A boiler service plan can be just the thing that some households need to ensure they’re keeping up with their obligations as homeowners and boiler users, while also controlling costs and keeping things simple.
Boilers are rarely cheap, whether you’re talking about the price of the unit itself or the care and maintenance to keep it running.
There is no avoiding these costs—boilers need diligent care to function at their best—but there are ways to manage your outlay.
What is a boiler service plan?
A service plan ensures you’ve always got a qualified boiler service provider on your side.
For a nominal fee, usually charged on a monthly basis, a boiler service plan covers the cost of your annual boiler service and ensures you can always rely on the same service provider every year to inspect your boiler.
If you’re happy with the work of your local installer and want to keep calling on their help in future, then a boiler service plan makes sense, and it saves you sourcing a service provider yourself.
Are boiler service plans worth it?
That can depend on your circumstances, but generally, yes they are.
Boiler service plans are priced to save you money on the cost of an annual service, but that’s not all they’re good for. Your provider will keep an eye on your customer record and make sure you don’t miss your service when the time rolls around each year, so there’s no risk of you missing it.
For complying with warranties of up to 10 years that many boiler manufacturers now provide, an annual service is essential. Dropping out of your warranty by missing your service would be a huge shame, particularly if the worst were to happen and you’re left out of pocket.
And, as mentioned earlier, keeping a service plan with a provider you trust just makes sense. It also simplifies matters by keeping your boiler work with one source and in the hands of a single team of engineers with Gas Safe credentials you can account for.
How does a service plan differ from a cover plan?
The clue is in the name, which is why it’s important you make sure you know what you’re getting when you buy a plan.
A service plan focuses on just that: servicing. Under a boiler service plan, you’ll get your annual service to ensure your boiler is in top shape and gets to hold on to the manufacturer’s warranty. That’s typically it, and anything that falls outside of the limited scope of the service plan will need to be paid up on its own terms.
A cover plan offers more under its terms, such as pipework, parts and labour, and may include an annual service too. Accordingly, cover plans cost more.
A cover plan may also include perks like a faster response from the care provider.
Cover plans are often a form of insurance for your boiler, meaning you don’t simply pay your fee and claim when you need to. You’ll usually need to pay an excess for any repair work carried out under the plan.
A boiler service plan doesn’t work this way, and the monthly fee covers the cost.
Do I need a service plan under warranty?
One key difference between service plans and cover plans is that a cover plan may not be useful if your boiler is new or still under the provided manufacturer’s warranty. You wouldn’t be paying for parts and labour for repairs under this warranty anyway, so having a plan to cover the majority of costs may simply be wasted money.
Services, however, are necessary no matter the age of your boiler. During your warranty period they’re arguably more important than ever. Having a service plan to ensure you don’t miss them while getting to spread the cost at the same time is a good idea even while your warranty is active, so they’re not so much an extra provision as they are answering a need.
Cost is not the only factor that makes servicing a necessity. Many issues that would eventually lead to failures in need of repair can be identified during a service.
Regardless of your warranty and whether you’d end up paying for said repair, keeping up with your annual service can stop your boiler failing you when you need it most—like in the middle of winter—and can prevent you making a costly call for an emergency repair.
Does a service plan work out cheaper?
The idea behind the monthly fee structure of a service plan is that you spread the cost out over the year, which helps households that benefit from paying smaller chunks than larger upfront fees.
Depending on the providers you have to choose from, a service plan from one may work out cheaper than a one-off payment for a service ever would with another.
Don’t forget that the added convenience of being reminded to book your service is an extra that you’re getting included in with your service plan fee, adding some more value for your money.
Smaller local firms will always work out cheaper than the big names like British Gas and Homeserve, so going directly to a trusted local plumbing and heating business directly for your service plan will often be the cheapest way to get your boiler service carried out.
How do you choose the right service plan?
Most service plans will look the same: an annual service covered by the cost of your monthly payments. So, choosing the right plan is often less about the plan itself and more about the provider behind it.
Like we said above, choosing a local provider with a proven track record is your best route. The household names will charge much more—despite the fact that they will often subcontract many of the smaller firms who you could approach directly in the first place.
To narrow down your best choice for a service plan, there are a few variables you can weigh up:
A boiler service should only cost so much, and working out the total of your monthly payments for a plan is an easy task. If it seems that you’re paying much more over a year for no clear reason, then reconsider.
Weigh up everything you get for your fees, too. If your provider won’t even remind you that your service is due, what’s really the point in the plan?
You need to know that the people coming into your home to poke around your boiler are well-trained and professional. Any firm offering service plans should be using Gas Safe registered engineers—that’s as much a no-brainer as it is a legal requirement—but you also want them to be polite, punctual, and trustworthy.
Customer reviews can help with this, as can credentials such as being a Which? Trusted Trader, and receiving positive feedback across multiple sites.
Supporting local business is always a good thing. Using local gas engineers is no different, with a local firm able to offer better prices, use local professionals, and get to your property through shorter journeys with smaller lead times.
You don’t want to use a business that sends somebody from halfway across the country and doesn’t have the time to spend with your problem. It just makes sense to use a local firm employing local engineers you can trust.
What can one business offer you that another can’t? How does one firm’s business ethics and costing stack up against another?
It comes down to your happiness as a customer. If you feel like you’ve paid a fair price for a decent service carried out by an honest business, there’s nothing else to it.
What kind of boiler plan is right for landlords?
Landlords are likely to want a broader boiler plan than simply servicing. Although an annual service is equally as important for landlords as it is for anybody else who owns and maintains a boiler in their property, there are other requirements of them that standard homeowners don’t need to consider.
Landlords need to obtain a CP12 Gas Certificate, which proves that due diligence has been carried out and that boilers—among other gas appliances—have been checked and given a clean bill of health.
CP12 certificates need to be obtained every year, making them similar to boiler services in that regard, but both checks are different things. Having one done doesn’t satisfy the need for the other. This is why landlords will want a more comprehensive plan for their boiler that covers both the annual service and the CP12 safety check.
For landlords managing more than one property, or those who just have a lot on their plate, a boiler service plan in some form is helpful as the reminder to have their boiler(s) serviced will stop it from easily slipping their mind.
Where can I get a good boiler service plan?
If you need a boiler service plan that’s simple, cost-effective, and backed by a team of highly trained and experienced engineers in the North West, call us at Bumblebee.
As well as award-winning boiler service and repair, we offer multiple plans that give you the level of care and service you need at a competitive and fair price. Our regular boiler services will keep your heating and hot water systems running in top condition and help you avoid nasty surprises down the road. We also offer new boiler installations.
To find out more about our service plans and what we can offer, contact our team today.