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Time to fix 'fit and forget' culture

Over three million UK households have never had their boiler serviced, according to research from the Benchmark Steering Group.

Benchmark raises standards in installation, commissioning and servicing and is responsible for policy and management issues concerning the Benchmark Scheme.

The survey of 2,000 people was conducted to support the launch of the upcoming Benchmark apps. It invited UK households to answer questions about the maintenance of their heating systems. While 76 per cent of respondents claimed that boiler servicing was either important or very important to them, almost half of them admitted that they don’t maintain their boiler within accordance to the manufacturer’s guidance.

With 80 per cent of breakdowns resulting in homeowners being left without heat or hot water for at least a day, and one in 10 enduring this for three days, it’s clear that a greater awareness is needed around boiler servicing. Not only are these resources a lifeline for those who are vulnerable, if left unchecked heating systems can incur unexpected costs.

Furthermore, 15 per cent of homeowners are not sure if their boiler is in or out of warranty, supporting the need to further educate consumers to ensure they are well informed.

Billy Wilgar, deputy chair of Benchmark Steering Group said: “The results show that while UK homeowners know the importance of servicing, this is not translating into proactive action. It’s essential that boilers are serviced annually to improve efficiency, prevent the loss of heating or hot water and protect residents.

“Given that almost half of the respondents had suffered a boiler breakdown in the last five years, it’s clear that it’s more important than ever to encourage prevention rather than cure. In support of this, Benchmark has launched a new app allowing heating engineers to keep track of servicing and maintenance of the heating system, simplifying the process and allowing for full transparency.

“With a homeowner app to follow early next year, it’s our hope that the apps will ensure more accountability, and prevent us from remaining trapped in ‘fit and forget’ culture”

The new Benchmark apps will act as a digital passport for heating systems, storing key information for engineers to access, including installation and servicing history. They will encourage regular servicing via annual push notifications to homeowners, as well as allowing heating engineers to fill out the Benchmark checklist on their phone to tablet at the time of installation.

18 December 2020

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