Well cared for central heating systems will help keep your rental properties warm and cosy. But be warned, fresh analysis by landlord insurer Direct Line for Business shows that February is the peak month for boiler repair claims, up 163% compared to the monthly average.
Last winter the insurer saw a 27% hike in claims on broken down boilers compared to the previous year, and with the Met Office recently issuing a severe weather warning for the UK, this winter could see even more claims being made.
With the average malfunctioning boiler costing close to £1,200 to fix, Direct Line for Business is advising landlords that prevention is better than cure and that they should not be complacent despite surviving sub-zero winter temperatures.
“Being caught out without heating in the winter can be particularly unpleasant, so landlords should make sure their properties have fully serviced boilers to help ensure their tenants don’t have heating issues,” said Christina Dimitrov, business manager at Direct Line for Business. “Landlords are legally responsible for securing a safety certificate for gas appliances each year and they also need to ensure the heating and hot water systems are maintained and functioning properly.”
Dimitrov added: “Direct Line for Business offers boiler cover as standard with buildings insurance, and as long as the damage is not due to wear and tear, we’ll pay the cost of repairing or replacing a broken down boiler. Plus, we’ll provide tenants with portable heaters to help them try and stay warm while the issue is being fixed.”
Direct Line for Business has compiled the following top tips for boiler maintenance this winter:
+ Keep your heating on low: Sudden cold temperatures can freeze your boilers external condensate pipe which could cause your boiler to stop working. Insulating the pipes can help or try keeping the heating on low when it’s very cold.
+ Bleed your radiators: If your property isn’t getting as warm as you think it should be, there may be air trapped inside the heating system. Releasing air from the system is simple but you will need a key which can slot into the radiators bleed valve. If you still have a problem after doing this, you may need to call in the professionals.
+ Keep your boiler maintained: Make sure you service your boiler and keep it maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. Check regularly for any warning signs such as leeks, cracks or noises as the sooner you can identify a problem, the easier it will be to fix.