It is important however to use a qualified person to do the work. There is a lot of equipment and knowledge required to carry out a complete service. I got my boiler serviced by a professional a few weeks ago and I took pictures of each stage of the process. I have added these below.
My particular boiler is a 14 year old oil fueled Firebird popular 90 type. During the summer the flue cover blew off the chimney and I had to secure it with stays. As a result during the service, water (and one snail!) was discovered inside the firebox. This is not a good way to prolong the life of your boiler. Photographs below.
1. Starting to remove the front panel of the boiler.
2. Front cover opened up to access the firebox for cleaning.
3. Front panel cover on the grass, with the boiler side facing upwards. Note that the insulation on the cover is in poor condition. In other boilers this insulation is not exposed but is protected behind metal. The water found later in the fire box may have caused the insulation to fail sooner.This is replaced later, see photograph 8.
4. Removing the steel plates above the fire box to allow cleaning.
5. Plates nearly all removed, note snail shell on right hand side plate.
6. Burner removed from boiler, note the oil nozzle at center of burner, this is replaced later.
7. The body work is scraped as much as possible. The debris were removed from the fire box below by hand. Then a vacuum cleaner was used to clean out the lower firebox. But in my case, as stated previously, water was lying in the bottom of the firebox. Therefore the water had to be removed first. Kitchen roll and rags were used to do this, as other wise the vacuum cleaner may have been damaged sucking up water.
The flue gas properties were checked for efficiency by drilling a small hole in the flue, turning on the boiler and inserted a flue gas analyser. This was left in and the air intake settings were adjusted to increase the efficiency. This step was done prior to step 9 (before the nozzle was replaced as the results indicate that the nozzle was dirty) and then redone afterwards. The small test hole drilled in the metal flue was taped up with aluminium sticky tape. But this should only be done after the flue has cooled to avoid burns. The photocell needed to be replaced also as part of the service.
I hope this was helpful to show how much work can be involved to service a boiler properly.
Since this article was first published an OFTEC qualified boiler servicer, e-mailed me to say that he would do two things slightly differently to ensure more accurate results using the flue analyser, these were:
1. The cover should be on the burner to get more accurate air intake readings and prevent excess air readings.
2. The hole drilled for testing the flue gas should be at least 150mm above the boiler spigot.
Thanks for the input Peter.