Using British Gas rather than a local fitter to install a boiler costs 39% more on average, according to a Which? investigation.
And our survey of members shows you’re more likely to be very satisfied with an independent fitter. We asked British Gas and an independent installer for a quote to install a boiler in 13 houses. In each house we asked both to quote for an identical boiler. British Gas was more expensive in 10 cases.
The biggest difference was when British Gas wanted 75% more. The best deal we got from British Gas would have saved us 17%.
What’s included in the price?
British Gas often included extras in its price. These included a magnetic filter and sometimes a power flush of the heating system (most independents quoted for a chemical cleanse). You might want to consider these as they can improve the system’s efficiency and reliability. However, you can opt out and if you do, and doing so would save you money.
If you are getting a boiler installed, get three quotes and ask what’s included, as our research shows it can vary a lot. Find out if the price is fixed – with British Gas it will be, but not with all independents. You’ll also find that some independents are VAT exempt, which may be one reason their quotes are cheaper. Check the fitter you choose is on the Gas Safe Register.
Before choosing a new boiler check out our review of boilers, which includes six Best Buy boilers.
Satisfaction with boiler installation
Most Which? members we surveyed who had a boiler installed by British Gas were satisfied with the service they received. However, you were more likely to be very satisfied with an independent – 70% of members were very satisfied compared with 53% for British Gas.
In response, British Gas claims that 13 quotes we collected weren’t representative. It said it offers peace of mind and a ‘unique aftercare service’. This includes free servicing contracts. It said that its staff were highly experienced and installed nearly 100,000 boilers last year, and that the vast majority of customers had told it they would recommend the company.
Looking after your boiler
You should get you boiler serviced every year to ensure it’s running safely and efficiently. Our survey shows that most people don’t save money with a boiler servicing contract and that it’s cheaper to pay for repairs as and when you need them. However, three quarters of people who had a contract said it was for peace of mind.
If this sounds like you check out our review of boiler servicing contracts to find out which your most likely to be satisfied with.
Lower your gas and electricity bills
You can compare energy prices and switch to a new gas and electricity supplier on Which? Switch. People who switched with us between 1 October and 31 December 2013 are predicted to save an average of £234 a year on their bills.
Which? RSS and Twitter news feeds
For daily consumer news, subscribe to the Which? consumer news RSS feed. If you have an older web browser you may need to copy and paste https://www.which.co.uk/feeds/news.xml into your newsreader.
Follow @WhichNews on Twitter for the latest news, or @WhichAction to see how we’re campaigning for consumers.