HVP have published an article about Alisdair Cumming’s move from the automotive industry to become research development manager at Baxi. The article explains how Alisdair believes drawing comparisons between boilers and cars can help installers encourage homeowners to commit to a regular maintenance programme.
It’s a familiar story, where installers warn of the need for regular servicing and maintenance, but the message doesn’t always translate into a language homeowners understand. While many people may not think twice about spending hundreds of pounds to keep their cars running smoothly, this often isn’t a process they equate with keeping the home boiler going.
Explaining how a complex piece of machinery such as a boiler works can be tricky, and cash-strapped homeowners may be reluctant to spend money on their heating system until there is a problem. While boiler manufacturers such as Baxi publish easy-to-understand leaflets to assist installers with this, explaining the similarities between a boiler and a car can be a useful way of getting the point across.
In this vein, a useful comparison is boiler operating hours versus miles driven. Running a boiler for over a year without a service is much like driving a care for 100,000 miles without a check-up- a risk few drivers would take. No motorist would expect their vehicle to achieve the same miles per gallon if it had not been serviced, whereas many homeowners are shocked if a neglected boiler starts to burn more fuel to heat their home.
Indeed, some homeowners may be unaware that foregoing regular boiler servicing can also present a greater risk to their family’s health and safety. This is partly due to a lack of public knowledge around the threat of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Around 50 people die each year from CO poisoning and another 4,000 are treated in hospital. Given that the most common sources of excessive CO in the home are faulty gas appliances, these figures further demonstrate the necessity of annual servicing.
Another comparison that can be made is the effect missing a service can have on a warranty. Much like a car warranty or vehicle insurance, necessary maintenance must be conducted to retain protection, and an annual service is generally a condition of a boiler warranty.
In the same way homeowners would only trust a qualified mechanic to work on their car, they should also know the importance of only using a Gas Safe Registered engineer for any gas work – including servicing. The key difference here is government legislation. It’s critical any gas work is completed to the highest standard, but the law dictates it can only be completed by a Gas Safe registered professional, whereas there are no specific laws or ongoing training requirements relating to car mechanics.
Baxi encourages all reputable heating engineers to make a habit of showing their ID card before beginning work, to help educate homeowners on the importance of the scheme.
Not only does this ensure the safety of the homeowner, it also means their annual service is valid for warranty purposes. For a Baxi boiler to be eligible for a warranty it must be registered within 30 days of installation, and the Benchmark checklist must be completed. Once a new boiler is registered on our installer loyalty scheme, Baxi Works, we send out a yearly reminder on behalf of the installer, so the customer knows it’s time to arrange a service.
Ongoing homeowner education is just one of the ways the industry can work to improve gas safety. By making comparisons to familiar scenarios, such as car servicing, installers can help ensure the crucial message gets through loud and clear.
At R M Labels, we regularly bring to the attention of our readers any articles that encourage installers to promote their Gas Safe credentials to their customers. As a licensed supplier of Gas Safe products that are only available to Gas Safe registered installers*, we would suggest that all Gas Safe registered installers or heating engineers should include the Gas Safe logo and their registration number on information passed on to customers. These details can be added to annual service labels that can be applied to new boilers as they are installed. We all know how quickly time passes and it is easy for customers to forget when an annual service is due. Having a service label on the appliance will be a constant reminder of when the next service is due so that the date doesn’t get missed, and so causing the warranty to be invalidated. Furthermore, displaying your information on the appliance will save your customers time trying to locate your details and will mean they are more likely to contact you first each time they need any working doing, rather than trying to find someone else.
*Every time Gas Safe licensed products are sold by R M Labels, the purchaser’s details are checked on the Gas Safe Register to ensure they are a registered installer and their details match those given on the Gas Safe Register.
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