Replace room thermostat

Job description: isolate supply to room thermostat and replace room thermostat.

What adds expense?

'If the thermostat is poorly located (for example: near a draughty door or not in a living space), you might benefit from a wireless replacement that can be relocated in a more suitable place,' explained Which? Trusted trader Chris Teale from London-based HITGAS. 'The initial outlay is more expensive, but a better located thermostat will make the heating more efficient and the temperature more comfortable.'

How can I make it cheaper?

'If you’re thinking of replacing the room thermostat because it has become a bit grubby over the years, try cleaning it first,' suggested Chris. 'They can often be cleaned up well with a good quality household cleaner. Don’t allow the thermostat to get wet as it’s connected to an electrical supply.'

If you have a wireless room thermostat that is not working or has a blank display, it will contain batteries – usually AA-size. Check whether replacing these solves the problem before calling out an engineer unnecessarily.

Check the Which? guide on smart thermostats for lots more information on different products, tips and advice on installation.

Gas boiler replacement

Job descripton: drain down system. Supply and fit a replacement gas boiler.

What adds expense?

'Opting to convert from a system with a cylinder to a combination boiler can become expensive because the pipework needs to be reconfigured,' Chris told us. 'The cylinder and tanks also need to be decommissioned and removed.'

How can I make it cheaper?

'Although it may be tempting to choose a cheaper boiler, paying a little more can get you up to a 10-year manufactures’ warranty on parts and labour,' Chris said. 'This can save hundreds of pounds should the boiler fail in future.' Always read the small print on your warranty. Often, the boiler must be serviced annually by an approved installer otherwise the warranty will become null and void.

Check the Which? guide to best buy boilers for more information on the different boilers on the market.

Repair split pipe or water tank

Job description: isolate the water supply and drain pipework. Cut and replace split section of pipe or replace tank and alter pipework as required.

What adds expense?

Chris told us: 'Ordinarily, this will be an emergency call out. An out-of-hours call out often costs more. Don’t delay, though, to avoid further damage to the property, such as ceilings coming down.

How can I make it cheaper?

'Ensure that your tanks in the loft have a water bypass kit installed, including an insulating jacket. Insulate all visible pipes in the loft area,' advised Chris. 

If you’re going away in the winter, leave your heating on with the room thermostat set low, such as at 10℃. Your heating will come on if the temperature drops and the pipes are at risk of freezing. See more tips on how to prevent your condensing boiler freezing in winter.

Replace shower valve

Job description: isolate feeds to shower, then remove and replace shower valve.

What adds expense?

'If a different size valve is fitted, the area may need to be re-tiled,' Chris explained, 'Getting an extra trader in to re-tile could significantly increase the cost.' 

How can I make it cheaper?

'When installing your bathroom, remember that the shower valve will eventually need to be replaced. Choose a shower that has replaceable cartridges so the whole valve does not need to be removed,' advised Chris. Choose a thermostatic shower valve. They prevent fluctuations in temperature when another tap is used in the house. Many models have a safety feature to prevent children or the infirm from accidentally setting the temperature too high.

Damp patch on the ceiling underneath shower cubicle

Job description: locate and repair the source of the leak.

What adds expense?

'Ignoring a damp patch usually results in the problem worsening which can cause more damage to your property,' said Chris.

How can I make it cheaper?

'Inspect the silicone seals around the bath or shower, recommended Chris. 'They can come away over time and allow water to seep through when the shower is in use. It’s possible to replace the seal yourself. Check the quality of tile grout as this can crack and diminish over time, allowing water to escape which damages the walls.'

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