Why is a boiler like a car?
When speaking to householders about boiler maintenance, it can be difficult to convince them to go the extra mile. A boiler needs to be serviced regularly to keep it safe and efficient, but how can installers communicate this to customers? Having transitioned into heating from the automotive industry, Alisdair Cumming, research development manager at Baxi, explains how to convince homeowners that a boiler is like a car.
Whilst installers are fully aware of the importance of boiler servicing, the same cannot often be said of consumers. Although most people readily accept the necessity of regular vehicle checks, there is less awareness of the needs of a boiler - and the consequences of skipping the annual service.
A useful comparison is boiler operating hours versus miles driven. Running a boiler for over a year without a service is much like driving a car for 100,000 miles without a check-up, a risk which very few drivers would run.
For some homeowners, the dangers of missing a boiler service are unclear. This is in part due to lack of public knowledge around the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning. Around 50 people die each year from CO poisoning and another 4,000 are treated in hospital, a figure which demonstrates the seriousness of a badly adjusted boiler.
Given that the most common sources of excessive CO in the home are faulty gas appliances, this is a good way of highlighting to customers the safety benefits of regular boiler servicing.
A further consideration is the effect that missing a service can have on a warranty. Much like a car warranty or vehicle insurance, necessary maintenance must be conducted to retain protection, and an annual service is generally a condition of a boiler warranty.
During the handover of a new boiler we would urge heating engineers to explain that an annual service must be undertaken by a Gas Registered engineer for it to be valid. For a Baxi boiler to be eligible for a warranty it must be registered within 30 days of installation, and the Benchmark checklist must be completed. Once a new boiler is registered on our installer loyalty scheme Baxi Works, we send out a yearly reminder on behalf of the installer, so the customer knows it's time to arrange a service.
Although customers may be reluctant to undertake annual servicing, installers have plenty of ammunition available to illustrate the benefits and save homeowners potential problems further down the line.