There’s nothing worse than coming home after a hard day’s work to find out your central heating system’s packed up! Losing your heating and hot water supply is not only massively inconvenient, but can also be distressful and dangerous if you’re elderly, have young children, or are suffering from illness. We’ve compiled a list of tips to help you maintain your boiler to ensure you can rely on it when it matters the most.
Boilers can be expensive to repair and even more expensive to replace, so we advise booking a service once a year with a Gas Safe Registered Heating Engineer. The engineer will clean and check all of the parts to ensure peak performance, maximum efficiency and that it’s safe to use. We recommend booking a service in September/October so that you can rely on your boiler during the winter months. As with all maintenance, it’s much cheaper to catch a problem early than to wait until it deteriorates further or becomes hazardous.
Give Your Boiler Space
It’s important to leave adequate space around your boiler for ventilation and maintenance access. Consider fitting some custom storage in/around your boiler to make the best use of space, but remember to leave sufficient space for removing the boiler cover panel during servicing or in case of a leak.#Boilers can seize up if they're left dormant for long periods of time Click To Tweet
Keep Your Boiler Ticking Over
Boilers can seize up if they’re left dormant for long periods of time, so it’s important to use them regularly throughout the year. We recommend setting a timer to switch your heating on for 15 minutes each day during the summer months to keep your boiler ticking over.
Boilers can lose pressure over time which can cause them to run inefficiently and lead to trapped air in the system. It’s important to check the pressure gauge on your boiler periodically and look out for common symptoms including:
- Banging noises from radiators & pipes
- Radiators upstairs not working
- Radiators furthest away from the boiler not working
- Boiler switches itself off
Your boiler should come with specific instructions on how to re-pressurise the system, but be sure to check for leaking pipes and radiators before doing so. However, we recommend contacting a qualified heating engineer if you think it’s beyond your capabilities or require any specialist tools.
Bleed the Radiators
If your radiators appear colder at the bottom than the top, or they are making strange noises, you may have trapped air in the system. This is more common on older vented systems and will cause inefficiency and put added strain on your boiler. If this occurs, you will need to carry out a process known as ‘bleeding’ the radiators:
- Switch off the central heating system
- Locate the bleed valve and key on your radiator(s)
- Insert the valve key and turn anticlockwise until you hear a hissing sound
- When water starts to drip, lock the valve and move onto the next radiator
- Once you’ve bled all the radiators, check the boiler pressure and adjust as required
Tip: Keep a small bucket and towel close by in case of any major leaks while bleeding the radiator!
It’s important to protect your boiler’s external condensate (drainage) pipe as it can as it can freeze and crack when the temperature drops below zero. This may cause your boiler to switch off as a safety precaution but can also lead to leaks which can be expensive to fix. Fit some lagging around the pipes and consider keeping the heating on a constant, low setting during the winter months. This will not only protect your boiler but also prevents damp problems inside your home.
If you’re renting your property(s) you will require a Landlord Gas Safety Certificate (CP12) issued by a Gas Safe Registered heating engineer. Book an annual CP12 inspection with a local heating specialist and remember to issue your tenants with a copy for legal purposes.
A faulty boiler can produce Carbon Monoxide (CO) which is deadly when subjected to prolonged or excessive exposure. You cannot see, smell or taste CO so we advise placing a couple of carbon monoxide detectors around your home, preferably one with an alarm. Place one near your boiler and one in the living room and be sure to check them each month to ensure they’re working.
It’s important to keep on top of boiler maintenance to ensure yours is working safely and efficiently all year round. Have your boiler serviced at least once a year and contact a Gas Safe Registered Heating Engineer if you notice anything out of the ordinary. CPM Heating Engineers offer professional heating and plumbing services for residential and commercial properties in Exeter, Mid & East Devon. Call us on 01392 925045 or contact us online for more information.