So, what are the early repercussions of these cost pressures? For one, a recent Gas Safe Register survey of 2,000 homeowners found that nearly a third of homeowners intent to skip their annual gas safety check this year, due to the cost of living crisis. This is despite the majority (77%) being aware that regular servicing can help gas appliances run more efficiently and, in turn, save money on household bills.
Although there will always be some that will never get their boiler serviced, regardless of price, this seems like a turning point to me. We are now in a position where a significant proportion of people who would like to get their appliances serviced simply cannot afford to do so.
This should be a concern for the industry. If boiler health is going by the wayside, many more inefficient, or perhaps even dangerous, systems won’t be fixed when they should be. Although heating engineers have a duty to fix problems where they arise, they can’t be expected to perform acts of charity, especially with the ever-expanding costs of running a business. These cost pressures will also have to be passed onto the consumer at some point, if they haven’t been so already.
As such, the industry is trapped in a vicious spiral where these much needed services are costing consumers more. And, by not undertaking them regularly, consumers could face, over the long term, negative outcomes such as steeper energy bills, heating systems that break down and have to be replaced more often, or, worryingly, possible adverse impacts on their health.
There is no easy answer to this conundrum but, on the current path, no-one wins – consumers have to spend more and don’t get to live in safe, warm homes, and engineer work dries up as fewer people get their boilers serviced. Something needs to be done, and quickly.
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