The Online Boiler Quotation Madness

25 Apr. 2019

Written by Neil Marsh MCIPHE RP RHP EngTech

When we provide new boiler quotations in Cheltenham, Gloucester, Tewkesbury, Stroud and the other areas we serve, we only follow tried and true methods…

Avoid The Madness! 

There are some companies out there that are providing quotations based on you providing them with a limited amount of information and possibly some photographs. It is complete madness! 

When you ask for a company to come and replace your boiler, should they advise you the wrong equipment, it is going to cost you. The correct type of boiler and the central heating system has to be accounted for to ensure maximum efficiency and optimal performance. A conclusion for which is best for each situation can only be worked out from an accurate inspection of your property, existing central heating system and a detailed discussion with the homeowner. When the installer doesn’t do what is in your best interest, then it costs the user more money and often the central system does not work satisfactorily. 

The Reasons Online Quotes Exist 

There is only one reason why companies are doing online quotations, and that is to benefit them. Online quotes do not require salespeople, which reduces companies expenditure significantly, allowing them to make more profit per sale. It also can increase their numbers of sales as it misguides people into thinking they can go without the hassle of having one or more quotes and get the issue resolved quickly, praying on their lack of knowledge and convenience. 

Without an experienced eye, mistakes are nearly always made with new central heating system and boiler installations, and often they will come at the cost of the user. Usually, this either results in substandard work which effects such things as performance, efficiency, reliability and invalidates warranties or leads to extra charges for the homeowner. Generally speaking, this is how these companies work: 

  • They provide loosely worded contractual agreement in the form of a quotation, much of which the typical customer will not understand but sign anyway.  
  • You pay them a non-refundable deposit, and they start the work at a point in time that is agreed.
  • The engineers that will be doing the boiler/central heating installation work will either be contractors or employed engineers who have very little information about the job until they arrive. Regardless of which grounds they supply work for the company, they are under time constraints. The contractors have to be able to do it in a certain amount of time for it to be worth their while, whereas the employed engineers are pressured into deadlines differently. Either way, they are generally working under pressure to get it done and have work booked in as soon as your job is expected to finish. This working philosophy encourages corners to be cut and issues not to be raised to the customer.
  • Where the engineers do raise issues with the customer when they hit a problem with the property which was not picked up on the survey, they contact the office who will then raise charges for the work. Even if no charges where made, delays to work being completed could occur. Common areas where installers find faults from poorly undertaken surveys are gas pipe sizing, flue issue, roof issues, boiler location issues, scale/sediment/sludge issues, preexisting flaws with other aspects of your central heating installation and pipework routing issues due to the fabric of the building. 

These companies will nearly always provide quotes for the work that has requested which have been written in such a way that can easily allow them to charge you for anything they have not specified or anything “unforeseeable”. There are undoubtedly many things that could be considered unforeseeable when companies have provided people with a boiler quotation without coming to your property. Often they will have included in the terms and conditions they have supplied the customer that aspects of the job which were unforeseeable during the quotation process they can charge for.

What many people fail to understand is that central heating system work is a complicated affair, and things are rarely straightforward, especially within gas central heating systems as they are heavily regulated.

Companies that quote like this only care about one thing and that is their turn over and profit margins. The more boilers and central heating systems they install with the lowest operational costs the better. The vaguer they are with aspects of the wording in their quotations and/or the more complicated their terms and conditions, the more they can charge as extras to the customer. 

Use Your Sense!

Be honest with yourself, how can a company with a handful of photographs that you have taken and a limited amount of information from someone who is not a qualified and experienced central heating professional know the following and provide you with an accurate quotation:

  1. That the boiler’s proposed location is adequate.
  2. That the gas supply to the boiler and other gas appliances is sufficient.
  3. The flow rate of the water in the property to size combination boilers properly.
  4. The pressures at the property to ensure the boiler/hot water system will work correctly.
  5. The flues route and termination is correct.
  6. If the system is suffering from sludge/scale/sediment issues and is there any issues that could prevent a power flush from working correctly where required.
  7. The central heating system they be installing be compatible with your existing plumbing equipment, such as showers.
  8. That they route the pipework through the places they intend, so, for example, solid floors apposed to suspended floors.
  9. If there is any asbestos present that may require you to have an asbestos removal team brought in before they will start/complete the work.
  10. That the mains supplies into the property adequate for what they are proposing to install?
  11. That the electrics to the controls suitable.
  12. That the condensate pipework cab be routed easily or does special equipment/provisions that have not been accounted for.
  13. That the existing heating system suitable for that particular boiler they have specified.

The list goes on. 

I can assure you that the examples given above will most likely be chargeable and may be several hundreds of pounds more or more. So when these issues are brought to the customer’s attention, these companies have their deposit money and the user may have no heating and hot water, which puts the homeowner in a desperate predicament. Why take the risk of paying more money and having the associated problems from the delays? 

Always make sure that you get central heating and boiler quotations from companies that send experienced engineers, not sales people, to advise you on what is best for you and your situation.

For all your boiler replacement quotes in Cheltenham, Gloucester, Tewkesbury and the surrounding areas, including central heating installation work, contact ourselves at the details at the top or bottom of this page. We will always advise you on what is best for you and your situation, and give you a highly competitive quote for the work.