Top tips to protect your boiler
Landlords are being urged to service the boiler in their properties – and check they have cover in place.
Last winter saw a record number of claims for faulty boilers, according to landlord insurer Direct Line for Business, and marked the sixth year in a row that claims went up.
It found that claims rose by 36 per cent last winter (the period from December to February) compared to the winter of 2016/17, as the Beast from the East wreaked havoc on British households, and temperatures fell as low as −11°C in some parts of the UK.
Maintain your boiler
All homeowners need to look after their boilers, of course, but Direct Line for Business is warning landlords in particular not to be complacent when it comes to maintaining their properties’ heating systems.
It said that the winter months last year accounted for 81 per cent of the entire year’s boiler claims and the cost of repairing a faulty boiler currently stands at about 60 per cent more than the average UK monthly rent.
Sarah Larkin, business manager at Direct Line for Business, said: “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. Direct Line for Business provides boiler breakdown cover as standard with buildings insurance. As long as the damage is not a maintenance issue or due to wear and tear, we’ll pay the cost of repairing, or if repair is not possible, then replace the broken boiler. We’ll also pay for additional portable heaters to help tenants try and stay warm while the issue is being fixed.”
Direct Line for Business has put together the following tips for landlords:
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 as well as keeping the heating on constantly but 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 leaks, cracks or noises as the sooner you can identify a problem, the easier it will be to fix.
Turn off services when property is unoccupied: If you have an unoccupied property for an extended period, you may want to consider draining the water system and switching the utilities off. However, if it’s in the winter months, when frost might occur, then keeping your central heating system on at a minimum temperature can help prevent frozen pipes. It is important to understand that insurers will have specific terms and conditions that apply if the property is unoccupied for an extended period so check your policy to make sure that you understand and comply with these.