There is a huge opportunity for heating engineers and installers to help the millions of homeowners failing to maintain the health of their central heating systems, according to research commissioned by ADEY Professional Heating Solutions.

ADEY’s survey of more than 1,300 UK homeowners revealed that just 55% have an annual boiler service, and one in 20 consider getting their boiler serviced an unnecessary expense. However, heating systems lose efficiency without regular maintenance, reducing the lifespan of the boiler and increasing the amount of energy it takes to heat our homes.

The research also showed that 45% of homeowners claim to have a boiler between 10 and 15 years old. Worryingly, 25% of people who have lived in their current home for more than 15 years say they have never had their boiler serviced.

Furthermore, almost a third (30%) of homeowners have a problem with their central heating system, with one in 20 suffering from low heat levels. One in 10 people put up with noisy pipework in their homes – a common indicator of debris in the heating system – and 15% of people admitted they turn the thermostat up to try to fix their boiler, burning more fuel than necessary on a healthy heating system.

“Boilers are the 'forgotten workhorses' of our homes,” said Lucy Siegle, broadcaster on consumer and environmental issues. “We expect them to carry on pumping away without any TLC, but homeowners need to understand that a well-maintained system costs less to run. This is where installers have a great opportunity to use their insider knowledge and help their customers counter rising energy bills by ensuring their heating systems work safely and efficiently.”

ADEY’s commercial director Rebekah Howard said: “The results of our research suggest that many people don’t understand the benefits that having an annual boiler service will bring, and worryingly, just let their good old boiler in the corner keep chugging away without giving it any attention.

“The current climate presents installers with a timely opportunity to be telling customers how a well-maintained and efficient boiler can help save money on heating bills, reduce the risk of it breaking down when it’s cranked up to keep them warm, and ensure it’s safe to use.

“Installers can be assured that many of their customers will welcome this advice, as three quarters of homeowners surveyed wanted to know about the simple changes they can make to the central heating to reduce energy bills.”