Heating Engineers & Plumbers: What’s the Difference?
While they can carry out some of the same jobs, heating engineers and plumbers are 2 different professions and it's important that you hire the right one to carry out the required work.
When it comes to any work regarding your boiler and home heating system, whether that's a service, repair or replacing parts, you should always hire a Gas Safe registered heating engineer.
Do I need a heating engineer or plumber
Before contacting one or the other, it's important to make sure that you're hiring the correct professional for the desired work. Not only to make sure that the work is being carried out to the highest standards but for the safety of your home too.
Ultimately, a heating engineer deals with your home's heating system (boiler, thermostat, hot water cylinder), while a plumber works on water appliances (taps, toilets, sinks). When looking for a tradesperson to look at your heating system, it's important to not only make sure they're a heating engineer but that they're also Gas Safe registered.
It's possible for a plumber to also have Gas Safe registration, which is where some of the confusion around whether to hire a heating engineer or plumber can lie. However, while a plumber might be Gas Safe registered, you'll need to check that they're able to work on gas boilers. They might only be lawfully able to work on gas stoves, for example.
When to contact a heating engineer
When it comes to the work heating engineers carry out, the clue is in the name. They're trained to service, repair or replace parts of your home's heating system, which includes:
- Hot water cylinders
- Other fixtures and fittings that are part of the heating system
By law, the heating engineer must be Gas Safe registered if they're going to be working on gas-fired appliances and hold OFTEC certification for working on oil boilers.
When to contact a plumber
Deriving from the Latin word 'plumbum', meaning lead, the word 'plumber' was first used to describe someone who worked with lead pipes. Despite the material used for domestic pipes changing over time – initially to copper and now to plastic – the name hasn't changed.
When you need a professional to deal with issues or carry out installations of appliances that involve water, you need a plumber. Some of the work a plumber is trained to do involves:
- Installing a dishwasher
- Dripping taps
- Bathroom installation
- Issues with toilets (not flushing properly etc.)
- Drainage, irrigation and sewage systems (installation and maintenance).
So, plumber or heating engineer?
If you're not sure whether you need a plumber or a heating engineer, it's perfectly understandable because some qualified tradespeople could do the work of either.
When it comes to your boiler or heating system, always turn to a heating engineer that's listed on the Gas Safe register. While some plumbers might also be Gas Safe registered, there's a chance that they won't be qualified to work on boilers or any other part of the heating system.
Not hiring a tradesperson with the correct qualifications could leave you with a poorly installed, faulty or broken gas boiler that could be leaking gas into your home. This is a major safety concern that could ultimately lead to fires or explosions. Not only that, but a faulty gas appliance could be leaking carbon monoxide (CO). This is a highly toxic gas that, when breathed in, can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, brain damage, paralysis, or even death.
If you have even the slightest suspicion that your boiler is leaking gas or carbon monoxide into your home then don't hesitate to contact the Gas Emergency Service immediately on 0800 111 999.
Are they Gas Safe registered?
Checking that the heating engineer who will be working on your gas boiler holds Gas Safe registration is very important.
It is a lawful requirement that any business in the UK, Isle of Man and Guernsey dealing with gas appliances must be listed on the Gas Safe register.
You can check that a company is on the Gas Safe register by searching their company name or registration number on the Gas Safe register website. As well as this, you should also ask to see the Gas Safe ID card of the heating engineer when they arrive at your property. Never let anyone begin work on your boiler before seeing this ID card, once provided, you should look out for:
- Photo is of the heating engineer
- Unique registration number
- Start and expiry dates
- Security hologram
- Affiliated business name
Should you believe that an individual or company is carrying out work on gas appliances without the correct certifications, this is illegal and you can report them to the Gas Safe register.
Find a Gas Safe registered engineer
If you're looking for a qualified professional to service, repair or replace your boiler then you'll need to find a Gas Safe registered engineer.
While the idea of finding a Gas Safe engineer might sound like a lot of work, here at Boiler Guide we've made the process as simple as possible. Simply complete our online form with the details of the work you need on your boiler or heating system and you'll be contacted by up to 3 Gas Safe engineers in your area.
Receiving multiple quotes allows you to compare the prices and find the right one for you and your home so you know that you're getting the best deal possible.