So you recently bought a new boiler. Whether it’s to replace your broken down heating system or you recently moved and you want to install a new boiler, you still need to find someone who can install the unit without problems. And in order to do that, you need to find people who are not only reliable and worth the price, but are people who can also help you more than just with the installation of the boiler.
The right boiler installers should have the following qualifications:
- They must come from a reputable company – Have you checked the company website of the installation team that you’re planning on getting? Do they have good reviews there? Have you also asked your relatives and friends who had interactions with the said installation team? From there, you should have a good feel whether they are good at installing boilers or not.
- The installers must know exactly what they’re talking about – When talking with the installers, are they asking you a lot of questions regarding where you want your boiler installed? Are they walking all over your house, checking the water pipes and anything else that can help with the boiler installation?
- The installers coordinate with the heating engineer – The heating engineer should be talking with the installation team when installation day comes. This is because the heating engineer knows more about setting the boiler itself so that it will satisfy your household’s hot water consumption.
- The installer is qualified – The gas engineer should be a member of the relevant gas registration body of that country. For example In the UK it is Gas Safe. Always look for the accredited logo. They can also then register your boiler with GasSafe too.
Installing the Boiler Yourself: Why is it NOT a Good Idea?
During the course of shopping for a new boiler or just literally thinking about what type of boiler you want to get, most people around you would offer different types of boilers that are very easy to install on your own. Please don’t fall for this kind of trap. Not only is it not going to be an easy installation, but the system itself is certainly not worth the price and the hassle.
These so-called “easy to install boilers” are not exactly the type of boilers that will last for years to come. Error codes and issues may likely appear a few weeks or months going live with using them. The price tag for these types of machines may sound very affordable, but as the saying goes, you will certainly get your money’s worth. These are also the type of boilers that do not have cylinders, water tanks, or pressure tanks. They are sometimes combi boilers, but the performance is a far cry from an actual combi boiler.
However, the most important reason why you don’t want to get these easy DIY installation boilers is because you, yourself, are not qualified to handle the installation on your own. You lack the required tools and the necessary expertise to properly install the boiler efficiently. Also, it is illegal to install boilers and other central heating systems without qualification mandated by the authorities.
The Legalities surrounding Boiler Installation
In theory, it is not illegal to do DIY gas work in your home as long as you are competent enough for the job. That means getting certified for this task as a requirement. Working with gas is a complex and dangerous task that requires extensive training, knowledge and experience. And, if the worst should happen and your work results in something like an explosion or gas leak, you could face criminal charges. Put it this way “Would you be able to sleep at night knowing that your incompetence killed your family?” Its just not worth taking short-cuts is it.
It is also against the law to repair or install boilers for other people and most especially if you’re getting paid to do so. This is in direct violation with the “Gas Work” law.
What is the ‘Gas Work’ Law?
Gas Safe in the UK defines ‘gas work’ – which only competent people are allowed to carry out – as:
- Maintaining, servicing, permanently adjusting, disconnecting, repairing, altering or renewing the fitting or purging it of gas or air.
- Where the fitting is not fully movable, changing its position.
- Removing the fitting.
These actions should only be undertaken by Gas Safe registered engineers. It’s important to note that this list is not exhaustive and other things may also be classed as ‘gas work’.
*Correct at time of publishing 2020
What ‘Gas Work’ Can You Do Yourself?
You can carry out any of the tasks set out in the manufacturer’s guide such as adjusting the pressure or temperature of the system with the user controls. You should not do anything which disturbs the gas supply, related components or anything which could affect the combustion process.
As mentioned before, you can definitely go and install your boiler. However, keep in mind for any device or parts in your boiler that you are not very familiar with. If you strongly feel that you need professional help with installing the boiler, then there is certainly no shame in calling for the heating engineer and the installation team to take over the job for you and/or at the very minimum to audit the work to ensure all is compliant.
Some other tradespersons such as plumbers or electricians may be competent to carry out some tasks on your heating system such as working with radiators or water circulation pumps, but any element which involves the gas supply can only be worked on by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
The Qualifications of the Right Boiler Installer
As per the Approved Code of Practice HSE Safety Regulations in the installation and use of gas systems and appliances (1998), boiler installation should only be taken by:
(a) by a person who has successfully completed an industry recognised training course followed by assessment of competence. Training that leads to assessment of competence in
safe gas work should be recognised by the industry’s standards setting body; or
(b) in the case of a currently or previously registered person, where
they have proved competence through a certification scheme; or
(c) for those working at premises that fall outside the scope of the Regulations (see regulation 2(4) and associated guidance), by a person who has successfully completed an appropriate full training course followed by assessment of competence.
In addition, regulation also states that:
Training should be of a standard to enable a gas engineer to achieve competence in the safe installation, purging, commissioning, testing, servicing, maintenance, repair, disconnection, modification and dismantling of the gas systems, fittings and appliances with which they
are working. This should include an adequate knowledge of:
(a) relevant associated services such as water and electricity;
(b) the potential for exposure to asbestos;
(c) the dangers these may give rise to;
(d) the precautions to take.
Anyone who does work on a gas fitting or gas storage vessel must be competent to do so (whether or not they are required to be a member of an approved class of persons).
When you’re shopping for new boilers, the salesperson would most likely ask you whether you already know people who can safely install the boiler for you without issues. If your answer is “YES”, then they’ll most likely ask you details about the installers because should problems come out while you’re using your boiler, the repair will trace back to the people who installed your boiler.
So if an illegal boiler installer did the installation for you, then you may end up in trouble with the law.
The Dangers of Working with Gas
Any good boiler installation team should understand how dangerous it is to work with gas. Whether it’s natural gas or petroleum, any incorrectly fitted gas appliance may end up burning your house (or worse, you) to a crisp. Explosions via a gas leak are a rare occurrence, but it doesn’t mean that it won’t happen to you or to anyone.
Another potential threat is carbon monoxide poisoning. Even with professionally installed boilers and central heating systems may have problems with carbon monoxide too. If your boiler is installed incorrectly, it will start to leak a colourless, odorless type of gas that is especially deadly when inhaled directly. Carbon monoxide poisoning is life-threatening and has affected over 200 people in the United Kingdom yearly. It is also responsible for 50 deaths in the UK every year.
If you notice the smell of gas leaking from your boiler, it is always advisable to stop using the unit and to call your boiler installation team at once. This is also important when you’ve just started using the boiler right after installation. It means that the installation team may have installed the unit incorrectly and it needs to be fixed at once for your family’s safety.
For Landlords: Building Regulations
For landlords who want to install multiple boilers in an apartment, getting the right installation team is a must. Better get the right installation team for the job or else you may end up getting arrested for violating building regulations.
New building regulations demand that boiler installation must meet building regulations. If you’re planning on installing a boiler on your own because it’s just one boiler and you want to save a few pounds, then better make sure that you are following what is mandated according to building regulations. If not, there is no shame in asking for professional help.
Remember, we want to spread the knowledge that your boilers should be installed perfectly. And the only way to do that is to follow these commonsense guidelines.