Neil Watson, technical director at ADEY Professional Heating Solutions, welcomes the news that homeowners could save more money if they upgrade their household boiler. However, he warns that the year-on-year benefits could become obsolete if boilers are not serviced regularly.

Updated figures now suggest that homeowners who upgrade from D-rated to A-rated boilers could save £160 on typical fuel bills, compared to the £105 saving that was estimated in 2013. Upgrading from an E-rated boiler is now estimated to save £190 instead of £155.

However, if homeowners are to benefit from these savings year on year, it’s crucial that installers help them to understand the importance of regular boiler maintenance. Recent research commissioned by ADEY revealed that just 55% of homeowners have an annual boiler service, and one in 20 even consider getting their boiler serviced an unnecessary expense.

Very few homeowners will understand how vital it is to ensure a system is clean before having a new boiler installed and that without regular maintenance, heating systems lose efficiency quickly, reducing the lifespan of the boiler and increasing the amount of energy it takes to heat our homes.

Our research suggested many people don’t understand the benefits that having an annual boiler service will bring, and just let it keep chugging away in the corner without giving it any attention. Even some heating professionals tend to underestimate the value of water treatment within a heating system. They often think that introducing cleaners or corrosion inhibitors is purely about protecting the base metals within the boiler. They don’t understand what it contributes to the overall energy efficiency of the heating system.

Originally, maintenance was all about the boiler and preventing limescale deposits, but in reality it is the heating system as a whole we need to consider – not just the ability of the boiler to deliver heat into the system. Corrosion of steel creates black magnetite, which then collects as sludge in the radiators to the point where the water just passes around the system rather than delivering heat, and the boiler has to work harder to achieve the same room temperatures.

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, crucially, ensure it’s safe to use. Upgrading a boiler is a costly exercise and is usually done out of necessity when an old one breaks down, but nevertheless, surely most people would welcome the opportunity to maximise ongoing cost savings?

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.