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Posted on 16 May 2022

How To Save Money On Your Energy Bills

With the cost of living at its highest in a decade, and over 22 million people affected by the recent increase in household energy bills, it’s more important than ever to save money where you can.

We know it’s not always easy to make change – especially when they cost money – so we’ve put together some ideas to help.

Quick wins

None of these ideas will cost you any money but will help you save both energy and money in the long run.

  • Turn off your lights while they’re not in use and save around £20 a year
  • Filling your kettle with only the water you need to save you £11 a year
  • Reducing your washing machine usage by 1 run a week and using a 30°C cycle could save you around £28 a year and avoiding tumble dryer usage wherever possible can save £60 a year
  • Run your dishwasher only when completely full to reduce the amount of water you use and cut down by one run a week and you’ll save £14
  • Switch your appliances off – don’t leave them in standby mode – and you’ll save approximately £55 a year
  • Turn your thermostat down by one degree and you’ll save £105 a year (be sure your home is warm enough during cold weather though, especially if you have young or vulnerable people living there)
  • Spend one less minute in the shower each day and save £75 a year on your bills (plus an extra £60 if your water is metered)
  • Ditch the bath: based on a family of 4, if you each replaced 1 bath a week with a 5-minute shower, you’ll save up to £20 a year on gas and water bills

Total potential savings = £448

Small initial cost

If you’ve worked your way through the above list and can afford to spend a little money to save more, you can:

  • Replace your lightbulbs with energy-efficient LEDs. These use around 90% less energy than a traditional lightbulb and can last up to 30 years, saving you around £55 a year on average
  • Draught-proof your windows, doors and chimneys. The cheapest way to do this is with draft excluders which start at around £10 and can save you up to £65 a year
  • Swap out your showerhead for a water-efficient one from around £5.99. This can save you up to £55 on your gas bill and £45 on your water bill
  • Fit an aerator onto your kitchen tap: this will reduce the amount of water coming out without affecting how it washes. These cost from around £5.00 and could save you £25 a year

Total potential savings = £245

Bigger initial cost

We know the below suggestions won’t be an option for everyone but if you can, they’re worth keeping in mind when making any major home improvements.

  • Installing heating controls/thermostatic radiator valves: these will ensure you’re only heating the rooms you need to and can even learn your habits and adjust your heating accordingly. You can expect to pay around £600 for full installation in an average semi-detached home, and you’ll save £130 a year – you’ll get your money back in less than five years
  • Replace your boiler: if your boiler is over 10 years old, it may be time to start thinking about swapping to an A-rated replacement. You could save around £200 a year on your energy bills

Total potential savings: £330

Check what benefits you’re entitled to

  • Cold Weather Payment: you may qualify for this if you’re getting certain benefits and would receive a payment for each 7-day period of very cold weather (0°C or below) between 1 November and 31 March
  • Winter Fuel Payment: you may qualify for this if you’re on certain benefits or born before 26 September 1955 and could mean you get between £100 and £300 to help you pay your heating bills
  • You can also find impartial advice for reducing your energy bills and along with details of home energy grants you may be eligible for on the government’s Simple Energy Advice website

To find out more about our Complete Home Emergency plans, boiler and central heating insurance or other types of home care cover plans, such as plumbing and drainage insurance and home appliances cover, contact our friendly team on 0330 09 48 301. You can even request a call back to discuss your requirements or get a quote online.

*figures from energysavingtrust.org.uk

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Posted on 9 May 2022

House Checks To Do Before Going On Holiday

If you’re planning to go on holiday, it’s wise to have a plan to keep your home running smoothly and safely while you’re away.

Follow our simple checklist below:

Check your heating

If your house is going to empty while you’re away, you don’t need to keep it warm. However, it’s worth setting your heating to come on for an hour or so each day, to keep your boiler working at its best. If the weather’s likely to be colder while you’re away, set it for a few hours overnight.

Check as well to make sure none of your radiators has any leaks and make sure your taps, bath, shower, and toilet are okay too. The last thing you want is to come home to a flooded house!

Prepare your appliances

Unplug any appliances you can to help reduce your energy usage while you’re away; even one television per household left on standby adds up to £432 million of electricity across the UK each year*. This also reduces the fire risk of leaving these items plugged in and unattended.

Make sure you empty the washing machine; clothes left in there for even just a few days will start to smell.

Fill and empty your dishwasher too, and wash anything you use the morning you go away. Used cups and dishes will not only start to smell but will be harder to clean if left for too long.

Secure your home

Before you go, check all your doors and windows close properly and make sure they’re securely locked when you leave. If you’re worried, leave a family member or friend a set of keys to check your property once you’ve left.

Other things you can do to protect your home are:

  • Setting your lights on a timer: this is an easy way of making it look like your home is occupied.
  • Lock up as well as your home, make sure any other buildings on your property, such as garages, conservatories and sheds are locked and that all garden furniture and tools are also locked away.

Before you go is a great time to get those little DIY jobs sorted – now’s the time to sort that sticking lock or window that won’t shut properly.

To find out more about our Complete Home Emergency plans, boiler and central heating insurance or other types of home care cover plans, such as plumbing and drainage insurance and home appliances cover, contact our friendly team on 0330 09 48 301. You can even request a call back to discuss your requirements or get a quote online.

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Posted on 11 April 2022

Register My Appliance Week

Every April, The Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances (AMDEA) run a campaign to encourage people to register their home appliances with the aim of improving ownership data in the event a safety repair is needed.

They’ve created a web portal, offering owners a simple way to register all of the appliances they’ve purchased in the last twelve years. The portal gives you access to the product registration pages of over 60 brands of domestic appliances, including most of the UK’s top selling brands of white goods.

A YouGov survey carried out by AMDEA in December 2018 found that, of 170 million white goods in use in UK homes, less than a third (31%) are registered. This means owners are leaving themselves untraceable if a recall is needed.

In a small number of cases, manufacturers may identify problems with an appliance once you’ve had it for some time. They’ll need to contact you to get the fault corrected as quickly as possible; and in most cases, a quick in-home fix by a qualified technician will remove any risk. It can be difficult for manufacturers to trace customers if the appliance is not registered.

To register your appliance

In order to register your appliance, you’ll need:

  • The brand: you can click on a logo or search for the brand name
  • Model name: this can be a name or number
  • Serial number: this is normally between 10 and 16 digits and is displayed on a plate on the appliance
  • Purchase data: if you don’t remember exactly when you purchased your appliance, the approximate day, month and year will be okay

Appliance Insurance

When you take out Appliance Cover with Home Emergency Assist, we’ll also ask you to register your appliance with us. You can do this over the phone or on our dedicated registration webpage.

Please note, your cover won’t start until 28 days after you’ve registered your appliance(s) with us, so it’s important to do this as soon as possible to ensure you’re covered in the event of a mechanical/electrical breakdown or accidental damage.

You’ll still need to register your appliance with the manufacturer to be alerted to any faults or product recalls. In this case, it wouldn’t be covered under your appliance insurance plan – you’d need to follow the guidelines issued by the product manufacturer.

To find out more about our home appliances cover or other types of home care cover plans such as Complete Home Emergency plans, boiler and central heating insurance and plumbing and drainage insurance, contact our friendly team on 0330 09 48 301. You can even request a call back to discuss your requirements or get a quote online.

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Posted on 28 March 2022

What Is A Powerflush?

All central heating systems will need a powerflush at some point in their lifespan as it’s easy for sludge, rust and debris to build up in the pipes and radiators. If left untreated, these will slow down the efficiency of your system and stop heat flowing evenly throughout your home, leaving some rooms colder than others.

In these cases, powerflushing may be the only solution (and it’s generally recommended where you may be installing a new boiler into an old central heating system). Depending on its age, if your system has never had a powerflush, the chances are that you will probably need one especially if you find yourself having to bleed your radiators on a regular basis.

How do I know when I need a powerflush?

  • Rooms take a long time to warm up
  • Some rooms are warmer than others
  • Radiators need frequent bleeding (should only need doing a couple of times a year)
  • Cold spots on radiators, even after bleeding
  • Boiler keeps cutting out/making excessive noise
  • Discoloured water after bleeding
  • Cloudy tap water

How do I prevent sludge?

You may be able to avoid the need for a powerflush by getting a magnetic filter installed into your central heating systems. A magnetic filter (or magnifilter) is a device which collects the iron oxide and sludge that are circulating in your system. The iron oxide is attracted to the manet which then removes it from the system, stopping it from causing damage to your central heating.

If you’re installing a new boiler in your home, the engineer may recommend fitting a magnifilter and it’s sometimes possible to add one to an existing system (it’s sometimes a struggle due to their bulky size).

What do I need to know about powerflushes?

Most powerflushes take around 6 hours to complete although if your system is bigger, it can take longer. It generally takes half a day to powerflush a small system and a full day for a large one.

These can be relatively expensive but depend on your system’s size and location; they range from £300 up to around £800. If you’d like to do it yourself, you’ll need a powerflushing machine and an appropriate cleaning chemical.

Although they are expensive, it’s better to arrange an expert to do this rather than take on the job yourself unless you have experience, as it’s a very technical process which requires specialist machinery.

What are the benefits to me?

Some of the advantages of a powerflush are:

  • A warmer home with heat evenly distributed
  • Savings on your energy bills
  • Reduced fuel bills
  • Reliable hot, running water
  • A reliable central heating system
  • Increased system life span

To find out more about our Complete Home Emergency plans, boiler and central heating insurance or other types of home care cover plans, such as plumbing and drainage insurance and home appliances cover, contact our friendly team on 0330 09 48 301. You can even request a call back to discuss your requirements or get a quote online.

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Posted on 14 March 2022

Essential Maintenance Jobs For Spring

As the days get longer, warmer and lighter, now’s the time to give your home some love. Fixing any issues now means that you’ll be able to enjoy a stress-free summer.

Keeping your home well maintained will help to prevent unforeseen breakdowns, but having Home Emergency Cover in place can give you peace of mind knowing that in the event of an emergency, your home will be covered.

Check your roof

One of the easiest ways to complete your maintenance is to start at the top of your property and work down.

Your roof is the most exposed part of your house and subjected to cold weather, storms and more year after year. Look for cracked or loose tiles and slates and get a builder to fix any faults to prevent water damage occurring.

Make sure your gutters are clear of any tree debris. Clogged gutters can quickly result in water damage to your home, with rainwater running directly down the walls if your guttering is blocked. Any resulting water damage can be expensive to correct.

Fix any plumbing and heating issues

It may feel odd to check your heating while the weather is getting warmer, but spring is the best time to check and fix any heating and plumbing issues. This includes having your boiler serviced, your pipes insulated and bleeding your radiators.

Your boiler will need to be serviced by a Gas Safe or OFTEC registered professional, but you can tackle any simple issues to do with the boiler’s efficiency yourself, if you know how.

You can follow our guides for bleeding radiators, getting your boiler pilot light to ignite and topping up your boiler pressure.

Protect your home from pests

While the weather’s milder, it’s a good time to make sure you’ve pest-proofed your home. Mice, rats and even wasps tend to search for warm, dry places to nest once the weather turns colder and so fixing any problems now protects your home against future infestations.

Rats and mice can chew through your soft furnishings as well as your woodwork along with pipes, brickwork and through electrical wiring, which can damage appliances, affect your electrical supply and even start fires.

Make sure you seal up any potential entry points and bear in mind that mice only need a 5mm gap to get in. You can also remove potential nesting sites by keeping your garden clean and tidy and cover any household waste by making sure you close dustbin lids and cover any compost heaps.

Wasps’ nests are commonly found in the eaves or loft but there are things you can do to protect against these too. Keep your bins tightly closed and away from the house, removing any food sources; especially things that are sweet. Certain herbs, like thyme, repl wasps naturally so use these in your garden, near the house or anywhere you may sit.

To find out more about our Complete Home Emergency plans, boiler and central heating insurance or other types of home care cover plans, such as plumbing and drainage insurance and home appliances cover, contact our friendly team on 0330 09 48 301. You can even request a call back to discuss your requirements or get a quote online.

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Posted on 20 December 2021

Why Home Emergency Insurance & Appliance Cover Should Be Your New Year’s Resolution

According to research by GoCompare, 44% of Britons made a New Year’s resolution at the start of 2021, and perhaps influenced by the Covid pandemic, the top five things people wanted to change related to health, fitness, and seeing friends and family.

Most of us spend the festive season with our family at home, so it’s the perfect time to think about protecting your home and family against unseen home emergencies.

Whatever you’re thinking about choosing for your resolution this year, here’s why you might want to include buying Home Emergency Insurance as one of them

Peace of mind

According to an article by mirror.co.uk, more than 2.8 million workdays are lost due to home emergencies such as broken boilers or burst pipes, which is over half (52%) of UK adults.

By taking out Complete Home Emergency Cover, you’ll have peace of mind all year round that a fully qualified engineer will come out as quickly as possible to help if your boiler breaks down, your heating fails or your pipe bursts. We’ll also provide alternative accommodation in the event that your home becomes inhabitable.

Types of cover available

We allow you to tailor your home emergency insurance to make sure you’re covering the things you care about:

  • Boiler and Central Heating Insurance: we’ll cover you in the event that your boiler stops working and your home is left without heating and/or hot water. Unlike most insurers, we can cover gas, oil and LPG boilers under 15 years old. If you have a gas or LPG boiler, you can also add an annual boiler service
  • Plumbing and Drainage Insurance: this covers you in the event your plumbing and drainage systems fail to an extent that you’re likely to suffer internal flooding or water damage. We’ll also help if you lose access to the only (or all) toilets in your home
  • Complete Home Emergency Insurance: this includes boiler & heating and plumbing & drainage cover and adds cover for electrics, security, pest removal and your roof.

We also offer two levels of insurance, depending on the amount of cover you need for your home and whether or not you’d like to be insured for non-emergencies too.

Enhanced Cover

With our Enhanced Cover package, you’re insured for the most essential home emergency situations as detailed above. You’ll benefit from a cover limit of up to £3,000 a year.

Premium Cover

With our Premium Cover package, you get all the benefits of the Enhanced Cover, plus insurance for non-emergency situations such as dripping taps, repairing, and rectifying leaks within your boiler or central heating system and restoring toilet facilities. You’ll benefit from an unlimited cover limit each year.

Add Appliance Cover

We also offer Appliance Insurance for your important kitchen white goods. Cover up to 10 appliances on one plan, and we’ll cover you against accidental damage as well as mechanical and electrical breakdown. We can cover the following:

*https://press.gocompare.com/news/new-years-resolutions-23-million-resolve-to-make-2021-healthier-and-happier-1

To find out more about our home appliances cover or other types of home care cover plans, such as boiler and central heating insurance, plumbing and drainage insurance and Complete Home Emergency plans, contact our friendly team on 0330 09 48 301. You can even request a call back to discuss your requirements or get a quote online.

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Posted on 13 December 2021

Kitchen Tech To Destress Christmas

Christmas may be a time to relax and enjoy time with your family, but it can also be stressful too, juggling dinners, buffets and trying to spend time with your family and friends.

Whatever you’re doing to celebrate, we’ve put together some smart kitchen gadgets that can help you organise your time and spend more of it with the people you love over the festive season.

Smart fridges

If you haven’t written a shopping list, or you’ve got to the supermarket and realised you’ve left it at home, it can be impossible to remember what essentials (and non-essentials!) you need.

Smart fridge-freezers allow you to check the contents of your fridge from your phone, wherever you are. They typically work by taking a picture every time the door is closed, sending them to your mobile phone.

If you’re not ready to buy a new fridge-freezer, don’t worry. You can buy cameras especially designed to fit into your existing fridge that allow you to keep to track of the contents of your fridge, recognise food items and add them to your inventory and even remind you when something’s about to expire.

Self-cleaning ovens

When you’ve been on your feet all day looking after your guests, entertaining the children, and cooking large meals, the last thing you want to do is clean your oven.

This is where a self-cleaning oven comes in; at the end of a long day, simply start a self-clean cycle and allow it to work. The pyrolytic technology will burn away any grease or dirt and leaves a fine ash that you can simply wipe away.

Alexa-controlled microwaves

You can now buy microwaves which work in sync with your Amazon Alexa, meaning you don’t have to stop what you’re doing in order to heat or cook food in your microwave. They also come with scan-to-cook technology which ensures your food will be cooked perfectly every time.

Smart dishwashers

You can load the dishwasher, then sit down and relax, picking the perfect wash cycle on your phone from the comfort of your living room. Smart dishwashers allow you to start the wash cycle, monitor the performance and check the status from anywhere.

A smart dishwasher can also alert you when you’re running low on dishwasher tablets, when a cycle finishes or if the sensors detect a malfunction or leak. You’ll also be able to download different cleaning cycles for special items, such as heavily soiled pots and pans or delicate glassware.

Appliance insurance

Putting cover in place before any of your essential kitchen appliances stop working is vital to making sure you’re insured in the event of an inconvenient breakdown.

By covering up to 10 of your most important white goods on one plan, you’ll have access to a 24/7 claims form, and our UK wide network of engineers who’ll get in touch and book in an appointment at a time convenient for you.

To find out more about our home appliances cover or other types of home care cover plans, such as boiler and central heating insurance, plumbing and drainage insurance and Complete Home Emergency plans, contact our friendly team on 0330 09 48 301. You can even request a call back to discuss your requirements or get a quote online.

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Posted on 30 August 2021

Change Your Laundry Habits To Save Energy

Over the last year, we’ve been at home more and so our energy use has been on the rise. It’s important, therefore, to try and save energy – and money – where we can.

According to a recent study, the average household in the UK does around 270 wash loads a year and 95% of the energy used by your washing machine is used purely to heat up the water!

We’ve put together some simple tips for you to save money (and the environment) below.

Wash your clothes at 30°

Just by washing your clothes at 30° instead of 40°, you’ll use up to 38% less energy. Not only will you save money on your utility costs but you’ll save energy and therefore help the environment.

Although some materials may need a higher temperature, 30° is the recommended setting for most clothing types (including wool) and if you use the right detergent, can work just as well for other fabrics too.

Fill your washing machine up

Filling up your washing machine helps conserve energy, by limiting your need to do two or three washes instead.

However, it’s important you don’t overload your machine as this will impact the efficiency of the wash and potentially damage your washing machine’s drum. If you can’t place your hand into the top of the machine’s drum, you’ll need to remove some clothing.

Avoid pre-washing where possible

Typically, you’ll use this to tackle stubborn stains, but it can waste litres of hot water each year.

Nowadays however, washing machines and detergents have become advanced enough that pre-wash settings are generally not needed.

Quick wins

  • Washing your clothes at a higher speed spin will allow your clothes to be as dry as possible if you’re planning to use your tumble dryer
  • If you’re planning to buy a new appliance, you can check the product’s energy rating. Anything above a C is considered to be energy-efficient.

General Maintenance

Keeping your washing machine well maintained will help you save money and energy, as well as prolonging the lifespan of your appliance. It will also help to keep your clothes clean and fresh after every wash, as you’ll prevent the build-up of limescale, mould and detergent.

Find out more about keeping your washing machine clean.

 

To find out more about our home appliances cover or other types of home care cover plans, such as boiler and heating insurance, plumbing and drainage insurance and Complete Home Emergency plan contact our friendly team on 0330 09 48 301. You can also request a call back to discuss your requirements or get a free quote online in minutes.

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Posted on 26 July 2021

What Appliance Cover Covers You For

Having your vital kitchen appliances break down isn’t only inconvenient. Not only do you have to survive without your washing machine, oven or fridge-freezer, but you have to worry about sourcing a repairman or buying a replacement, so it can be costly too!

Having Appliance Cover in place before a fault develops is important so you know you’ll be covered in the event that your kitchen appliance breaks down.

Appliances you can cover

We can cover a wide range of kitchen appliances all on one plan, and if you insure more than one, you’ll get a multi-product discount too:

  • Freestanding cooker (we can’t cover Aga/Rayburn or other cast-iron range cookers)
  • Cooker, hob or oven
  • Hood/Extractor
  • Microwave oven
  • Dishwasher
  • Fridge/Freezer
  • Refrigerator
  • Freezer
  • Washing machine
  • Tumble dryer
  • Washer/Dryer
  • Wine cooler

What cover you get

We can cover your white goods as long as your appliance is under 10 years old. You’ll get cover against mechanical or electrical breakdown along with accidental damage.

If your appliance were to break down, we’ll typically send a trained engineer as quickly as possible at a mutually convenient time to repair your appliance and, if they’re not able to fix it, replace it.

If your appliance is over 5 years old, but under 10 and is unable to be fixed, we’ll make a contribution towards the cost of replacement. This depends on the specific age of your appliance and will be made with vouchers from a retailer chosen by us.

To find out more about our home appliances cover or other types of home care cover plans, such as boiler and heating insurance, plumbing and drainage insurance and Complete Home Emergency plan contact our friendly team on 0330 09 48 301. You can also request a call back to discuss your requirements or get a free quote online in minutes.

Age of your appliance Replacement contribution (%)
Between 5 and 6 40%
Between 6 and 7 30%
Between 7 and 8 20%
Between 8 and 10 10%

How this differs from a warranty or home insurance

You’ll find that your home insurance will typically cover your appliances in the event of theft or damage but are unlikely to cover them if they were to break down.

Most new appliances will come with a manufacturer’s warranty and guarantee you repairs and servicing for the first year. However most mechanical, or electrical problems occur outside of the warranty period.

In this instance, if your appliance breaks down, you’ll need to replace it yourself or pay the manufacturer to repair the item. Both can be expensive and leave you out of pocket.

This is where Appliance Cover comes in by covering you for any mechanical or electrical break downs (along with accidental damage) that occur outside of the warranty period.

To find out more about our home appliances cover or other types of home care cover plans, such as boiler and heating insurance, plumbing and drainage insurance and Complete Home Emergency plan contact our friendly team on 0330 09 48 301. You can also request a call back to discuss your requirements or get a free quote online in minutes.

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Posted on 22 July 2021

Gas Boiler Services: What We Check

No matter the age of your boiler, it’s important to arrange an annual boiler service to make sure it continues to run as expected.

You may also find that an annual boiler service is needed in order to meet gas safe recommendations. At Home Emergency Assist, you can add a boiler service from just £7.84 a month* to any of our Home Emergency products.

Please note: it’s important that you report any faults with your boiler within 48 hours of discovery. The boiler service will not include any repairs and will not be completed if the boiler is faulty when the engineer arrives.

What is a boiler service?

A boiler service helps to ensure your boiler and central heating system stay running as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Most boiler services take less than an hour, though this does depend on your specific appliance.

The gas boiler service must be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

Including a boiler service with your Home Emergency Cover can provide peace of mind that your boiler is working as efficiently and safely as possible.

What happens during a boiler service?

Boiler technician completing a boiler service

We service all boilers in accordance with Gas Safe regulations and service procedures may vary depending on the particular appliance. A typical service will include:

  1. Visual assessment
    The engineer will inspect the boiler, clean and adjust components as needed, looking for signs of damage and identifying any signs of problems that are immediately visible.
  2. Controls check
    Your boiler has a number of safety devices and controls which the engineer will test to ensure they’re operating correctly and make sure that the boiler functions are working as expected.
  3. Flue and combustion fan check
    The engineer will check the flue (pipe from your boiler to the outside of your house), making sure that there are no obstructions in the flue terminals and that it’s safely fitted.
  4. Cleaning
    The engineer will remove, inspect and clean the main burner to make sure it’s fit for purpose and has no noticeable damage.
  5. Other checks
    There are lots of things to tick off during a boiler service. These include:
    – Safety device check
    – Gas pressure and heat input verification
    – Operating pressure reset
    – Gas and water seals check
    – Combustion performance test (where possible)
    – Ventilation check
    – Heating controls and energy efficiency
  6. Keep a record
    The engineer will make a record of each test and check they carry out, including a record of the boiler pressure. You’ll then be able to keep this information for future inspections or when a problem occurs.
  7. Ready the boiler for use
    At the end of your boiler service, the engineer will make sure your boiler is working as expected. Any controls or settings that were changed during the service will be changed back or left so that you can easily adjust the settings yourself.

What happens if a fault is identified?

If any maintenance work or faults are identified, we’ll let you know about any remedial work required. It’s your responsibility to make sure any required fixes are completed and to provide evidence of this, if needed.

Our engineer will follow Gas Industry Safe Situation Procedures where safety issues are identified.

Boiler services are usually carried out between April and September but you can read our blog post on when you should get your boiler serviced and our boiler service terms and conditions for more information.

To find out more about our Complete Home Emergency plans, boiler and central heating insurance or other types of home care cover plans, such as plumbing and drainage insurance and home appliances cover, contact our friendly team on 0330 09 48 301. You can even request a call back to discuss your requirements or get a quote online.

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