Commercial Boiler Servicing
How to look after your commercial boiler and keep downtime to a minimum
What constitutes a commercial boiler?
A commercial boiler works in much the same way as a domestic boiler. The main difference is that the output will be greater than 70kW, but exactly how much will depend on the size of your building and how your business uses heating and hot water. Also commercial boilers will usually have pipework over 35mm in diameter. This means you must hire a commercial Gas Safe registered engineer to complete a boiler installation or service for a business premises.
Commercial boilers can be found in many venues, including schools, hotels, warehouses, factories, leisure centres, schools, churches, halls and supermarkets. Not only does installation represent a significant investment, but many businesses depend on these heating systems to be in constant use, 24 hours a day – think of a hotel, for example – so there’s a huge risk of downtime should something go wrong. Therefore, to keep your commercial boiler in tiptop condition and running optimally, it needs to be serviced on a regular basis. This way even minor issues will be identified before they have chance to become a problem.
The average lifespan of a commercial boiler is between ten and fifteen years. Proactive maintenance will help extend the lifespan, minimise business disruption, and reduce your monthly fuel bill, as it won’t waste fuel. The risk of any safety issues will also be significantly reduced.
How often should your commercial boiler be serviced?
Most insurance companies require boilers to be serviced every twelve months at a minimum in order to maintain warranty validity. But given their heavy-duty use, commercial boilers are especially susceptible to wear and tear, so at MHL we recommend servicing every six months. This minimises the chances of a major breakdown. A sudden loss of heating in the middle of winter could cost your company hundreds of thousands of pounds, whatever the nature of your business, and when you consider this, the cost of a twice-yearly service is worth shouldering.
From a legal perspective, as a business owner, the responsibility for ensuring your boiler is in safe working order falls to you. It is also the landlord’s legal obligation to service any gas appliances with the frequency required by the manufacturer, but always check your tenancy agreement as these can sometimes be transferred to you. In addition, you must have an annual gas safety check conducted by a commercial gas safe registered engineer.
Outside service appointments, there are several signs that indicate a boiler needs to be looked at urgently. Any signs of leakage or changes in operation, such as the development of unusual noises – whirring, ticking, or clunking – or the system failing to heat as usual, could be an indicator of a boiler issue. And as mentioned earlier, rising gas bills should ring alarm bells, as an inefficient boiler will use more fuel. So before you switch gas suppliers to try and get your bills down, first make sure your boiler is running as it should.
What does a commercial boiler service entail?
A boiler service includes checking all internal and external components. The service engineer first ensures the boiler, pipework and flue are all installed correctly, and looks to see if proper ventilation is in place, plus check the boiler flame, leaks and any signs of corrosion. Next, the boiler casing is removed to take a closer look at each internal component – burner, heat exchanger, main injector, spark probe, electrical connections, fans, seals, gas pressure and flow, flue and combustion, electrodes, condensate trap and pipe, safety devices. And then the inside of the boiler is thoroughly cleaned to remove any blockages or grime.
Below is a sample service checklist containing some of the tests that will be performed:
✓ Checking for any signs of leaks or corrosion
✓ Clean all parts to maintain efficiency of operation
✓ Conduct combustion analysis after cleaning the burners
✓ Check for emission compliance
✓ Conduct AQMD monitoring
✓ Check and clean water gauges
✓ Perform tests on safety features
A commercial boiler should also be checked against existing regulations that cover non-domestic establishments. There are several laws and regulations that have implications: a performance test needs to be carried out to ensure the boiler is working in accordance with The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998; and businesses and landlords are legally required to give tenants a copy of the building’s Gas Safety Certificate.
When the service is completed, the engineer will provide an extensive report, including any notable issues, such as repairs or replacement parts. It should be looked over carefully before signing to see if all the notes are accurate, and a copy of the report should be requested as most insurance companies require this document for the warranty.
The majority of modern commercial boilers are extremely efficient and hard-wearing, but it’s important that you have it serviced by a qualified gas engineer regularly in order to avoid any unwanted disruptions.
A regular service will:
- Keep your boiler running efficiently for longer
- Minimise costly breakdowns
- Prevent gas leaks or carbon monoxide poisoning
- Reduce the likelihood of flooding
- Ensure compliance with regulations
- Give you peace of mind
- Keep your boiler warranty valid
At MHL, we recommend a six monthly commercial boiler service, and would usually expect it to take 1-1.5 hours, depending on the size of your boiler, pipework, system and property. On average, we would estimate the cost of each boiler service, excluding any replacement parts, to be around £200 (ex VAT)
To make sure you’re looking after your commercial boiler and keeping your downtime risks to a minimum, call MHL on 0800 061 4567 email email@example.com, or use the chat facility on our website.