Last year, nearly one in five homes had their boilers break down, costing an average of £245 each time it happened.
It’s getting to that time of year when boiler problems start to crop up, and they can cause some of the worst headaches for landlords – outside of the repair cost.
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Boiler breakdown costing £725 million a year
The research, conducted by USwitch, found that the total cost of broken boilers in the UK was £725 million, which on average is £245 for each boiler breakdown.
Unfortunately, a broken boiler can have knock on effects – or be a symptom of other problems.
Dangerous gas leaks can be part of the breakdown, or it could be caused by broken or frozen pipes, particularly as we head into colder weather.
On top of that, if your boiler is out of action for a while, you may have to provide your tenants with alternative accommodation.
Early warning signs of boiler breakdown
USwitch identified the following early warning signs that something could go wrong with your boiler:
Boiler switching off – if your boiler starts turning itself off, it’s often because of an underlying issues, such as low water pressure, a faulty pump, or air in the central heating system.
Leaks – water coming from your boiler is a tell-tale sign that something’s wrong, and can be because of a problem with an internal pump or valve. In cases like these, it’s important to call someone in as soon as possible, so the surrounding areas don’t get damaged and to make sure there’s no more damage to the boiler itself.
Noise – problems with the boiler’s heat exchanger can lead to unusual banging, hissing or rattling sounds.
Water temperature – not being able to keep hot water at a constant temperature can indicate a problem with the circulator pump – and is inconvenient for anyone wanting to take a shower.
Smelling gas – as well as being an indicator of boiler issues, gas leaks can be very dangerous. In cases like this you (or your tenants) should call the National Gas Emergency number 0800 111 999 immediately. You should then switch off all gas appliances by turning off the supply of gas from the emergency control valve at the gas meter, and open all doors and windows.
Of course, it’s a lot harder to keep your eye on your boiler when you don’t live in the property. But you can advise your tenants to keep an eye out for the above, either by telling them or leaving printed instructions on the boiler. You can also take a look at the boiler when you do your regular inspections.
Getting your insurance sorted
While prevention is better than cure, sometimes things go wrong – particularly in the winter months.
Having a comprehensive landlord insurance policy in place can help, providing cover for things from burst pipes to the cost of giving your tenants temporary accommodation. You can even add in home emergency cover, which gives you access to a 24/7 helpline that you or your tenants can call, as well as £250 towards the repair or replacement of your boiler.