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Will your boiler break this winter?

Discover which boiler brands offer the best warranties, and how you can fix the most common boiler fault yourself

Will your boiler break this winter?

If you’ve made it this far through the winter without your boiler breaking down, it might be reassuring to know that you’ve got through the highest-risk months for boiler failure.

And if your boiler is still going at the end of February, your chances of a costly repair significantly decrease.

That’s according to the UK Boiler Breakdown Study 2019, conducted by Boiler Guide, which crunched the number of repair requests it receives each month.

Read on to discover the most common boiler faults, the importance of regular servicing, and which boiler manufacturers offer the most generous warranties.

When’s your boiler most likely to break down?

The chart below shows the percentage of repairs that occur in each month, alongside the average monthly temperature in the UK.

Unsurprisingly, your boiler is much more likely to break down when it’s colder outside. This is because it’s on more often and gets heavier use, but also because one of the most common boiler faults – a frozen condensate pipe – occurs when the outside temperature drops below freezing. The good news is that you can fix it yourself.
Modern condensing boilers have a pipe that drips the condensation from the boiler into an outside drain. When the outside temperature drops below zero, these condensate pipes can often freeze, which leads to the boiler shutting down as a safety precaution.
If your boiler breaks down during a cold snap, the condensate pipe should be the first thing you check. Our free guide to thawing a frozen condensate pipe could save you hundreds of pounds in call-out fees.

See our guide to common boiler problems and repair costs to find out how much you should expect to pay if yours goes wrong.


Why you should get your boiler serviced annually

It’s difficult to overstate the importance of getting your boiler serviced every year.

You wouldn’t expect a car to work fault-free without a periodic service, and the same is true of a boiler.

It needs regular cleaning and maintenance by a trained professional to keep it in safe working order.

An annual service should cost between £70 and £80, and you can find out more in our guide to getting the best boiler service.

Not getting your boiler serviced annually will also invalidate any remaining warranty.

How much do boiler manufacturer warranties vary?

There’s an enormous difference between the length of warranties available from different boiler manufacturers.

In fact, in recent years there has been a bit of an arms race in the boiler industry, which means that 10-year or even 12-year warranties aren’t uncommon.

This makes it even more important that you don’t get short changed with a meagre two-year warranty the next time you buy a boiler.

In the table below you can see the minimum and maximum length of warranty offered by each of the major boiler brands in the UK.

But beware: the length of warranty can also vary wildly when buying from the same brand, depending on which model you choose and whether you get an accredited installer to fit it.

Brand Minimum warranty Maximum warranty
Alpha 5 10
Ariston 2 12
ATAG 10 10
Baxi 3 10
Biasi 5 7
Ferroli 10 10
Glow-worm 5 7
Heatline 2 2
Ideal 2 10
Intergas 6 10
Johnson & Starley 8 8
Main 5 5
Potterton 2 7
Vaillant 2 5
Viessmann 5 10
Vokera 5 10
Worcester Bosch 5 5

If the worst happens and you need to buy a new boiler, make sure you know the best and worst boiler brands.

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