Written by Neil Marsh MCIPHE RP RHP EngTech
There’re many companies in the marketplace offering boiler replacement services. However, if you pay attention to some vital details and ask the right questions, you could help protect yourself from a negative boiler replacement experience, or even worse a cowboy!…
Set out below is FORTHRIGHT’s guide on what questions to ask, and what to look for when seeking out a boiler replacement.
1. Check the company is Gas Safe registered!
Before asking for a representative to attend your property and provide you with a quotation from a specific company, check on the internet, or by calling the Gas Safe Register, to see if that company has been registered with them.
You can do either of these by going to Gas Safe’s website or by calling 0800 408 5500. If the company you are investigating are not Gas Safe registered, DO NOT USE THEM and report them to Gas Safe!
Forthright only provide gas safe registered engineers for all our gas related work, so if you are seeking a boiler replacement in Cheltenham, Gloucester, Tewkesbury or the surrounding areas, we are an ideal company to contact.
2. Is the surveyor qualified with experience?
When the companies representative comes to your property to survey for a quotation, ask the representative if they are the engineer that will be undertaking the work, if not, ask them if they are Gas Safe registered and what experience do they have as a gas engineer.
In most situations, you will either receive an engineer conducting a survey, an ex-engineer who is employed/contracted for surveying, or a sales representative/surveyor. If the person who is undertaking the quotation has never done the job, or/and is not a qualified gas engineer, how can they possibly advise you what is the best appliance/system for your property and conduct a survey correctly when they do not have sufficient experience from doing such work? They may advise you that they have been ‘trained’, but no such training can substitute years of hands-on experience combined with a recognised qualification.
When you have inexperienced representatives undertaking central heating and boiler surveys, what often happens is they fail to get essential aspects of the survey right. So when the engineer(s) arrive to install your new boiler/system, they are often missing critical equipment and are faced with problems they have not accounted for. Situations like this usually lead to the job taking longer than what was planned by the surveyor, as the engineers have more work to do, or/and have to collect additional materials that waste time.
Gas/heating engineers are often working against the clock, and if an engineer is under pressure to get the job done and does not have enough time, or if surveying mistakes cause the job to run into the late hours of the evening, this is when corners are more likely to be cut, and the quality of your boiler/central heating installation could become compromised.
Boiler and central heating installations are often hard work. An engineer who is working hard, but is relaxed in their approach will usually do a far better job than an engineer who is rushing around to meet deadlines. If the company you have requested a quotation from does not send an experienced engineer to survey your property correctly, or if the company provides a quote without a survey, we strongly advise that you do not use such a company to install your heating system.
Forthright undertake detailed surveys of all the properties that they provide quotations too. Highly experienced engineers conduct all of our boiler quotes in Cheltenham, Gloucester and the surrounding areas.
3. Does the surveyor walk the site?
Any representative that is surveying your home should walk they system and inspect the radiators, inspect any cylinders/stores, the existing boiler location, the proposed location(s) for the new boiler(s) as a minimum.
Where they fail to inspect the system thoroughly, it is impossible for them to know what your heat requirements are and what appliance to use.
Another example is if they fail to examine the existing valves are on the radiators how do they know what sizes valves they need to replace them? When this happens, it is likely that when the engineer(s) arrive at the site, they will need to leave and collect further equipment/materials, which will add time to their often already stretched day.
There will always be some oversights in any installation. However, excellent central heating and boiler installation/replacement companies are organised and will do everything they can to minimise wasted time. If a company, while giving a boiler quotation, fails to inspect the full existing heating system and any other place where they will be working, then we strongly advise that you do not use such a company to install your heating system.
4. If your current boiler is operational, did they work on it?
The best method to ensure the gas supply is adequate, for a boiler replacement with a similar product, is to test the working pressure at the boiler when it is at its maximum rate, and ensure that it is adequate. This test can only be undertaken if the boiler is fully operational. However, if the pressure is not tested and an upgrade to your existing gas supply is not specified in your the quotation, it could lead to you having additional costs in the form of “additional work.”
Boilers must not be commissioned if the gas supply to them is inadequate. Should the lack of gas be ignored and the boiler commissioned regardless, this would likely affect the operation and performance of the appliance and could invalidate any warranty you may have with the manufacturer. Only a Gas Safe registered engineer can work on a mains gas or LPG boiler.
Companies that do not examine existing gas supplies, but factor undersized pipework into their quotations, will often add increased costs to their quote to cover such an even. Always opt for companies that are diligent when they survey your property to replace a boiler as it will often save you money.
5. If you intend to have a combination boiler, do they use one of these:
Above is a Weir cup, it is designed to identify how much flow is passing through draw off points, such as taps, at any given time. Combination boilers should be suited to the flow rates present within your property. Where this device is not utilized, you could end up with an under performing boiler or paying over the odds for the installation of a boiler with a higher output than necessary, which can also decrease its efficiency.
6. Did the surveyor take notes?
Many details need to be accounted for to ensure that you get the best solution for your property. If the company representative does not take notes/fill in survey sheets correctly, the likelihood of mistakes increases significantly.
7. Did the company issue you a full written quotation?
Always use a company that takes the time to write out full quotations that detail all significant aspects of the installation. The quote should come with a set of terms and conditions that support the document. Remember, terms and conditions are there to protect you as well as the company that is undertaking the work, they cover the subtle parts of the agreement, when if correctly written, give you a better legal stance in any disputes. Always take the time to read and understand the terms and conditions presented and question any aspects that you do not understand.
We strongly advise that you use companies that issue full written quotations and avoid companies wherever possible that only provide estimates, do not have clear terms and conditions or do not require work to be agreed in writing before work commences.
8. Does the company power flush existing central heating systems as standard?
As of recent years, manufacturers are offering extended warranties as long as ten years in length. We have yet to find a warranty that does not exclude cover for damage caused by sludge/sediment/scale. Where any companies are willing to sell you a boiler replacement onto an existing system without a power flush, which will invalidate the warranty with the manufacturer, to reduce the quoted price or maximize on profits, then it should raise concerns with yourself about the ethics of the company.
By not power flushing the system in such an instance, you are running a severe risk of sludge/scale/sediment causing issues with the boiler in the future. It will often cost you more money in the long run as you will have to pay to repair the boiler from related damage as the warranty from the manufacturer would likely be invalidated in such a situation.
When installing a new boiler onto an existing system, we advise that you always have the system power flushed to approved codes of practices at the same time. In addition to repair costs, scale, sludge and sediment present within a heating system will often lead to higher fuel costs and decreased efficiency.
For more information about power flushing, click here!
Forthright always offer power flushes as standard when installing new boilers onto existing central heating systems. We also provide power flushing services to central heating systems that are having issues as a result of scale/sediment/sludge.
See our “Rates & Payments” page for up-to-date competitive power flushing prices.
9. How long do quotations take to be issued?
Waiting extended periods from requesting a quote to receiving a quotation in writing is never a good sign, a company should be offering to attend quickly to survey the property, and the written quote should be issued to you in writing within a few days. Long delays could be a negative insight into the operation of the business.
Contact Forthright today for a boiler replacement in Gloucester, Cheltenham, Tewkesbury and the county of Gloucestershire. We can be contacted via the details provided at the top and bottom of this page.