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The Simple Landlords guide to boiler care this winter

As the weather gets colder and the winter wears on, your boiler is going to get a proper work out. In fact it’s actually in February that we see the most boiler breakdowns.

Last year nearly a fifth of households had at least one boiler breakdown, and UK families paid out more than £780 million for boiler repairs - averaging out at £270 per repair.

What’s more, most boiler breakdowns require two visits before things are back up and running - one to diagnose the problem and a second to come back with the appropriate part. That’s potentially a long time for your tenants to be left in the cold.

Making sure your boiler is in tip top condition this Winter could save you and them a lot of time and hassle. So here are our 6 top tips for boiler care:

1. Book a service

  • Check when your boiler is due to be serviced, and if it’s sometime this winter, why not get it in early to troubleshoot any problems?
  • Make sure to use a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer.

2. Book an inspection

  • Even if you’re not due a service, make sure you include your boiler on your next inspection. Just remember to give tenants 24 hours notice in writing.
  • Look out for half heated radiators, excessive noise, or any leaks or drips.
  • Don’t forget to check the thermostat, and watch the boiler pressure as the central heating and hot water turn on.
  • Spotting problems early really could stop them becoming bigger and more inconvenient issues down the line!

3. Get a carbon monoxide detector

  • The Government recommends ensuring that working carbon monoxide alarms are installed in all rooms with gas appliances.
  • Carbon monoxide alarms with sealed batteries have a shelf life of around 5-7 years - so make sure existing alarms aren’t out of date. Alarms with replaceable batteries only last around 3 years.
  • Check the alarms before each new tenancy, and as part of your regular inspections.

4. Consider Home Emergency Cover

  • Home Emergency Cover is designed to get your home emergencies sorted quickly and easily.
  • Products usually range from simple boiler breakdown to more extensive policies which might cover other appliances or emergencies.

5. Have a plan

  • Make sure your tenants know who to contact in an emergency! Is it you, your agent, or your trusted plumber?
  • Lots of landlords have a preferred supplier. Just make sure your insurance company approves who’s doing the work before it starts if you’re making a claim.
  • Have a back-up plan. What’s going to happen to your tenants if the boiler fix takes a long time? Do you have alternative accommodation cover under your insurance policy? Do you have electric heaters which can be used in a pinch?
  • Always make sure that any interim measures or appliances you or your tenants introduce are PAT tested, and used safely.

6. Check your policy

  • Check your insurance policy to make sure you know what you’re covered for. It’s really easy to forget that you took out something like boiler cover as an extra, and to forget to use it when you’re entitled to!
  • Read the small print, and make sure you’re not buying a product you can’t use. Some policies won’t cover your boiler if it’s over a certain age, for instance, or if it hasn’t been serviced recently.

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