5 tips to keep your boiler in top condition and your repair costs low
I know that it’s been the hottest summer on record (though those who were around in 1976 may disagree with official statistics) and that an Indian summer could be around the corner, but now is the perfect time for buy-to-let landlords to start thinking about preparing their properties for winter.
One of the most costly and common expenses for buy-to-let landlords during colder weather is a boiler breakdown. In this article, you’ll learn our top tips to keep your properties’ boilers running through the winter.
How long do boilers last?
The average life of a boiler in the UK is around 15 years. But to keep it in a good working order it should be serviced regularly. In a survey by a consumer organisation, it was found that almost half of boilers become faulty in the first six years and that the average repair cost is £188. Typical problems include:
- Leaks from the pipes and the boiler
- Switching off by itself
- Control panels not working properly
Should you buy boiler insurance?
I found that many buy-to-let landlords buy boiler insurance, though it questions whether this is good value for money. While the boiler insurance may include an annual service, two-thirds of those with insurance didn’t need a repair made.
Which I also found that 93% of buy-to-let landlords would be better off by £50 without boiler insurance, though by how much can vary upon the age of the boiler.
If not boiler insurance, then what?
The typical cost of a landlord’s boiler insurance is above £200 per year. This may give you peace of mind, especially with older boilers and the likelihood of expensive repairs. This should also ensure that emergency repairs are made when they are most needed – and this is likely to be in the depths of winter. It’s comforting to know that your tenants shouldn’t be too long without warmth if the boiler does break down.
On the other hand, with such a high percentage of landlords spending more on boiler insurance than they would need to spend on repairs, you may decide to follow these five tips to ensure you meet your legal obligations of keeping your boiler well maintained and fit for purpose:
1. Get your boiler serviced once per year
This isn’t only good practice, it’s also a legal requirement to ensure your property is gas safe. Organising annual gas safety checks and arranging for Energy Performance Certificates are among the comprehensive services we offer to buy-to-let landlords.
2. Keep heating on low and insulate pipes
Tell your tenants to keep the heating on low during the autumn and winter. If there is a sudden cold snap, the external pipes could freeze, and this could cause the boiler to break down. Insulating all pipework will also help to prevent this.
3. Bleed the radiators
Air often gets trapped inside the heating system, especially during periods where radiators are not needed. Before firing the heating system up for the colder weather ahead, bleed your radiators. This should ensure that they heat evenly. If they don’t, then you may need to call a plumber.
4. Turn off during long unoccupied periods
If your property is to be unoccupied for an extended period, you should drain the water system and switch all utilities off. BUT, if the property will be empty during the winter, then you should keep your heating on low to stop your pipes from freezing.
5. Remind your tenant to report faults promptly
When you speak to your tenant to explain about keeping the heating on low always, also remind them about their responsibility to report faults promptly. If they spot leaks or cracks or hear strange noises coming from the heating system or boiler, then you want to know straight away.
Not only will this help to ensure that the tenant’s home remains comfortable and warm throughout the winter, it will also ensure that minor maintenance costs do not become large repair bills.
Live with passion,