With the cold weather finally here, it’s likely your boiler has already been put to the test. The winter months will put your heating system under extra pressure, thanks to increased use and freezing temperatures. Even if your boiler appears to be working well – do you know how efficient it really is?

Like a car, regular maintenance will help to keep your boiler running at its most efficient.  And thanks to advancing technology, it is now possible to have a fuel efficient boiler without compromising on comfort or reliability.

If you’re considering replacing your boiler in the future, be sure to ask about the most efficient options available. The initial investment could work out to save you money over the lifetime of the boiler, so consider the whole life costs (asset costs plus running costs) when making purchasing decisions.

Avoiding boiler failure

Heating systems in business premises are often complex, as you may have more than one boiler and steam boilers to consider, along with links to building controls. Managing these effectively can be challenging and we often rely on our maintenance or facilities teams to keep old boilers limping along.

At British Gas, we get called out regularly during the colder months to resuscitate old boilers and flagging heating systems. These winter breakdowns tend to have the biggest impact on business operations, both in terms of disruption and safety. So how can you avoid this happening?

I asked our Commercial Services Managing Director, Phil Manock, about the most common causes of boiler failure and whether these problems are avoidable. Here some his tips on boiler care:

•   Boilers can break down for a number of reasons and in most cases the problems don’t happen without some forewarning – so pay attention to how your boiler is working and act on any warning signs as soon as they arise

•   Many boilers – like most other pieces of equipment – can lose their efficiency over a long period of time. Wear and tear is the most common complaint for boiler problems and can be easily prevented with regular maintenance and servicing

•   Worn parts can usually be replaced before a boiler becomes faulty, so regular maintenance could mean the difference between having a reliable system that will work efficiently at the touch of a button or the discomfort and inconvenience of a cold building

•   Other common reasons for a sudden or poor heating performance include, sludge build up in radiators, inadequate insulation or poor controls, so be sure to get these checked regularly

My last point on boiler maintenance is to highlight that – as employers – all organisations have the responsibility to ensure their gas and electrical systems are regularly checked and certified according to the Heath and Safety at Work Act.  But don’t assume this means they are efficient – it just means that they are compliant.

Remember – Spring forwards, Fall back

It’s nearly the end of the month, which means we can all look forward to an extra hour in bed when the clocks go back. However, don’t forget you might not be the only thing sleeping in – check whether the timer clocks on your business equipment and heating account for British Summertime. If not, you will need to reset them to avoid wasting energy.

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