When something goes wrong with your heating it’s not usually advisable to try fix it yourself even if it doesn’t involve gas. A simple job like changing a valve on a radiator usually means draining down dozens of litres of dirty water, ideally without staining your white carpets. Even if you do manage to refill the radiators you could easily air-lock pipework, your pump or the boiler or unknowingly move debris into the heat exchanger - so DIYers be warned – with heating systems it’s usually better to get an experienced and fully equipped expert in!
Heating Engineer's hourly and daily prices are generally highest in London and the Home Counties, they can be considerably lower elsewhere. Use HaMuch to search in your postcode/town and you will see a graph of what Heating Engineers charge plus a list of heating businesses with all their contact details including what they charge. Location, qualifications, overheads (office staff to answer your calls, appropriate insurance, clean vehicles and clothing etc) and how busy heating and boiler engineers are all affect the price you will pay and the lowest or highest prices are not necessarily the best value for you. Getting an excellent boiler engineer for the right price while avoiding additional cost due to poor workmanship or cheap substandard materials is a challenge every homeowner faces sooner or later. It helps a lot if you communicate clearly what you want and treat your heating engineer respectfully (they have mortgages, families and bills to pay too). If you get on with the heating engineer you hire then you are more likely to avoid disagreements and have their ongoing support (paid for) in the future should a problem occur.
Heating and boiler professionals undertake training, worked hard to build their business and take pride in what they do and so they are generally very professional and honest. What often leads to arguments is when unexpected problems and costs occur. To avoid these disruptive disagreements both the homeowner and heating engineer should communicate before, during and at the end of a project so everyone understands what the expectations are, what is happening and what the outcome is. If at some stage something unexpected appears then together and calmly a plan of how to proceed (including additional costs if relevant) can be agreed without tearing each other’s heads off and everyone feeling hard done by.
Paying Cash - there used to be a big culture of paying cash to your boiler technician etc to avoid taxes/VAT etc and generally not receiving an invoice in return. Apart from being illegal it also leads to arguments and lack of on-going service. If you want honest people in your home then don’t encourage them to be dishonest.
VAT - Most heating engineers are VAT registered because all the boilers they buy/sell quickly take them over the VAT threshold so normally you will be charged 20% VAT on top of the bill - check whether your quotes include this as it makes a big difference. Some works have reduced or no VAT depending on current laws e.g. works which improve efficiency or are Eco friendly. Heating engineers are not VAT experts so if you think your work is exempt check for yourself and then point it out.
Materials Mark-Up - we can all google the cost of everything nowadays but the lowest price isn’t necessarily what your heating company will be paying. They cannot spend days shopping on different websites if they are concentrating on working to get your heating working quickly. When they arrange, collect and sometimes even return materials it costs time and money so it is natural that they build in a margin to cover this. If you want to organise buying expensive items yourself to save not paying a Mark-Up then many heating engineers will work with you as long as you allow them to earn a fair income overall. You may not be allowed to purchase a gas boiler but contradictively you can buy gas stoves or ovens yourself!
Payment schedule - is made up of 3 stages; deposit, stage completion payments and final completion payment. It is important that the expected amounts, timing and conditions for payment are written down and agreed by signature so you and your heating engineer know what to expect and arguments are avoided.
Deposit - It is fair to pay a deposit to cover materials which is often 20% but if you are getting a £3,000 boiler installation then the boiler and accessories could easily cost 50% of the job and you may be asked for a bigger deposit.
Stage completion payments - this should be simple as long as you have a written agreement, stick to the schedule and your heating engineer should be happy.
Completion payment - the amount held back for completion should be significant so that it is worthwhile the tradesperson enduring any snagging process where together you look at any details of the job which require completing prior to the final payment.
Extra Costs - Even with the best laid plans and years of experience extra labour or materials can be required on top of those budgeted for. The potential for argument would be where the labour or materials is not perceived as ‘Extra’. Try to both be fair and if these extras were not agreed then often it is appropriate to have a discussion about what is an additional fair cost – however this should not be an opportunity to charge excessively.
Heating Engineers get busy when the cold weather starts, in the UK that’s usually after the first cold weekend in October, and they stay busy until the Easter holidays (i.e. early April) when most people stop relying on central heating. If you know that you have a problem or a project then it will be calmer and possibly cheaper if you plan it to happen between April and September.
If you have had a heating company work for you and you paid them fairly then they will usually make an effort to get to you quickly.
Make sure you agree what you expect the guarantee to be and how long for. If you are getting a new boiler different manufacturers offer different duration and terms and conditions of guarantee. Beware of guarantees which are only valid if you continue to pay expensive insurance policies such as those given by some of the big gas/insurance suppliers.
By law, all tradespeople must be Gas Safe registered to carry out gas work. Registered tradespeople carry a personal ID card, so check their licence number and expiry date.
Some tradespeople have ratings on their profile page or you can ask your selected heating engineer for past customer’s contact numbers and speak to them directly about their experience.
All heating and boiler engineers need to be covered by Public Liability Insurance which covers everything from a personal injury claim to damage to your property i.e. if your tradesman breaks something in your house or has an accident, the insurance company will pay for it. Your tradesman should either have their own policy or one from their employer which covers them – ask to see a copy. The amount varies from £1 to £2 million.
If you are installing a new Oven, Fire or Shower Head then most likely you (the home owner) will have selected it. Once you move away from the visible products and functional things like boilers, shower mixer valves, pipework etc then the tradesperson is more likely to be guiding or outright making the decisions. There will be cost and installation time differences for different systems eg for pipes; plastic push-fit, metal press-fit or solded copper pipes and if you do not discuss your preference then you may end up with the cheapest and easiest which possibly may not be ideal for you a couple of years later. Ask your heating engineer what the benefits are of each system and then decide whether you want to pay extra, this way even if you pick the cheapest option at least you know what you are getting.
|Location||Hourly Cost / Rate||Daily Cost / Rate|
|Rhondda, Cynon, Taff||£33||£200|
|Bath & North East Somerset||£39||£251|
|North East Lincolnshire||£35||£232|
|Basingstoke & Deane||£50||£264|
|Dumfries & Galloway||£29||£220|