How to Pay to Fix a Broken Boiler When You Have No Money
21st March 2022
Your boiler is an extremely important piece of your home. Since they heat the water that supplies your central heating system, or hot water for taps - or both, realistically, they’re a ‘can’t live without’ system that we rarely give much thought to because we’re so busy taking their heat for granted.
But what happens when your trusty boiler breaks down, you’re left without hot water, and you don’t have the money to fix it? Repairing it is a big job, and you definitely won’t (and shouldn’t) be able to take it on yourself. It’s also an expensive job and paying for emergency issues like these can be one of the major challenges homeowners face.
And while it may not be the most glamorous thing you want to spend your money on, it’s a necessity that needs to be prioritised. So, whether you’re facing this issue right now and need a bit of guidance, or you just want to be prepared for any future mishaps, (fingers crossed it doesn’t happen!) here’s what to expect cost-wise, along with some of the options available to you.
How much will it cost to call out someone to fix a boiler?
There are two main ways boiler engineers will charge for their services. Either by the hour or a fixed fee. The latter works like a boiler service charge, in that your engineer will perform an inspection, provide you with a quote, and you will be required to pay the set amount. This price should be (typically) set in stone, even if the repairs take longer than anticipated.
The first option - by the hour - is based on how long the engineer takes to perform the repairs. For example, gas engineers can charge between £60 to £100 per hour, or charge a larger amount for the first hour, and then less for the rest of the job. Some engineers may also charge an initial call-out fee, so beware - these costs can add up.
Also note, if you’re a London resident, expect these average prices to be a little higher.
How much will a new boiler cost?
If your engineer finds you need a new boiler altogether, take a look at the breakdown of prices below:
Depending on the system, a new boiler can cost you anywhere in the vicinity of £500 to £4,500. The most affordable boilers in the UK are usually categorised into two types: a combi boiler, which can cost between £500 to £2,500, and a conventional boiler, which can cost between £400 to £1,500.
For a condensing boiler, UK homeowners can expect to pay between £1,300 and £2,500, and for a biomass boiler, you’re looking at a steeper £7,000 to £13,000 (however, they cost less to run).
The oil-fired combi boiler is also a popular version, and they usually cost around £1,000 to £2,800. These boilers have high-efficiency ratings, but they need proper and regular maintenance to sustain their functionality. But as oil prices are rising steadily, you’ll need to factor this in.
But the most popular boiler choice in the UK is the electric combi boiler. Typically costing between £1,500 and £4,500, these boilers are environmentally friendly and don’t release any gas into the atmosphere. They’re also perfect for homes that don’t have space for an oil tank - they’re compact and (most models) can fit in a laundry cupboard or kitchen.
How to pay to fix your boiler
By now you’re obviously wondering, how can you pay for all these expenses when you have no money? Before the bill falls to you, you need to be aware of cases that won’t cost you a penny. Because you never know, they might apply to you:
Claim on your insurance
If your boiler was damaged through no fault of your own, the cost may be covered by your insurance company - check whether you’re eligible to claim.
If you have a leasehold (not a freehold)
The cost of a new boiler will, if required, fall on the freeholder.
If neither of these scenarios apply to you, your best bet is to pay for boiler repairs with your savings, as this eradicates interest fees. However, since the majority of us don’t usually have enough money stored away to solve problems this way, you’ll want to look into these other (more affordable) ways to fund a new boiler:
Reach out to friends and family
Before entering into the world of credit, it’s always worth asking the people who care about you whether or not they can help out. But be careful, no amount of money is worth ruining an important relationship for.
Unsecured personal loans
Unsecured home improvement loans provide you with a simple way to borrow money by taking out a lump sum and repaying it via monthly payments. They’re also a lot safer than secured loans, as they don’t require you to put an asset down as ‘security.’ Many times, this ‘security’ is your home, which means it’s at risk if you don’t make your repayments.
There are many providers out there (like us) so it’s an easy one to access if you have a good credit history. However, if your credit history is bad or non-existent, you’ll find it more difficult to borrow. You’ll likely have fewer options available to you, (including a secured loan) and you’ll probably have to pay for more credit.
So, on reflection, if you have the opportunity to take an unsecured loan, it’s usually the best option.
If you have a good deal on your credit card, (for example, you have 0% APR) you may be able to fund boiler repairs this way. However, only opt for this payment plan if you know you’ll be able to pay it off before you start having to pay interest.
Credit cards can be a cost-effective option if you’re able to manage the payments well. But, if you don’t, your interest payments will usually increase quickly, so it’s imperative you work out and manage your budget carefully.
If you are thinking of paying for boiler repairs via your credit card, be aware of the pros and cons they pose:
If you make your payments on time, your credit score will improve.
Paying for work on a credit card means you could benefit from Section 75 protection, which means if anything goes wrong, the provider holds joint liability.
Due to credit cards charging the seller a fee, many tradespeople and engineers may not accept this payment type. Always mention this to your engineer first if this is how you plan to pay.
If you don’t keep up with your payments, you can damage your credit score.
If your boiler has gone on the blink, don’t panic. While you may not have the upfront cash to make the problem go away instantly, there are other options you can choose. Whether you opt for an unsecured loan and make monthly payments over a period of time, opt for a secured loan, (which may not be the best option but in some cases, the only option) or make payments via your credit card, you’ll be able to finance the repairs in a safe and sensible manner.
Just always make sure to always manage your budget so your future finances aren’t compromised.