During the combustion process, deposits will build up on the internal surfaces of the heat exchanger and the baffles which can decrease boiler efficiency. With some heat exchanger designs, the deposits harden over time and can make it impossible to remove the baffles without destroying them. A replacement baffle will come at a significant cost on top of the routine service charge and could be avoided with regular maintenance visits.
As with any fossil fuel burning appliance, poor or inadequate maintenance can cause the emission of carbon monoxide. Therefore, it is absolutely vital that your oil boiler is checked and serviced at least annually by an OFTEC registered technician.
Carbon monoxide is a highly poisonous gas. It is odourless, colourless and tasteless and therefore difficult to detect. Early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can include: nausea, dizziness, headaches, confusion, vomiting, tiredness.
It is advisable to fit an audible carbon monoxide detector. You can purchase these online at www.oftecdirect.com
Why use an OFTEC registered technician?
OFTEC registered technicians are trained and assessed to ensure they work competently and safely to recognised industry standards for oil, solid fuel and/or renewable heating systems.
OFTEC provides an official photo ID card for each technician and checks that registered businesses hold appropriate public liability insurance for working in customer premises. In England and Wales they can self-certify new installations without the need for local building control inspections and a similar optional scheme is available in Scotland and the Republic of Ireland.
Find your local OFTEC registered technician
Visit www.oftec.org to use our search function or to check whether a business is currently registered. Alternatively, please call our enquiries line (below) and one of our team will be happy to help.
OFTEC plays a leading role in raising standards within the heating industries of the UK and Republic of Ireland. Our trade association represents the interests of liquid fuel heating equipment manufacturers and we develop course and assessment material for training providers. We have over 9,000 technicians registered on our UKAS accredited competent person scheme. We also operate an online shop selling equipment for heating engineers.
Having an oil fired boiler serviced regularly helps to keep it operating efficiently. This reduces fuel bills and saves money on costly call out fees for unexpected breakdowns.
It is recommended that oil fired appliances and equipment are serviced at least once a year or as recommended by the manufacturer. Without regular servicing, the efficiency and reliability of an oil fired boiler will be affected for many reasons including:
- Excessive smoke and partially burnt fuel deposits can cause soot to form within the boiler’s heat exchanger. This restricts the amount of heat that can be transferred into the heating system water. The cleaner the heat exchanger, the more efficient the boiler will be!
- Oil nozzles regulate how much oil passes through the burner. The nozzles are consumable items that wear over time, affecting combustion and lowering boiler efficiency. If they are not replaced this may cause “sooting up” of the heat exchanger.
- Fuel pumps contaminated with debris and/or water can cause premature failure.
- Photocells can glaze over with deposits; photocells are an important safety feature which detect whether the boiler has lit. If a photocell is dirty it may not be able to detect the burner flame correctly and could cause the boiler to shut down randomly. Boilers frequently switching on and off will be less efficient than those running for longer periods.
- Electrodes can wear and attract soot and deposits. Electrodes produce a spark to light the fuel, if they are worn or in poor condition the boiler may not light. Again, this causes inconvenience, inefficiency and increases fuel cost.
Appliances should be inspected, cleaned and components replaced as required when the boiler is being serviced. If your boiler is not serviced annually, it is at a higher risk of breaking down and costing you more money in the long run.
Cleaning the boiler provides a chance to look for the tell-tale signs that parts of the boiler may need replacing. It is also an opportunity to inspect the combustion chamber for the condition of the material and welds.
Old steel heat exchangers will often show rust marks, which provide a warning that the boiler will soon need to be replaced. This approach can limit the possibility of water damage occurring and enables replacement work to be planned, rather than having the inconvenience of trying to arrange a boiler replacement at short notice when a heat exchanger unexpectedly fails.