Boiler repair >£500 and it's not working

Hi
I'm seeking advice about boiler repairs.  My boiler is old, it was sometimes not coming on and I was told that this was because of a blocked filter and advised that a magnetic filter would be helpful.  Towards the end of last year a gas engineer who has dealt with the boiler before made a brief visit, cleaned out the filter and got it working again.  But there has been another problem with the boiler persistently losing pressure so I have to manually raise the pressure on a daily basis to get the boiler to work.
The gas engineer came back and said that it was something to do with an overflow vessel being insufficient or losing compliance or something.  He came back and fitted a magnetic filter and some other components to sort out the pressure problem.  I have been invoiced and the invoice says this...
'For the first visit to your home on X date to clean filter on boiler and get heating going as failed.  For the visit today, Y date, to install an 18lt remote expansion vessel, a 22mm magnetic filter to to return pipe on boiler, clean out boiler return gauze filter.
Replace with new diaphragm for flow switch as slow acting.
Add 1lt x 100 inhibitor to system.
Test, satisfactory at this time.'
This comes to £520 which is a lot of money.  I asked him yesterday morning how much it would be and he said 'a few hundred' but he would have to sit and work it out.  There is no breakdown of what each bit costs, just a single figure, is this normal?  Should I be supplied with receipts for the parts (I mean they must be under guarantee)?  I don't know how much is for parts and how much is for labour, and if it is reasonable or not.  Also it is has not worked.  The heating and hot water were working last night but went off at 10pm and did not come on at 0700 this morning because as before, the boiler pressure had dropped to zero.  I had to raise the pressure to switch the heating on mid afternoon and less than 12 hours later it has dropped to zero again.
Can anyone advise?  I have no idea how to handle this.  I know nothing about boilers.  Should I get a second opinion?

Comments

  • tacpot12
    tacpot12 Posts: 7,963 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    It is normal not to receive a breakdown of what each part cost. £520 is on the high side for two home visits and replacing the expansion vessel and fitting a magnetic filter, and repairing the flow switch. You would not normally be supplied with copies of the receipts. The parts are under their manufacturer's warranty, and you access this warranty via the gas engineer. If you ask for a breakdown of parts vs. labour, you need to appreciate that their labour isn't just the time on site; it covers all the business activity that allows the engineer to operate their business; such as producing invoices.

    I would suggest that you should not get a second opinion nor query the bill yet. You need to call the engineer back as they should be providing you with a warranty on their repair as well as the warranty on the parts they have used. I would try to avoid paying the full bill until you have had a couple of days reliable operation of the boiler. 

    If paying the full bill is a problem, ask if the engineer can take a payment by credit card, or ask whether you can pay him half now and half in 30 days. 
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • Thank you so much for responding I really appreciate it and it's very helpful.  I have not even had one day of reliable operation of the boiler and have had to manually raise the pressure after it has dropped three times already, this is actually worse than before the 'repair'.  The heating is coming on when the pressure is raised, so I'm sure that the filter has helped.  As for the remedy to fix the pressure problem, it hasn't worked.  There is no breakdown on the bill of what cost was for the filter and what cost was for the other things.  I contacted the engineer to explain that the pressure is still falling rapidly and have been told that the pressure relief valve in the boiler now needs replacing too.  I am concerned that I am just throwing good money after bad.  I haven't been told how much another visit and job would be.  I think he may have replaced something that was not faulty having not done diagnostics on why the pressure was falling.  I haven't got money to burn and I can envisage a situation where more and more parts on an old boiler keep being replaced in a 'try it and see' kind of way racking up a bigger and bigger bill.  What should I do?
  • JJ_Egan
    JJ_Egan Posts: 20,281 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    Always a problem with old boilers , just like cars they may need a lot replacing .Time to cut your losses and just keep it working for the remaining cold months .
  • Risteard
    Risteard Posts: 1,885 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    I haven't been told how much another visit and job would be.

    Did you ask?
    RECI & Safe Electric Registered Electrical Contractor
    NICEIC Approved Contractor
    ECA Registered Member
  • tacpot12
    tacpot12 Posts: 7,963 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    edited 3 February 2021 at 6:31PM
    I would ask for the price for them to supply and fit a new Pressure Relief Valve. In my experience PRVs are prone to failure when there have been problems with the boiler, so I wouldn't worry too much about the fact that the engineer hasn't been to site to confirm that this is the problem. They are probably right. I would worry about how much it will cost, and whether you can pay the two bills.
    Your choices at this stage are:
    1. pay them what they want to bring you a PRV and fit it
    2. argue with them about the fact that you have a bill for £520 and no working boiler, and see if you can argue that they should pay for the PVR and fitting it (as a compromise, to show you are reasonable, you could offer to pay for the part if they will fit it for free and not charge you for it if it doesn't fix the problem).
    3. call out a new firm to diagnose the problem, and pay them for their diagnosis visit and to come  back with the part(s),  which might cost more than 1. as it will involve two trips for them
    4. find an installer to fit a new boiler (you will still need to pay the first bill from gas engineer) 
     Realistically, option 2 is the best one for you, but if they dig their heels in, it would be better to go with option 1 and see if they will let you pay by credit card or over couple of months. 
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • if you have to keep pressurising the boiler it sounds like pressure relief valve which may just need cleaning as the seal does get coated in muck. Even a replacement costs about £30. But your bill for £520 is a bit too high seeing as the plumber said a few hundred (that means 200 to 300 to me) plus it's still not working right so as tacpot12 said get another plumber to check it out. If you go for another boiler may i suggest keep away from the likes of british gas etc as they charge the earth. Go for a independant plumber who will do it cheaper just make sure they gurantee thier work
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