James Elston

Published April 9, 2024

So, your boiler has been deemed unsafe – just what you needed to hear, right?

A condemned boiler is a serious issue, and we understand how frustrating it can be. Along with navigating the potential dangers, you must contact a professional about repairs and/or installing a new boiler.

Just how worried should you be? And where do you start?

We’ve put together a practical guide so you know exactly what steps to take next.

A Condemned Boiler Explained

A condemned boiler is one that is marked as unsafe for use by a gas emergency service provider. It means your boiler is no longer burning and utilising gas correctly due to faulty internal mechanisms, inadequate ventilation, or general deterioration.

But before you panic, this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to get rid of your boiler completely. It all depends on what category it falls into and whether it’s possible to make it safe once again.

A Gas Safe registered engineer will use the Gas Industry Unsafe Situations Procedure (GIUSP) to assess the state of your boiler, which complies with the law under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.

It’s important to fix or replace an unsafe boiler, as gas leaks can lead to fires and explosions, not to mention the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.

According to the NHS, there are approximately 60 carbon monoxide-related deaths in the UK every year. It’s a scary statistic, but a scenario that can easily be avoided.

Severity levels

Once a boiler is condemned, it will fall into one of two categories:

Condemned boiler: Immediately Dangerous (ID)

As you might suspect, ID is the most serious category and faults must be addressed as soon as possible.

“Immediately dangerous” means that if you continue using a boiler that remains connected to a gas supply, it poses an immediate threat to your life and property.

Some reasons why a boiler may be marked as ID include:

  • A faulty pilot light that isn’t burning the gas correctly.
  • A damaged flue pipe.
  • Rust, erosion, and general wear and tear.
  • Failing safety mechanisms.

A boiler marked ID will be immediately disconnected by a heating engineer and cannot be used until it has been fixed or replaced.

There is the option of refusal, but the Gas Emergency Service Provider (ESP) can legally and forcibly enter your property to disconnect your gas supply.

Condemned boiler: At Risk (AR)

If a boiler is marked AR, there are one or more faults that could put your life or property at risk.

In this scenario, a heating engineer will also disconnect the boiler until all faults have been corrected. However, in rare cases, the gas supply won’t be turned off, but a warning notice will be issued.

An engineer will also tell you who to contact for more information and what steps to take next.

Apart from these two categories, your boiler could be marked for an ESP visit. This is usually when there is a suspected gas leak at your property.

Emergency Procedures

Having an emergency plan in place can help you navigate a potentially dangerous situation. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Know how to shut down your boiler. Should you notice a problem with your boiler before a gas emergency service provider does, it helps to know how to shut it down. Each boiler installation is slightly different, so speak to someone who can guide you through the process.
  • Discuss evacuation with your family or housemates. You want to ensure the people living in your home are aware of potential dangers and know how to evacuate the building. Make sure everyone knows what to look out for and that they understand how to get out of your home safely in the event of a gas leak or fire. Keep emergency numbers in a safe and accessible place.
  • Check your external boiler connections. Some boilers are fully enclosed within a building, which can be an issue when you’re dealing with condemned boilers. If you want to supplement an unsafe boiler with a temporary rental unit, you will need external boiler connections.

Gas emergency number

If you smell gas or suspect a leak, contact the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999. You can also reach them via textphone (minicom) on 0800 371 787.

If you’re a British Sign Language (BSL) user, use SignLive to contact the National Gas Emergency Service free of charge.

What To Do After Boiler Condemnation

Once a heating engineer informs you that your boiler is condemned, here’s what you should do.

Don’t assume the worst

It’s understandable that you’ll feel alarmed after hearing your boiler is unsafe, but it’s important not to panic. The point is that a fault has been found, the boiler has been disconnected, and the issue can now be addressed.

Get professional advice

Your heating engineer will provide you with a report, outlining whether or not faults can be fixed or if you need to source a boiler replacement. Either way, you’re going to need professional help.

Find a new boiler

If a Gas Safe engineer has told you that you need a new boiler, it’s time to start searching for a boiler that meets your needs.

Even though being without heating and hot water isn’t ideal, this is not the time to rush your decision – this is one of the biggest investments you will ever make for your home.

A boiler lasts anywhere between 10 and 15 years, so it’s worth the extra research.

There is always the option of hiring a temporary boiler until you can find one that you want to purchase.

Take time to shop around and get several quotes before making a final decision. We’re more than happy to help you out with your first quote at Eco Happy.

Boiler finance options

A new boiler can be a big expense and it’s not always possible to find the cash to get your heating system up and running again.

Fortunately, there’s always the option to finance your boiler if you don’t qualify for a boiler grant, even if you have bad credit.

Breaking up the cost of a new boiler into monthly payments makes it much more affordable. You may not even need to pay a deposit. You can find out whether you qualify here.

Prevention Strategies

Preventing a condemned boiler should always be your goal. Here are a few strategies to keep in mind to ensure you’re not left with an immediately dangerous (ID) status:

Know when to replace your boiler

As your boiler gets close to the 10-year mark, it helps to perform a few DIY boiler checks. This will give you an idea of when it’s time to replace your boiler. A unit that is 15 years or older most definitely needs to be replaced.

Here are some common signs to look out for that indicate your boiler needs to be replaced: 

  • Your boiler’s losing pressure constantly
  • Strange smells coming from your boiler 
  • Unusual boiler noises (banging, gurgling, kettling, and clunking)
  • Higher-than-usual energy bills
  • Boiler leaks 
  • You can’t source the replacement parts 
  • The boiler keeps shutting off
  • The boiler is beyond economical repair
  • Frequent boiler breakdowns 
  • Insufficient hot water 
  • Radiators take longer than usual to heat up 
  • Yellow ignition flame (indicating a carbon monoxide leak)
  • Your boiler is older than 15 years

Only use Gas Safe heating engineers 

When it comes to handling repairs, installation and servicing your boiler, these jobs should only be undertaken by a Gas Safe heating engineer. 

Using an underqualified professional to repair your boiler or performing DIY fixes yourself only increases the likelihood of the unit becoming condemned. Additionally, it can void any warranty that your boiler has. 

A Gas Safe engineer has the necessary training and skills associated with safe gas handling. This ensures you can have peace of mind, knowing that your boiler has been serviced and/or repaired according to current safety regulations. Plus, it is a legal requirement that boilers are only worked on by these professionals. 

These heating engineers will be able to identify any problems with your boiler promptly to prevent them from turning into major issues down the line. They’ll also be able to advise if your boiler needs to be replaced. 

While you may not be able to perform any DIY fixes on your boiler, there are a couple of maintenance tips that you could use to prolong its life. 

Arrange an annual boiler service

Arrange an annual boiler service with a Gas Safe registered engineer to prevent a condemned status.

A professional can identify minor issues before they become serious problems. Plus, if you arrange a service during the summer months, you can be sure you’re all set for cold winter weather.

FAQs

Is it worth repairing an old boiler?

A boiler that is between 10 and 15 years old is generally not worth repairing. Repairing an old boiler may seem like a quick fix, but the repairs may only last a few months. Other issues may also arise, resulting in you needing to replace it anyway.

Can a plumber fix a boiler?

When it comes to your home’s heating, a plumber would generally only focus on the heating system, including your radiators and pipework. Not all plumbers are qualified to repair or replace boilers. It’s best to turn to a Gas Safe engineer for assistance instead.

How much does a new boiler generally cost?

New boiler prices can start from £500 to as much as £4,500. It all depends on the brand, the boiler’s capabilities, and the needs of your home.

What does it mean to decommission a boiler?

Decommissioning a boiler refers to disconnecting it from all fuel sources and/or power supply, as well as all pipes leading to and from the system. A decommissioned boiler remains on the property.

Final Thoughts

Having a boiler condemned is less than ideal, but even an immediately dangerous status doesn’t need to lead to panic stations.

Getting rid of your old boiler when the time is right and seeking help from a Gas Safe registered professional means you can keep your home warm and safe throughout the year.

Eco Happy is ready to help you throughout this process. Whether you need a boiler service or advice on modern boilers, contact us today.

James Elston

Boiler Expert


James Elston is the top boiler replacement and heating expert at Eco Happy. He has over 20 years of experience in the industry, focusing on Gas Safe boiler installations and offering home-heating and energy-saving solutions to homeowners across the UK. From sourcing the most energy-efficient combi boiler to providing specialist heating advice, James ensures that Eco Happy maintains the highest standards and best customer service.

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