Boilers can be expensive to repair, but they can be even more costly to replace. To help ensure that you keep your boiler in top condition, here is everything that you need to know as a landlord.
To get the most out of your boiler, it’s important to maintain it regularly and keep it in top condition. This should be a priority for landlords: not only will you save money by ensuring your boilers efficiency, but it could prevent you from ending up on the wrong side of the law. Fortunately, maintaining your boiler is a fairly easy task, especially if you follow the tips below.
What does the law say?
According to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, landlords are responsible for ensuring that all installations for the supply of water, gas, and electricity are kept in repair and proper working order, and boiler maintenance falls under this legislation. There is no specific framework for recording maintenance work, but it is good practice to demonstrate annual checks and repairs by having your appliances serviced.
Landlords are also required to have an annual gas safety check, carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer, as outlined in the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. You must also keep a record of the safety check for at least two years, and you must provide a copy to each tenant within 28 days, as well as give a copy to any new tenants.
Annual boiler service
The best way to keep your boiler in top conditions is to get it serviced annually. A professional engineer will be able to ensure that your boiler and heating system is running as smoothly as possible, increasing efficiency and savings you money on bills. Not only will the engineer check all parts of the boiler, they will also give it a clean. Many people get their boiler serviced in September and October so they are in the best conditions for the winter months.
It’s important to note that, if there is a problem with your boiler, you shouldn’t attempt to fix it yourself. Anyone carrying out work on your boiler must be Gas Safe registered. All engineers are required to carry their Gas Safe card, and you are well within your rights to check that this is valid. If in doubt, you can call Gas Safe and check that their ID number is valid.
Provide tenants with advice
Taking the time to provide your tenants with advice can save you a lot of hassle in the long run, and this is especially true if you let your property to students who may not know about boiler safety. Remind them of the basic things that they can do, such as keeping the heating on the prevent pipes freezing. It is also wise to show them where the boilers stop cock is and how to turn it off, as this will allow them to shut the boiler down in the event of a leak. It is also worth providing them with the manufacturer’s instruction manual so they can troubleshoot any issues.
Bleed your radiators
During inspections or when in between tenants, it’s a good idea to check your radiators and bleed them if necessary. Turn the boiler on and check to see if some of the radiators are struggling to heat up, as this can be an indication that there is air in the system. You can tell is this is the case because the radiator will be cold at the top.
To bleed your radiator, follow these steps:
1. You’ll need a radiator key, a cloth, and some old towels to collect any drips from the radiator.
2. Locate the bleed valve on each radiator as this is where you will be able to release the air from.
3. Connect the radiator key to the valve and turn it anti-clockwise to loosen it, releasing air and creating a hissing sound.
4. Water will begin spluttering out of the valve, and this will turn to a steady stream once all of the air has been removed.
5. Retighten the bleed valve and wipe up any water that may have spilled. Rinse and repeat for all radiators.
6. Once you’ve done all the radiators, you may need to repressurise the boiler by turning the stop cock and allowing water into the system.
In order to operate properly, boilers must have enough space around them to ensure they are properly ventilated. This means that the immediate area around the boiler needs to be free from any clutter, as this can starve the boiler of oxygen. This message should also be passed on to tenants. If the boiler has been boxed in, it needs to have an access panel so that it can be easily reached for general maintenance.
By taking the time to look after your boiler, you’ll be able to prevent expensive repairs and replacements and keep your tenants safe. Follow the advice in this guide and you’ll be able to get the most out of your boiler.
Jacqueline Gallazzi-Ritchie is director of boiler experts All England Gas.