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Cheaper, non-approved boiler spares may look like a bargain, but they could cause problems further down the line. David Willetts, Commercial Director – Aftersales at Baxi Heating, advises on why installers should always choose genuine manufacturer-approved components.
The first thing to keep in mind when considering genuine boiler parts is the strict certification testing to which gas appliances are subjected. This process involves testing an appliance to rigorous British or European standards, mimicking the various demanding situations that may be experienced during everyday use. By stringently testing its performance when subjected to different scenarios, such as fluctuating mains voltage and gas pressure, it can be concluded that the appliance offers minimal risk during normal operation. Consequently, customers and registered gas engineers are assured that the appliance is fit-for-purpose and, above all, safe.
The key aspect to this testing is that it is carried out on appliances fitted with genuine parts from the manufacturer, which have not been modified. This is crucial, especially for parts of a safety-critical nature. By contrast, using third-party components during boiler repairs can be classed as modification. In turn, this modification may invalidate its existing certifications, which are a requirement of the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations. Crucially, this modification and invalidation also means the unit may become unreliable and, above all, dangerous.
Such danger may not be immediately obvious – after all, many non-approved boiler components are able to fit the product. However, unlike genuine parts, they may not have been produced to a high standard. Indeed, copy parts may be made of low-quality materials which impact overall component performance and unit lifespan. The fact that these parts may not have been tested with the appliances they are promoted for use with may cast further doubt upon their durability in more demanding applications and scenarios.
So, while the urge to save money and opt for a cheaper, unapproved alternative is understandable, these other factors need to be kept in mind. In fact, any initial upfront savings may be negated over time, as even slight differences in tolerance and fit can result in inefficiencies and premature wear, making it necessary to purchase further replacement parts.
For example, the consequences deriving from fitting non-approved flue parts include condensate leaking internally, which could be a potential nuisance and a possible freezing hazard. Moreover, because these parts’ material properties may differ from the manufacturer-approved alternative, they may also degrade prematurely when exposed to ultraviolet light. Boilers repaired with counterfeit parts may also risk boiler lockout through the recirculation of combustion products, and suffer from internal appliance corrosion and elevated levels of carbon monoxide.
Furthermore, and bearing these hazards in mind, it must be noted that during and after remedial work, the service or repair engineer bears responsibility for the product. If a breakdown, or worse, an accident, were to occur due to the use of inappropriate spare parts, the installer could be held liable.
Ultimately, introducing a third-party part into a previously-approved appliance creates a level of uncertainty that risks both the customer’s safety and the installer’s professional reputation. With something as important as a homeowner’s boiler system, such uncertainty should be avoided at all costs. Considering that the manufacturer’s warranty may also be voided if the unit is repaired with a counterfeit part, it is clear that the cost savings are not worth the risk.
In contrast to their non-standardised counterparts, genuine, manufacturer-approved components have been verified as providing a high-quality repair, and are able to return the boiler to optimum performance. Importantly, by specifying and fitting a suitable part, the installer can restore the boiler without any doubt over whether it will remain safe in operation.
Subsequently, it is vital that installers request genuine spare parts from reputable merchants and suppliers. In order to verify whether the part is genuine, the installer should check whether the component in question matches the manufacturer’s specified genuine part number. The manufacturer’s brand will likely also be on the component’s box or packaging, providing a further visual indication that the installer is in receipt of a genuine part. These indicators further confirm that the part has been designed and manufactured to a sufficient quality.
One such example of a reputable supplier is Baxi Genuine Parts (formerly Interpart), who have manufactured and provided high-quality, genuine parts for over 30 years. Parts supplied through Baxi are fully-compliant to protect installers and consumers from the impact of installing non-genuine parts.
Indeed, these manufacturer-approved components have met rigorous quality control standards, and coming with a one-year warranty further assurances over performance. Because they are designed to work better and for longer, both the customer and the installer can also avoid the unnecessary costs and inconvenience of purchasing further replacement parts. Additionally, Baxi parts are easy to install, reducing labour repair costs while maintaining the boiler’s longevity.
My advice is that in order to guarantee consumer safety, ensure boiler reliability and safeguard professional reputations, installers should always specify and install genuine, manufacturer-approved parts during remedial work. Not doing so may lead to short-term cost savings, but opens the installer up to a wide variety of concerns and pitfalls and may lead to financial and legal ramifications.
All Baxi Genuine Parts are packaged in Baxi branded boxes and feature the Baxi Genuine Parts stamp. For more information on genuine parts, visit the website (https://www.baxi.co.uk/trade/boilers-parts-and-accessories/parts) or enter the number below on the freepost reader registration and enquiry card inside this issue.