Baby, it’s cold outside… but what if it’s cold inside too because your central heating boiler has gone wrong?
A boiler breakdown is no joke, leaving you without your home comforts such as heating and hot water. Then there’s the inconvenience of having to arrange for an engineer to arrive, the worry about parts and repair costs, and it’s all just not good.
Apart from giving your boiler some general care and having it serviced regularly by a reputable and Gas Safe accredited central heating and plumbing engineer, there’s not much more you can do. What does help, though, is to take a bit of trouble to understand as much as you reasonably can about how your boiler works so that you can identify any issues quickly.
Here are some of the most common boiler problems you may come across.
Radiators not heating properly
If your radiators are cold at the top but warm at the bottom, it is likely that air is trapped inside the radiator which prevents an efficient heat-up. Bleed the radiator until water bubbles out and all should be well. If this fails to solve the problem, you may need to carry out a power flush to clear your pipes.
The tell-tale signs of damp patches (or the sound of dripping, Chinese water torture style) underneath your boiler or a radiator or near any of the central heating pipes, will soon lead you to conclude that there must be a leak somewhere in the system. Finding the leak is the first task…
Pilot Light Gone Out
Has a draught blown the pilot light out? Perhaps the fault is due to a deposit build-up? Most likely, a broken thermocouple is the cause.
No Heating / No Hot Water
If your boiler and thermostat seem OK but the central heating system is not delivering heat or hot water, the problem may be down to one of the following: low water level, valve failure, low pressure, broken airlock.
Generally speaking, the older the central heating thermostat, the greater the chances of it failing. Perhaps it has become less and less accurate over time and has now started misreading temperature settings too? It is possible that your programme settings are also affected, with the heating/hot water turning on and off at unexpected times.
Boiler switching itself off
If your boiler automatically switches off without you having touched any of the controls, there may be a problem with air trapped inside the system, low water pressure or a faulty thermostat.
When it’s freezing outside and your pipes are not lagged or otherwise protected from the elements, condensation inside the pipes may freeze causing a blockage. The condensate will then back up into the boiler and the boiler will simply shut down.
Low Water Pressure
If the pressure in your central heating boiler drops too low, the boiler may fail to work. The problem is often a water leak in the system somewhere – time to call out an engineer.
Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer in the property sector – working together with a selection of companies including BSW Energy, a Sussex-based boiler repair and central heating specialist in operation since 1963, who were consulted over the information in this post.