the number one reason for an annual boiler check is safety. Consumer awareness of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is still thought to be generally low, therefore it is important for installers 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, which can cause serious long term health problems and can be fatal.

It's also worth emphasising that the service must be carried out by a Gas Safe registered installer. For added safety, many warranties also stipulate that any repairs carried out on the boiler must use approved, genuine parts. If non-genuine parts are used, the manufacturer can no longer guarantee the safety of the appliance and the warranty is void.

As well as the safety aspect, an annual service will also help to ensure a boiler performs at its best efficiency and reliability, helping to reduce energy costs and the likelihood of a breakdown - all great selling points that offer the homeowner savings in both the short and long term.

One of the best ways to sell the benefits of an annual boiler service is to ask the homeowners to consider it in much the same way as they would regard a service and MOT for their vehicle. Most people understand there is an ongoing maintenance cost associated with their car, and budget accordingly. When talking about boiler servicing, installers need homeowners to consider the upkeep of their heating system in the same way.

Annual boiler services are more than a requirement of a free manufacturer warranty. They are a platform to inform homeowners about how to keep their heating system efficient and safe, and an opportunity to turn one installation job into a long-standing positive relationship with a customer.