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Why lower fuel prices and a mild winter could make your home unsafe

26th March 2016 Print
Use a registered engineer to service your boiler

Lives could be put at risk by the ‘perfect storm’ of one of the warmest winters on record and falling fuel prices.

The warning comes from Swale Heating, one of the largest independently owned heating firms in the South East. They say mild weather and lower prices created a potentially dangerous ‘double whammy’.

“If you wake up to a relatively mild outside temperature of 8 or 9 degrees, you’re less likely to be concerned about possible problems with your heating system. Meanwhile, if bills go down, you might not notice that you have actually been using more fuel – a sign that your boiler isn’t working as effectively as it should,” says Sales Director, Matthew Edwards.

However, poorly installed or maintained boilers can cause carbon monoxide poisoning which kills around 50 people every year in the UK and leads to another 1,000 being treated in hospital.

Matthew recognises that it is all too easy to delay what might seem like an unnecessary expense but the new season should spur householders into action.

“We had one of the mildest winters ever recorded and lower oil and gas prices brought down bills. It means people might forget about getting their boiler serviced or put it off because they think it is expensive. But failing to get a registered engineer in to check the system can prove more costly in the long run or could lead to the serious illness or even death of your loved ones.”

Matthew advises everyone to have the boiler and heating system properly serviced by a registered engineer and to be alert to the danger signals that indicate a service is urgent. Remember though, even if you don’t see the danger signs, you should still have the system serviced on an annual basis.

These are the problems you can avoid through having the boiler regularly serviced by a registered engineer.

Avoid a trip to the hospital

A poorly installed or maintained boiler can release carbon monoxide, known as the ‘silent killer’ because you cannot see, hear, taste or smell it. Low doses may cause problems that people wouldn’t even associate with poisoning, such as a headache or flu-like symptoms. Take urgent action if someone in your house appears to suffer more from headaches, dizziness or nausea when at home than when outside. In the meantime, make sure your boiler is serviced annually by an engineer registered with the Gas Safe Register (formerly CORGI). You are urged to install carbon monoxide detectors in your home.

Avoid invalidating your warranty

Many boiler manufacturers make it a condition of your warranty that you have a boiler regularly serviced after installation. If it does go wrong during the warranty period and you cannot prove that a registered engineer has maintained the boiler then your warranty could be invalidated – and that could mean an unexpected large bill.

Avoid using too much fuel

Even with lower fuel prices, you don’t want to use more energy than necessary. It hits your pocket and it’s bad for the environment. A registered engineer will make sure that your system is working within the correct operating parameters and therefore using fuel in the most efficient way possible. It means savings for you and it reduces your carbon footprint.

Avoid reducing the life of your boiler

Boilers, like people, benefit from being looked after. Consider the annual boiler service the equivalent of a regular medical for yourself. It will pick up problems that may be fixed easily if treated promptly but could lead to a shortened life if left to develop.

Avoid problems with the rest of your system

A registered engineer will consider the whole system when carrying out an annual service. If you have sludge or air blocks in the system, you may find problems such as radiators not heating up properly, rumbling noises when the boiler is on or water pooling around pipes or even the boiler itself. The engineer will advise you on any action that needs to be taken to keep the system working efficiently.

For further information about Swale Heating visit:

For further information about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning visit:

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Use a registered engineer to service your boiler