Alpha Boiler Service & Maintenance
A central heating boiler by Alpha should last 10-15 years, but only if it gets the regular care and maintenance it needs to stay in top condition.
A major part of this maintenance is an annual boiler service. Getting your boiler serviced annually by a Gas Safe engineer is a must to ensure it's working safely and to keep it running at its maximum efficiency, i.e. getting your heating bills stay as low as possible.
Is your boiler due a service?
What is a Boiler Service?
A boiler service needs to be carried out by a heating engineer who will visit your home to carry out several tests and checks on your boiler. This should be done once a year by a Gas Safe registered engineer in the case of gas boilers or an OFTEC registered engineer if you have an oil boiler.
For gas boilers by Alpha, you need to find a Gas Safe registered engineer which means they are listed on the UK's official list of engineers legally allowed to work on gas appliances. You can check if an engineer is registered by visiting the Gas Safe Register website and you should always ask to see their Gas Safe ID card when they arrive to service your boiler.
If the engineer is doing a thorough job a boiler service should last at least 30 minutes but this may vary depending type of boiler you have and if they come across any issues or faults during the service.
Boiler Service Checklist
Once you've checked that the engineer is qualified to service your boiler they will run through some standard efficiency, safety and operational checks:
- The engineer will check the boiler over visually to ensure it doesn't have any corrosion or leaks and that the flame is burning blue as it should be.
- They will then take off the boiler casing to check and clean the parts on the inside such as the heat exchanger, burner, main injector, safety devices and spark probe.
- The engineer will make sure that the flue terminals are clear of obstruction and fitted safely and seals, water and gas pipework are intact.
- They will check the gas pressure and flow settings to ensure they're at the correct level.
- Finally, the boiler will be started up so the engineer can look for any operational faults with the boiler, temperature controls or potential issues for repair.
When the service is finished you'll receive a service report which will detail what they've done. If you don't understand anything on the report and would like clarification the engineer will be able to explain.
Why is it Important to Service Your Alpha Boiler?
A boiler service gives the engineer the opportunity to identify safety issues such as a carbon monoxide leak. Carbon monoxide is an odourless and colourless gas which can quickly cause brain damage and, in some cases, death. If you're concerned that your boiler may not be working correctly, for example the flame is orange rather than blue, you should get in touch with a Gas Safe engineer even if your annual service is not yet due.
Keep Heating Bills Low
As a boiler ages it can become less efficient which means it needs to use more fuel to heat your home which will cost you more money. An annual service will ensure all the components are in the best possible condition and deliver a higher level of efficiency for longer.
Small problems in boilers can grow into a major breakdown if not dealt with early on. A regular annual service means the engineer can identify a potential fault before it has time to cause you issues or a hefty repair bill.
Your Alpha boiler will usually include a manufacturer's warranty of between 2-7 years which means any faults that develop in that time will be repaired free of charge. However, this warranty is only valid as long as you get the boiler serviced by a Gas Safe engineer every year.
Is your boiler due a service?
How Much Does an Alpha Boiler Service Cost?
A one-off boiler service is likely to cost between £60 – £120 but this will depend on where you are in the country, which boiler model you have, how old it is and which engineer you choose to do the work.
You may be able to save money on the cost of a boiler service by getting it done during the summer as engineers tend to be less busy during this time. This also means any faults can be dealt with before winter arrives which should give you peace of mind you won't be without the boiler when you need it most. If the engineer does find any faults you will need to pay for the repair on top of the service charge.
NEVER try to carry out a boiler service yourself – always find a Gas Safe registered boiler engineer.
Find a local heating engineer
Boiler Service Plans
It is possible to take out a boiler service plan (or boiler cover which includes servicing). You would pay a monthly fee over a year to cover the cost of any repairs and annual servicing.
These plans usually cost over £100 per year so often sticking to the one-off boiler service payment makes more financial sense. However, boiler cover and service plans can give some people peace of mind that they are protected should the boiler break down and they won't have unexpected repair costs. This could be a good idea for owners of boilers which are 8 or more years old and no longer under a manufacturer's warranty.
Alpha offer their own service plan called BoilerCare. The service includes a comprehensive annual service (normally during the summer months) and if your boiler is no longer covered by a warranty you'll be protected from unexpected repair costs. The Alpha website lists the main benefits as:
- Access to a network of BoilerCare approved Gas Safe registered engineers
- An annual boiler service that will help to prolong the life of your boiler
- No hidden extras
- Genuine Alpha boiler parts and labour included
- No limit to the number of call-outs.
In addition to the annual service, there are a few things you can do yourself to keep the boiler working as effectively and efficiently as possible.
Check the pilot light
If the pilot light flame on your boiler is strong and blue the boiler is working as it should be. If you ever see an orange or yellow flame it means there is a problem as the boiler is not burning its fuel completely. This is a serious safety issue as the boiler could be leaking carbon monoxide which is incredibly poisonous and potentially lethal gas.
Insulate Your Pipes
Frozen pipes can cause blockages which can lead to increased pressure, leaks and complete breakdown. You can easily insulate pipes with lagging such as mineral or glass wool, polyethylene or foam.
Monitor the Pressure
Over time the pressure in the heating system will drop so you should check the pressure gauge on a regular basis. It should sit between 1 and 1.5 bar; if it's too low the boiler will struggle to fire and if it's too high it can cause damage. You can adjust the pressure yourself using your manufacturer's instruction manual.
Keep the Boiler Ventilated and Free of Clutter
To run safely a boiler (and flue) needs space around it to ensure it has enough ventilation. This will also make maintenance, servicing and repairs much easier.
Insulate Your Home as Much as Possible
If heat is escaping through window seals, letterboxes, chimneys or other draughts your boiler is having to work harder to keep you cosy.
Of course your DIY skills can only take you so far and none of these checks are a substitution for an annual service by a professional. Some people can feel like putting off a service for cost reasons, but it's possible to get a good deal if you know where to look.