Servicing your gas boiler is vital to keep it running smoothly and to protect the environment and your safety. So be smart – follow the experts’ recommendations!
What could be worse than facing a boiler breakdown in midwinter? This highly unpleasant situation means having to find an emergency heating engineer, which can be quite a feat when demand is high. Prefer to avoid this type of problem? Arranging a regular gas boiler service seems the obvious solution, as long as you know how to organise it.
In Belgium, checking your gas boiler involves two different operations: periodic inspections and the annual boiler service.
Periodic inspections are mandatory for all central heating boilers. This is a large-scale maintenance operation. It includes cleaning the gas boiler and the fume evacuation system and adjusting the burner. It is also an opportunity to check the combustion quality and the boiler’s compliance with the regional requirements of the EPB heating regulations. These regulations have two goals: preventing atmospheric pollution caused by central heating installations and reducing energy consumption.
Regular boiler servicing (generally annual), meanwhile, involves more minor maintenance. It differs from the periodic inspection in that it does not check compliance with the EPB requirements.
Did you know? A diagnostic or “heating audit” supplements the periodic inspection and annual service. This consists of an in-depth investigation of the central heating installation to evaluate its energy performance and detect any loss of efficiency. In Brussels, this audit has to take place in the year before or after the boiler’s fifteenth anniversary. In Wallonia, however, it is required at the same time as the first or second periodic inspection and after any changes to the installation. Finally, a diagnostic is mandatory every five years in Flanders.
Maintaining your natural gas boiler is mandatory in all three regions of Belgium. However, each region has its own strict legal framework in this area, which means the required frequency is not the same throughout the country. Let’s see when you have to service your boiler based on where you live.
Residents of Wallonia and Brussels have to have a periodic inspection every three years for gas fuels. The inspection thus replaces one out of three annual services. In Flanders, the periodic inspection must take place every two years, together with sweeping the chimn-ey that evacuates the combustion fumes.
Take note! The periodic inspection must be carried out by an approved technician, unlike a normal service. Afterwards, the technician will give you a signed service certificate summarising the boiler’s condition. Always keep at least the two most recent certificates.
Finally, remember to make an appointment to service your boiler during the summer! This is the time of year when heating engineers are most available.
As a rule, a boiler service takes between an hour and two and a half hours, depending on the boiler’s condition. As for the price, to avoid nasty surprises after the work is done, ask about the boiler service cost when making the appointment. Better still, request non-binding quotes from several technicians. This guarantees that you can choose the best price, or at least the best value for money.
On average, the cost of servicing a condensing gas boiler or other model is between €110 and €130 including VAT. The price can rise if parts need replacing or if call-out costs are included.
To keep the bill down, you can sign up to a boiler service plan or boiler maintenance contract with an energy supplier or a specialist company. Why? To entrust the future maintenance of your system to a single heating company, who can ensure it is inspected in time over the years to ensure you meet your legal obligations. What’s more, the company can carry out gas boiler repairs at any time of year for a guaranteed fixed price throughout the contract term. In fact, don’t hesitate to negotiate the amount to pay for boiler protection on the basis of your long-term commitment. In most cases, the price will be €150 to €200 for a service every two years.
Don’t know which gas boiler cover to choose? A tip: always check what the contract includes. Depending on the central heating cover and the service provider, as well as inspecting the boiler, cover might include call-out costs, sweeping the chimney, maintaining radiators and thermostats and even the cost of spare parts (all or only some). If you encounter a problem that is not covered, you’ll still have to put your hand in your pocket to solve it, whether you call the same company or a different engineer.
Who has to pay for gas boiler maintenance in Belgium, the tenant or the landlord?
As specified in most leases, the tenant is responsible for keeping the property in good condition, which includes regularly servicing the heating and hot water systems. It is therefore in tenants’ interests to keep invoices for periodic inspections and annual servicing to be able to show them to the landlord when necessary. If a problem arises, for example.
Sometimes, the lease specifies that the landlord can schedule periodic inspections or central heating services. The landlord is usually entitled to claim a refund for the work from the tenant.
Note that the obligations in terms of servicing a gas boiler are different from the rules on repairs. If the system breaks down, the cause of the damage will determine who is responsible. Basically, if it is due to age, normal wear or force majeure (an unforeseeable and unavoidable event), the landlord will be responsible for repairs. On the other hand, if it is due to incorrect handling or damage caused by occupants, it is up to the tenant to pay for repairs.
Why maintain your natural gas boiler? Because the operation offers several advantages, whether you have a condensing boiler or not:
Want to maximise your chances of saving money on heating? Nothing could be simpler! Compare natural gas prices to find the energy suppliers offering the best prices! If you need help to work out the cheapest gas deal and find the price of a m³ of gas, contact our energy advisers on 0800 37 456.
The price of an annual boiler service or periodic inspection can seem high. However, it is an essential expense. Postponing your boiler maintenance brings the risk of a fine if you are checked, not to mention being turned down by your fire insurance company if the worst should happen.
What’s more, remember that ultimately your boiler will still cost you if you don’t maintain it, because cleaning it improves its energy performance and limits part wear.
While Belgian law requires central heating systems to be maintained, it is less demanding when it comes to gas heaters and water heaters. There is no obligation to have them regularly inspected. However, it is strongly recommended if you want to avoid any risk to your health and safety and give your appliance the longest possible life. To find out how often it should be serviced, check the equipment’s instructions or ask the manufacturer.
Want to know more about the different heaters and boilers and the heating fuels available on the Belgian market? Have a question about servicing a gas boiler and its burner? Don’t hesitate to contact our advisers by phone on 0800 37 456 or by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).Respond!