I had never heard about British Gas HomeCare until a couple of years ago, odd considering that according to the BBC, British Gas has signed up 4 million UK householders to the service! Unfortunately, it was out of necessity that I had to begin researching for boiler repair options when suddenly our home boiler began to spew some rather unpleasant looking water over the kitchen.
Initially, we called a local plumber to look into the problem, as we didn't have any heating at this stage. Several calls later we were only left with the one option locally (which happened to levy a call out charge). The sum of this was that we were charged an exorbitant fee for a tradesman to have no idea what the problem was - with the only proposed remedy being a "powerflush" which would cost hundreds of pounds but would not be guaranteed to fix the problem. We declined the offer and sought a second opinion.
Upon speaking to a colleague I was recommended the British Gas HomeCare plan so I had a look at their website for details. As we were running out of options (and I was cold) we decided to sign up for the HomeCare 100 plan. I understand that HomeCare 200 is the most popular of the range, but we only live in a small flat so we opted for the cheapest option.
Once our HomeCare account was set up we arranged for an engineer to come out to view the boiler. An afternoon visit was arranged and the engineer arrived within the agreed timeslot. Within 10 minutes of arriving, the British Gas engineer had diagnosed the boiler problem. The boiler would need new parts, but they were inexpensive and should arrive quickly.
As we had only just signed up for the HomeCare plan, we had to pay for the repair (a negligible fee) because you can't call out an engineer within the first 28 days of taking out the plan. Understandable I suppose to stop people from simply signing up to HomeCare once the boiler breaks, getting it fixed for the price of the monthly fee and then stopping the direct debit.
A day or two later the parts arrived, and helpfully as the engineer lived locally he arranged a more specific time that he could visit to fit the parts. Twenty minutes later we had a warm flat and only distant memories of unnecessary "powerflushes".
Two years later, we still have our HomeCare 100 plan and have no plans to discontinue it. For just over £10 per month you can be safe in the knowledge that if your boiler starts to misbehave you can have an actual expert look at it for no extra call out charge, and fix it for no charge either.
Worth every penny in my opinion.
There are 8 different HomeCare options available. The "Flexi" offerings include a call out fee, whereas the standard HomeCare offerings don't.
Finally, if you intend to take out HomeCare cover make sure you do it online. If you order it over the phone you will be charged more than the advertised rate on their website. The savings can really stack up over time and it’s really easy to sign up for online. We have an overview of the sign-up process here with screenshots showing how easy it is.
Boiler Scrappage Scheme
*please note that the government scrappage scheme has now ended, however several companies including British Gas continue to offer similar schemes*
December 2009 saw the announcement from the UK government that they will introduce a boiler scrappage scheme which will provide a £400 rebate towards replacing energy inefficient boilers rated G or worse with energy efficient boilers. The government has pledged £50 million so far which means approximately 125,000 boilers will be replaced. However, there are 4.5 million households that currently have boilers which would qualify under the government boiler scrappage scheme so if you plan to apply it is incredibly important to do so as quickly as possible because the money for boiler rebates will run out fast.
Government Boiler Scrappage Scheme Summary
In summary, you will likely qualify for the government boiler scrappage scheme if :
1. Your boiler has a G energy rating or worse
2. The boiler is in working order and is the main boiler used to heat the home
If you have found that your old boiler will likely qualify for a boiler scrappage scheme by checking our boiler energy rating database and have found that your boiler is rated at 70% efficiency or G rating or worse, you will need to act very quickly to apply for the scrappage scheme as there are far too many people that would qualify for the scheme compared with the funds that the government have allocated, therefore, you need to apply without delay so that you don't miss out.
You need to:
Research the new A rated energy efficient boiler you would like to buy.
Get a boiler installation quote
Arrange for a boiler installation engineer to give you a quote for the work.
It is important that you do not have the boiler installed prior to being accepted onto the boiler scrappage scheme as this will invalidate your rebate. You should choose your new boiler, get a quote, apply for the boiler scrappage scheme, and once accepted you will be given a £400 voucher which will be issued to you up to ten days after application from 18 January 2010 onwards. The £400 voucher can then be used as a rebate against your new boiler.
Also in this section:
Boiler Products - An A-Z of central heating boilers and energy ratings
Boiler Troubleshooting - How to spot common causes of boiler and system malfunction
British Gas HomeCare Review - An honest review of the British Gas HomeCare service
British Gas HomeCare Sign-Up Overview - an explanation of the process
British Gas Home Electrical Care - Peace of mind for your home electrics
British Gas Plumbing and Drains Care - Peace of mind for your plumbing and drains
Buying A New Boiler - Maintenance and energy efficiency.
Central Heating Boilers - Maintenance and energy efficiency
Installing A New Boiler - Replacing your old central heating boiler
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