BG Central Heating breakdown care

Page 1 of 11  
Having had a new CH system fitted 3-4 years ago I thought it was time to get it serviced..should really have been every year...but you know how time passes :-)
I phoned up Vailant who have in the past been excellent at attending to problems (diverter valve problems on a then new model). They said however that they were too busy now to send engineers round to service combis and that it was better to get one of the British gas policies that includes servicing.
I had thought about the BG policy in the past and thought I may as well get the policy to protect against some unwanted/unplanned costs that may arise and as it included servicing seemed like a good time to do it.
However, after the engineer left the building, my wife phones to say he didn't seem to do much...certainly didn't vacuum out the boiler which I thought would be a standard part of service.
Looking on the website now I see it's not neccesarily a service but
"a yearly safety and performance inspection (except for electric boilers) to help reduce breakdowns "
That sounds a little crap and if my wife is correct, then we still need to get it serviced otherwise it'll certinaly shorten its life at best nevermind the effects of it running innefficiently.
Anyone have any experience of these policies and what the 'inspection' is supposed to include ? I'm afraid I didn't spend too much time looking into it before hand which was stupid in retrospect. It didn't really cross my mind that they'd send someone round once a year to polish the boiler housing and not bother checking inside it considering they're supposed to cough up for any problems. However I don't really want to knock 5 years life of the boiler because it's not actually being serviced properly. The policy is "Maintenance and Breakdown" cover so I expect some Maintenance...not just breakdown cover...and I don't class a visual inspection as maintenance.
Ant.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 29 Dec 2003 08:26:01 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@btinternet.com (ANt) wrote:

I had some experience of this a few years back.
The advertising is very good. It's when you sign up that the disappointment begins. The TV advertising, especially, I felt, is very misleading. They feature a man and a boy team who show up at a hapless customer, and the patter gives the impression that they are offering a paramedic service. I felt that this was less than honest and have a case with the ASA about it.
My own experience, one winter when the boiler failed was disappointing when I called them. They were not able to send anybody for five days. I asked them why and they said that they were experiencing a lot of staffing problems and were prioritising vulnerable people like the elderly and families with small children. I escalated the issue through their organisation until I reached director level but got absolutely nowhere. What pissed me off the most was that they felt that this way of working was acceptable - they still very much have the attitude of a public sector service industry. Sorry, but in the commercial world at the prices that they are charging, they need to make arrangements to provide a reasonable level of service, and it isn't for them to play God over who gets service and who does not.
In the end, I repaired the boiler myself at a cost of 3 for a new thermocouple and about 30 minutes work.
BG, on threat of legal action, refunded my entire year's contract payment, although continued to protest that they were inside the contract conditions.

It may or it may not be. If you look on Vaillant's web site, you will find the installation and service documentation for your boiler.
Often BG will just put a combustion analyser in the flue and test carbon monoxide level. This is one indication of correct behaviour and safety but does not necessarily say whether the boiler is operating at its most efficient.
One can argue that pulling the boiler apart every year is not necessary - it depends on what the manufacturer recommends.

I can understand that you feel short changed, but check what the manufacturer suggests.

Their other favourite games are to tell customers that their systems need to be powerflushed. Not included. Expect to pay 500-800 for this. You can *buy* the machine for little more than this, and can certainly hire them. Alternatively, you can do an effective job in other ways for next to nothing.
If a boiler looks as though it is going to cost them time and money to fix, then they will tell you that it is beyond economic repair and then offer you a new one at an arm and a leg over anybody else in the market. They'll sweeten the deal if pushed by giving you three years breakdown cover. Give!! Hmmm...
If you are paying by standing order, I would cancel it immediately and offer them 30 for the work they did already.
Then find yourself a local heating firm or fitter to do the work.

.andy
To email, substitute .nospam with .gl
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The advertisements are b******s. Even if you provide your own meter readings over the web BG will send a letter every 18 months threatening legal action unless you allow them into your house to 'perform a safety check'.
The safety check is someone turning up to (surprise, surprise) read the meter. As he is not Corgi registered I'm not sure that this 5 second safety check has any meaning!
What's worse is that they will only read the one meter even if asked to read both because BG supply both the gas and electricity. A few months later another threatening letter arrives in order to safety check the electricity!
--
Alan
mailto:news2me_a snipped-for-privacy@amacleod.clara.co.uk
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 29 Dec 2003 20:38:39 GMT, "ARWadsworth"

That's going to be very interesting. Please keep us updated as this one progresses....
.andy
To email, substitute .nospam with .gl
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 29 Dec 2003 22:51:53 GMT, "ARWadsworth"

Nice technique. I've found that on several occasions with large and especially public service type organisations like this that the approach of exposing or threatening to expose individual's incompetence can often produce results.
.andy
To email, substitute .nospam with .gl
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 29 Dec 2003 20:38:39 +0000, ARWadsworth wrote:

Let us know how you get on.
--
Ed Sirett - Property maintainer and registered gas fitter.
The FAQ for uk.diy is at www.diyfaq.org.uk
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I don`t know if they`ll swing that far by way of expenses, but www.energywatch.org.uk do set "missed appointment payments" under the guaranteed standards.
Energy suppliers (both gas and elec afaik) are also obliged to read the meter once every 12 months (might have been extended now), and to change the meters every x number of years. For electric I think its a 20 year cycle, commonly known as an SMC (statutory meter change).
-- Please add "[newsgroup]" in the subject of any personal replies via email * old email address "btiruseless" abandoned due to worm-generated spam * --- My new email address has "ngspamtrap" & @btinternet.com in it ;-) ---
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 29 Dec 2003 19:28:39 +0000, Alan wrote:

This could only mean checking that no one has taken the meter out of service and bridged it with a hose.
--
Ed Sirett - Property maintainer and registered gas fitter.
The FAQ for uk.diy is at www.diyfaq.org.uk
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 29 Dec 2003 21:08:10 +0000, Ed Sirett wrote:

Not for your safety thats for sure, only a CORGI can do a gas appliance safety check and to do it properly on a place with boiler and gas cooker would take the best part of a morning. Ed?

This is the real reason, safety of their revenue. I believe there are some regulatory restrictions on how often *they* *must* read the meter.
--
Cheers snipped-for-privacy@howhill.com
Dave. pam is missing e-mail
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 29 Dec 2003 22:29:27 +0000, Dave Liquorice wrote:

Well realistically given a reasonable standrd of installation (that does not beg to be inspected deeper) I would say something like 1-2 hours, including doing all the paperwork and testing the meter+ pipework.
Depends on the age and complexity of the appliances
--
Ed Sirett - Property maintainer and registered gas fitter.
The FAQ for uk.diy is at www.diyfaq.org.uk
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 29 Dec 2003 18:28:55 +0000, ARWadsworth wrote:

Also anyone that remote is not on mains gas, bulk LPG tanks or even Oil!
Have you noticed they have now added a bit of 'small print' something about 'safety checks still being required' - but it is only displayed for a moment so I have not looked at it very closely.
As for the OP problem. 1) There is a culture and public perception that boilers need servicing and whilst I agree that an annual quick safety check is a good idea it really is quite unnecessary to pull a contemporary boiler apart annually. Most can years before needing a good overhaul.
2) There is also a culture of never touching a gas fire and these really do need to be looked after much more than they generally get.
3) Sniffing the flue gases with a gas analyser might well be good enough as PART OF an annual check. What else needs doing will depend on the type of equipment - there is little to check on a modern boiler but at the very least the burner pressure must be checked.
Older boilers with a thermocouple should have the time between the pilot flame going out to moment the gas valve 'clunks' out measured. 60s is the maximum, whilst there is no minimum times under 5 seconds could suggest a nearly expired thermocouple which will save a lot of hassle if it is replaced right away. Also the valve going clunk is not guarantee that the valve has shut off so that should also be checked - as they get older some valves get very sticky inside.
Much older boilers with open flues will need careful checking with smoke matches every year, and they temd to pick up a lot of dirt so theyt need stripping down most years.
--
Ed Sirett - Property maintainer and registered gas fitter.
The FAQ for uk.diy is at www.diyfaq.org.uk
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 29 Dec 2003 18:28:55 GMT, "ARWadsworth"

It would be interesting to find out where that cottage is, and how far it is from the nearest gas main - and how much BG would charge to connect them !
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

<snip>
<snip>
<snip>
Http://www.lawson-his.co.uk/pdf/Rothenburger%20Advanced%20Pipetool%20Tec hnologies.pdf - Rocal 20 descaling and flushing pump. 'For the efficient removal of lime scale and sludge from you know where. 311 + vat. Or try googling for 'Rothenburger'. I think HSS hire if out too, also a hydraulic pipe/radiator tester as used by all the U/F installers.

--
Andrew

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

On Sunday, I was staying at my girlfriend's parents. Central Heating went wrong (nothing obvious), so they called the BG breakdown care.
Lots of 'It may be a couple of days before we get to you' until the girlfriend's mother mentioned that she was elderly and that her husband suffered from a couple of serious conditions.
BG turned up before lunch.
Afterwards my girlfriend's mother asked if we had the BG breakdown cover. She understood why we didn't, when I pointed out that as we couldn't play a 'magic' elderly, infirm, children, etc card, we would be waiting for BG until the middle of the following week, if we were lucky.
JB
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I suppose that one can always lie, and ancient granny can be tucked up in bed because of the cold, away from the eyes of the fitter when he shows up. However, it isn't really the point. They should provision so that you get the service legitimately before lunchtime as well.
.andy
To email, substitute .nospam with .gl
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

I wonder if there is a market for a 'We are Bastards, and don't care about the elderly and sick' emergency service that gives priority to no-one, and allocated the jobs in the strict order that the calls came in.
If it was successful it could leave BG with 100% priority cases, with a bit of a dilemma as to what to do.
JB
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

First come, first served. Exactly the way it should be otherwise too many people will get priority service by lying about their circumstances.
--
Alan
mailto:news2me_a snipped-for-privacy@amacleod.clara.co.uk
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.