Plumber or Heating Engineer, who do I need?

Quick guide summary

When should I call a plumber and when should I call a heating engineer to attend?

We often say “I need a plumber” when we need someone to work on our boiler or heating system. A plumber can work on your heating system (radiators, pipework etc), but cannot work on the boiler or the gas pipe. The main difference between a plumber and a heating engineer is that a plumber does not carry any gas safe qualifications. On the flip side, a heating engineer that mainly does boiler repairs is unlikely to work on any other aspects of your heating system. Use our handy table to find the right trades-person for your job. How else can we help? We provide guidance on using an 'Approved Installer', finding your Best Boiler and many other topics in our Information Hub.

Overview of Plumbing and Heating Trades

Plumbers

can change radiators, fit thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs), fit towel rails, powerflush. They also work on bathrooms.

Heating Engineers

can install new boilers, repair boilers, run new gas pipes, fix gas leaks, change radiators, powerflush, fix leaks, install heating controls.

Boiler Breakdown Engineers

tend to stick to repairing the boiler and do not install new boilers or work on radiators, gas pipe etc.

Boiler Installers

specialise in installing boilers and full central heating systems, will do radiators, TRVs, powerflushing, some plumbing work. Will not do boiler repairs

How to use this Guide

Using this guide to find the right trades person for your work

Who should I use for my job?

Where can I find a plumber or heating engineer?

Who should I use for my heating or plumbing job?

Heating and plumbing jobs are incredible varied and require different skill sets. An experienced boiler breakdown engineer that is very skilled in repairing boilers may not get involved at all in heating system work, such as changing a radiator or fitting a new thermostatic radiator valve. A plumber that specialises in bathrooms may carry out radiator swaps and powerflushing but does not get involved in repairing a boiler. Of course some trades people are multi-talented and will do everything! Most tend to specialise.

So who should you call when you have a plumbing or heating based job? We have put together a handy table to help you identify the skill set you need for your works.

Job Type Plumber Heating Engineer (Gas Engineer) Boiler Breakdown Engineer Boiler Installer
Boiler repair
New boiler installation
New or repair heating controls
New thermostatic radiator valves
New hot water cylinder
New central heating pump
Boiler service
New gas pipe or repair to gas pipe
Powerflush
New radiator
New bathroom
Repair or replace taps
Install new shower (not electric)
Install a towel rail

Where can I find the right tradesperson?

Who you need will determine where you look. That said, many trades persons sites list all trades so you are best to also look at the website and profile of a local person and work out their skill set.

Find a Plumber

google business listings are a great way to find a local plumber. Google ‘Plumber Near Me’. They will definitely be geographically close and will hopefully have some google reviews. Alternatively look at Check a trade or My builder websites.

Find a Heating Engineer

bit more tricky as they need to be qualified and their gas safe listing will not obviously show if they are repair or installation specialists. We have done a lot of work to breakdown our heating engineers’ skills – try our installer network listings.

Fina a Boiler Breakdown Engineer

again quite difficult to find this niche skill. We have done a lot of work to breakdown our heating engineers’ skills – try our installer network listings. Or consider boiler cover insurance – we have reviewed 11 boiler cover policies on our site, see who is best: Guide to Boiler Cover.

Find a Boiler Installer

well this is where we come into our own! We have boiler installers galore and most are accredited with at least one boiler manufacturer. Definitely check out our installer network listings. Obviously we love our installer network companies, but we try to be objective. For a review on the different industry operators that will fit you a boiler, read our guide: Get Help Arranging a Boiler Installation.

What would you like to do next?

Use our calculator to get an estimate of boiler installation cost

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Ways to pay for your new boiler installation

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When to swap, change or move your boiler

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Other useful guides

Book a survey with a local heating company

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When to repair or replace your boiler

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Boiler Manufacturer Accreditation Schemes – why use an accredited installer?

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