Most of us don’t give our Central Heating a second thought while it’s working as it should be, however this could be a costly mistake.
With Winter fast approaching, it’s essential that you take the time to prepare and protect your boiler, making sure it’s in optimum working order. With just a few simple checks, you can help to reduce the risk of your boiler failing when you need it most.
Insulate your pipes
A common Winter fault with modern condensing boilers is the pipe that removes the condense water from the boiler can freeze. If the pipe becomes blocked, the boiler can fail.
Before Winter starts, it’s worth taking the necessary steps to protect the pipe as much as possible. If your condense pipe runs externally, is in an exposed area or in a location that is prone to cold conditions, you should ensure a good quality waterproof lagging is secured around the pipe. This will help to reduce the risk of it freezing. Also make sure any drains that the pipe terminates into are clear from debris and leaves.
If your pipes are already frozen or starting to freeze, remove the lagging and pour tepid water over the pipe or wrap a hot water bottle over it. Once thawed, refit the lagging and keep your boiler running at a low temperature during any prolonged cold periods. You should avoid using boiling water when doing this as you run the risk of cracking the pipes.
You should also make sure any water pipes in the loft or other exposed areas are fully insulated. During very cold periods, it is wise to leave the heating system on low throughout the night and open any loft hatches to get as much heat into the area as possible.
Find out more on how to thaw and prevent frozen condensate pipes.
Check and bleed your radiators
Switch your heating on as normal and once your home is fully heated, check each of your radiators for cold spots. If you find any, you should turn off the heating and once it has cooled down, bleed the radiator to remove any trapped air.
If you have a pressurised system, you may need to top up the boiler pressure after bleeding your radiators. See our tips on how to bleed a radiator for a helpful video for help with this.
Cold spots can also be the beginning of a wide range of issues, so if after bleeding your radiators they still feel cold, contact us so we can come out to check your system, and advise you of the options available to improve your systems performance.
Check your boiler pressure
Another common cause of heating failures can be due to low boiler pressure, which is typically caused by a reduction in the amount of water in a system. Low pressure is relatively easy to diagnose and in some cases you will be able to put it right yourself.
Most boilers operate between 1 and 1.5 bar. If your boiler pressure is below this, it’s important that you get to the source of the reason why.
If you have recently bled your radiators, you may have lost water from the system. To replace this water you should use the filling loop on your boiler. You can usually find out how to do this by taking a look at the operator’s manual or by watching helpful guides on our website.
The other reason for a loss of water pressure could be a leak somewhere in your boiler system. Take a look around your home for signs of damp patches around your pipes, radiators and boiler. You should never take the casing off your boiler to look leaks inside, as only a Gas Safe Engineer should do this.
If your boiler pressure is too high, you may have a fault inside of the boiler. It is therefore essential that you arrange for an engineers’ visit. You can reduce the pressure in your boiler by bleeding a radiator to remove some of the water. Please be careful doing this, open the bleed nipple slowly and don’t open it too far.
Add a filter system to the boiler
To help your boiler stay healthy for longer you can install a magnetic filter system, which is an effective way of removing debris and impurities from the water running through your central heating system.
Most boiler manufacturers will insist on one being fitted as part of their guarantee terms and conditions. These can also be fitted retrospectively to any heating system (subject to the space being available on the heating pipework).
It will help to prevent the magnetite sludge from entering the boiler and circulating around your heating system. This reduces the risk of blockages occurring and the premature failure of many heating components.
If you would like to find out more about installing a magnetic filter system, please contact us on 0333 366 1121.
Test your carbon monoxide alarms
Carbon Monoxide can be fatal so it’s essential that you have a working carbon monoxide alarm in your home. Check the date on your alarm and if this has passed, make sure you replace it. You should also test the batteries on your alarm and make sure they’re still working.
Check your carbon monoxide alarm is in the right place. Your alarm should be anywhere there’s a potential source of CO and so should be close to your boiler or gas appliance and placed about 5ft above the floor.
Service your boiler
The easiest way to protect your boiler is to ensure you have your boiler serviced annually.
The engineer will check for any wear and tear and they’ll also be able to identify any small problems before they develop into bigger and potentially more costly ones.
Regular checks and maintenance will keep your boiler running efficiently and reduce the risk of breakdowns occurring.
At Butco, a FREE annual boiler service and safety check is included as part of our BoilerCare plans. Prices start from just £9.75 a month.
How We Can Help
Our dedicated team of engineers prioritise the safety and comfort of our customers.
At every service we ensure that your boiler is operating safely and efficiently, and our central heating boiler service plans include a free annual boiler service and safety check, with a 24-hour callout service.