Five ways to keep your boiler in check

For all you cosy-room-hot-shower lovers, a working boiler is a must. So here are five things you can do to make sure yours stays in tip-top condition.

1. Learn what's what on your boiler

Learn where the switches and controls are, and what the right settings for your home should be. If your radiators are cold, you may have the thermostat set too low, or not have the timer set correctly. It might also be that you have a closed/partially closed radiator valve.

2. Double check - is it switched on?

It’s easier than you think to accidentally turn a boiler off. Make sure it’s switched on. If it’s still not working, check your electricity supply and see if the fuse for the boiler has tripped. If you have a gas boiler, check there aren’t any service disruptions in your area. If you have an oil boiler, make sure the tank tap is open.

3. Frozen pipes are bad news for boilers

Most combination boilers have a condensate pipe that runs outside the house. In the event this freezes, turn your system off and defrost the pipe gently with a hairdryer, hot water, or a towel soaked in hot water. Once everything’s thawed, you should be able to restart your boiler. You might consider lagging the pipes to prevent them freezing again.

4. Low pressure? High chance there's a problem

Combination boilers might stop working if there’s a drop in pressure. If the pressure gauge on the boiler shows it’s low, check your pipes for leaks. If there’s no leak, you can turn the boiler off and manually increase the pressure by following the instructions detailed in the manual.

5. Bleed your radiators

If your radiators have cold patches at the top, air could be trapped in the system. Turn off your boiler and let it cool, then place a towel below the radiator valve and use a radiator key to slowly open the valve. If it hisses, that’s air escaping. When water drips from the valve, close it again tightly. If you have a combination system make sure to check the pressure before turning the boiler back on - it may need re-pressurising.

Boiler still not working?

Call a registered engineer to check your heating. It’s much safer than checking things yourself - you could invalidate the warranty or insurance and potentially make the situation worse.

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