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As I mentioned in my “spending during my no spend week” round-up, our boiler broke and had to be fixed this week.

It stopped working last Sunday – we thought it was just a sensor playing up but when the plumber replaced the thermostats on Tuesday evening, it still didn’t fix the problem so he had to come back on Saturday – replaced another thing (essentially a £35 washer on the diverter valve), went through a whole load of troubleshooting then replaced something else, something more expensive, something electronic. And you know what? if we’d acted earlier, we could have avoided all of it.

We hadn’t had the boiler serviced in the year and a bit since we moved in. We knew we should but didn’t get around to it.

A few months ago, we noticed that there was something leaking very, very slightly (the washer thing on the diverter valve) but we pretty much ignored it – we’d get it fixed when we got it serviced and getting it serviced was on “to do at some point” list.

Those with a speedy intellect may have made the leap that, with hindsight, is painfully obvious. The leak dripped onto electronic control board and after a couple of months of occasional dripping, the board decided it had had enough.

After finally fixing it, the plumber did a service – he thought it was possibly the first service it had ever had, in its eight years of use, not just our 15 months here – and between that, all the parts & the rest of his labour, it cost us £292 – and left us without any central heating or hot water for a week in the middle of winter. (Our woodburners did a great job of keeping us warm in the living room and office, but the rest of the house was chilly and felt increasingly damp as the week went on.)

If we’d had a service and had the diverter valve thing replaced when we first noticed the drip, it would have cost us about £90 in total. The boiler would also have been running inefficiently because of eight years of build up.

We’ve learnt a very important lesson about maintenance – and about how procrastination can cost you a lot more money in the long run. I really hope we apply the knowledge in the future!

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