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AIBU?

Is this boiler engineer U, or am I?

65 replies

PeeAche2 · 04/10/2022 21:18

Today it was my boiler’s annual service and a British Gas engineer arrived as planned.
He was immediately so mardy with me that I thought I must be dreaming!!

2 things he said:

  1. He legitimately told me off for having my thermostat set at 17. He said it was “irresponsible” with kids. I have a 10yo, an 8yo and I was holding my 4mo at the time. He said babies need 21 degrees. Straight up cannot afford 21 degrees right now. Always kept it more like 18 anyway, and it’s never done any of my kids any harm. So I’ve knocked off a degree. Like, isn’t everyone making hard choices like this at the moment? Bought the kids a second hand Oodie each for extra 🔥
  2. He said we should get a newer boiler. Our old one has passed the service just fine but it is old. (20 years). We aren’t planning on getting a new one until it’s on last legs. Engineer pointed at my baby and said “if I were you, for the sake of her, I’d have bought a new boiler over getting that extension done”


We are in the midst of adding a granny flat for my MIL who has suffered a stroke and now needs to move in. It’s not like we’re putting in a bloody home gym or something!!

My husband who WFH overheard the second comment and came and threw the man out!!

Currently a like-for-like boiler replacement for our size house would be about £8k. So, although it would be more energy efficient, we’d like to wait.

We aren’t rich or poor. Just middle. Have zero leftover income each month at the moment and don’t know who TF he thinks he is telling me how to spend my money and care for my kids. Please vindicate me by telling me you think he’s an unreasonable tosser!!!
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andtheweedonkey · 05/10/2022 10:07

If you've more than one bathroom you'd be better with a system boiler not a condensing combi anyway. We did this with our (old BF boiler) and it's been fabulous.

When the time comes, ask @PigletJohn for some advice. He's a Star

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LadyDanburysHat · 05/10/2022 10:07

I agree on the thermostat comments. Ours is in the hall by the door so is set to 16-17 and that means 21 ish in the other rooms.

I'm glad your DH chucked him out. He was incredibly rude.

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Newnamefor2021 · 05/10/2022 10:12

That’s crazy. He had absolutely no reason right to say that to you. My husband is a BG engineer. He says most people 19-22C. But equally years ago people didn’t have heating and just wore more clothes. He says it’s low but it’s nothing to do with him regarding what temp you chose to hear your home.

the boiler thing is that it’s a fire-able offence to not offer “best advice”. Which generally comes in the form of sales. The argument from the company would be that if your boiler fails and they can’t source parts then you will be without any form of hearing until they source parts or a boiler is replaced. A 20 year old boiler is likely to not have all parts available. Which plenty of customers do complain about if they weren’t warned. So I get that point. The reality is though it’s absolutely is about sales.

id certainly complain, you can request to not have that engineer again. And what temp you choose to heat your home is your business and nothing to do with him.

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YellowTreeHouse · 05/10/2022 10:13

He’s right - 17 is far too low for a baby.

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queenofthewild · 05/10/2022 10:18

Sounds like the BG idiot who serviced my mum's boiler.

Despite passing the safety checks he told her "I wouldn't sleep in a house with a 30 year old boiler". My mum replied "you won't have to. I've not invited you to stay". She promptly cancelled her BG contract and found a lovely independent engineer instead.

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Svalberg · 05/10/2022 10:19

YellowTreeHouse · 05/10/2022 10:13

He’s right - 17 is far too low for a baby.

Unless you've done a survey of OP's house, you have no idea whether it is or not. It depends upon the sensor location what a sensible setting is. I would guess that the baby doesn't sit under the sensor all day!

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Campervangirl · 05/10/2022 10:22

Engineer was a twat but I'm fan girling on your DH for chucking him out!
My oh would have hidden whilst I chucked him out 🫣😂

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Lindy2 · 05/10/2022 10:25

He has no right to comment on your thermostat temperature. 17 is lower than average however, plenty of people haven't turned their heating on yet. We haven't. The house temperature is OK and if we're a little chilly in the evening a blanket and hot water bottle makes it perfectly comfortable.

A 20 year old boiler is at risk of starting to have some issues. A new boiler is probably something you need to start to think about. However, I'd be amazed if it cost as much as £8K. I work for a gas engineer and we're based in an area with a large number of truly very large houses. New boilers in those houses don't cost anything like £8K and my boss always uses top quality parts and does very thorough work.

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dementedpixie · 05/10/2022 10:28

YellowTreeHouse · 05/10/2022 10:13

He’s right - 17 is far too low for a baby.

My thermostat is currently still set well below 17⁰C as its not that cold yet (I'm in Scotland). When it is colder I will put it up to 19⁰C.

We recently got a new boiler as ours was 20+ years old. Our BG guy had said for quite a few years that it would be hard to get parts but it never actually ever broke down. He never tried to pressurise us to replace it as it was still working even if it was inefficient.

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worriedniece · 05/10/2022 10:29

Wow- he totally over stepped the mark. It's been 15°c in my 8 month baby room and he has been fine and still slept through OK. He has a thick sleeping bag and layers

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dementedpixie · 05/10/2022 10:32

andtheweedonkey · 05/10/2022 10:07

If you've more than one bathroom you'd be better with a system boiler not a condensing combi anyway. We did this with our (old BF boiler) and it's been fabulous.

When the time comes, ask @PigletJohn for some advice. He's a Star

You get condensing boilers that aren't combi boilers. It's a new condensing boiler we got but we still have a hot water cylinder and feeder tanks in the loft

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PutThatDownNow · 05/10/2022 10:32

We had a very old boiler in our previous house, already old when we moved in. Every year for 15 years BG came to service it and told me it should be replaced. Apart from the year that one of them told me it was the best boiler he would see all week... When we did eventually replace it the cost was a fraction of what BG had been quoting me.

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GasPanic · 05/10/2022 10:36

Thing is even if the new boiler is 20% more efficient, it still takes years to recover the install cost. Efficiency improvements are a nice bonus, but unless you are using truly horrific amounts of gas even at today's prices it's going to take a very long time to recover your money based on efficiency savings alone.

Re replacement costs, I think the market is problematic. Mine was about 3K, they tried to sell me some extra widgets as well that I researched and pushed back on. I thought that was expensive. Then I spoke to a mate of mine down south who got quoted 12K for a system a bit more complex, but still nowhere close to justifying the extra cost - and it was from an independent.

So I think the market is having a lot of problems with price discovery at the moment, with the availability of boilers and the cost of the install absolutely all over the place. It pays to shop around.

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ifonly4 · 05/10/2022 10:39

It's none of his business what temperature you have your heating set at, unless it affects your boiler working.

The second point about a new boiler - he's probably on commission for any new boilers installed with an introduction from him. On that point though, you'll get a boiler when your present one is on it's last legs, I would just say you don't know when that's going to be. Ours packed up at 10 years old, our old engineer and the one who ended up installing a new one couldn't find the cause, and manufacturer refused an emergency call out. By the time we'd had boiler double checked, got quotes in and had it installed it was five weeks - obviously not pleasant in winter. If you do go down the route of a new boiler sometime, get a couple of quotes in before approaching British Gas as their quotes will be the highest and you'd want to make sure they're the right organisation for the job.

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Ffsmakeitstop · 05/10/2022 10:47

We had a boiler that old and when it started breaking down it was awful. Especially 4 adults wanting showers. We had to coordinate going in one after the other to make sure there was enough hot water.

We eventually went with a company called boxt and just replaced the boiler as the radiators are okay. We pay £67.00 a month for 3 years BG wanted £7000.00.

They are online so probably everywhere. It's a bit ironic that now we have an efficient boiler we still have to be careful using it.

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Ffsmakeitstop · 05/10/2022 10:50

To answer your question yes he was a twat. You probably do need a new boiler but presumably you know that don't need a mansplaining twat telling you. Well done your DH.

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perenniallymessy · 05/10/2022 11:09

queenofthewild · 05/10/2022 10:18

Sounds like the BG idiot who serviced my mum's boiler.

Despite passing the safety checks he told her "I wouldn't sleep in a house with a 30 year old boiler". My mum replied "you won't have to. I've not invited you to stay". She promptly cancelled her BG contract and found a lovely independent engineer instead.

Your DM sounds ace!

Unfortunately, if you report to BG it won't do much- he would be in more trouble with them for not recommending a new boiler than for recommending one. He has probably got a target to meet and has moved to hard sell.

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cultkid · 05/10/2022 11:10

Wtf??
Also why 8k? What do you have?

My husband never ever ever would talk to any clients like this

Report him to his boss

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blobby10 · 05/10/2022 11:15

PeeAche2 it would be worth getting a quote from a local heating engineer (depending on how much of a contract you are in with BG). When I had my boiler serviced, I asked the engineer how long it had left and he said although it was 20 years old it could last another 10 or 15 years or it might only last 1! But that old boilers often last longer than the new ones these days o not to panic and replace immediately. As it turned out, the next year I replaced it anyway as there was a screw that hadn't returned to its setting properly and it might have caused the whole thing to fail. It was a large 4 bed detached house and the boiler and installation cost around £4k.

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bigbluebus · 05/10/2022 11:16

I'd have told him to keep his opinions to himself and get on with the job he was employed to do - as he's not paying your bills.
My thermostat is currently set at 16°c. I'm wearing a t-shirt and a thin fleece. It's not cold today in the Midlands.

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ancientgran · 05/10/2022 11:21

I think it really depends on where the thermostat is. My thermostat is at 21 but it isn't triggering the boiler, if I put it at 17 or 18 the heating would never come on even in the depths of a bad winter.

I don't think they put the thermostat in a good place but we just know we have to allow for that.

So unless he knows the circumstances of your house he's talking rubbish.

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GenExer · 05/10/2022 11:36

You're definitely not being unreasonable OP.

We recently had a similar situation with a British Gas engineer trying to dictate temperatures to us whilst carrying out our annual boiler service. This instance was to do with our hot water.
Ours was set at 55c by last year's engineer which we've been happy with as 65c was too hot for our shower.
DH caught this year's engineer fiddling with the thermostat and asked him what he was doing. Engineer claimed our temperature was too low and should be at 65c 'because of Legionnaires disease' DH replied no, that occurs at temperatures less than 50c and ours was at 55c. Switching it to 65c would be far too hot hence why it was changed last year.

He also identified a slight leak in a filter that had self sealed but didn't want to touch it because in his words 'Something's bound to go wrong and it's a Friday afternoon'.

The whole process of getting an engineer here was peppered with them consistently not showing up for the arranged visits and not hearing why.
We'd go elsewhere but for the fact we're tied into a 5 year contract with BG as they replaced our boiler 2 years ago and that was the T's & C's.
As soon as that guarantee is up we'll go with someone else!

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Speedweed · 05/10/2022 11:36

In my acquaintance everyone who has had a boiler service recently has had a conversation where the recommendation is that they get a new boiler. It's like the last hurrah before boilers are out and boiler engineers are demoted to plumbers...

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altmember · 05/10/2022 11:43

Getoff · 05/10/2022 09:54

Shouldn't cost 8k either, if it's just swapping the boiler out.

If it's that old, it will be a swap to a condensing boiler, which might require hugely expensive work to lay a waste pipe.

Maybe if it needs half a mile of condensate pipe plumbing! 2k for the boiler, 6k for the waste pipe?

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BiddyPop · 05/10/2022 11:47

We had a boiler that was17 years old when we bought our house, with engineers sucking their teeth on each annual visit. It failed literally the friday of the weekend that the builders were coming on the monday morning to build an extension which included replacing boiler - 5 years later.

That one last us another 15 years, but happened to blow the week before christmas in 2019 (again yearly servicing and had been getting the teeth sucking for a couple of years) - but we got a local company to replace it that week (I think it below on 19th and we got replacement on 23rd) at a fraction of that price. And we have a wood stove so would have managed if we had to wait.

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