Central Heating Boiler Not Working – What Now?
Wintertime is here! The cold wind and heavy rain battering the UK means that now is the time we really rely on our central heating boilers to keep us warm at home, especially with the Christmas holidays just around the corner. But what do you do if your boiler suddenly lets you down?
There are a number of reasons why your central heating boiler may have failed, and it’s important to watch out for the warning signs. Here’s a list of common causes for boiler breakdowns and what you should do if anything is wrong.
Central Heating Thermostat and Timer
If the boiler is not firing, first of all check the programme timer on your central heating control. Is it set to the right programme, are the times correct, is the clock working properly? Check the batteries of your thermostat regularly to make sure they are still working – this is a common (and thankfully easily fixable) problem for the heating suddenly not coming on! While you’re about it, check that the pressure gauge on the boiler is indicating the right pressure. It should be between 1-1.5 bar, any lower and it might stop the boiler from working.
Air in the System
If you can hear gurgling noises coming from the radiators, or other whistling or banging noises somewhere in your central heating system, there could be air trapped in the system. Alternatively, low water pressure may be the culprit.
If there is a leak in the system, you’ll soon know about it. Water always finds a way, so sooner or later it will become obvious. This is a case for a professional heating engineer – make the phone call and let them identify where the water is coming from, what the cause of the leak is and how to remedy the situation. The problem may be with a flow switch, seal or valve, or corrosion in the pipework.
If the pipes that carry condensation from the boiler to the outside drain freeze during a cold snap, a blockage may occur that causes the condensate to back up into the boiler. This will cause the boiler to shut down. There may be a warning light or fault code displayed on the boiler.
If there is a build-up of limescale or corrosion in the pipework, you may get something called ‘kettling’ – a strange rumbling noise coming from your boiler. Time to call your plumbing and heating engineer. Rust may also stop your radiators from heating up properly as sludge that collects in the system may block the water flow.
As a general rule, it’s always a good idea to check your boiler regularly, and to report any unusual behaviour to your heating engineer. Boilers are complicated and potentially dangerous home appliances that should not be tinkered with by anyone who is not qualified to do so. Don’t try to fix the boiler yourself in the hope of saving a few pounds – you could do more harm than good and it may end up costing you substantially more in the long run.
This article was provided by Mike James, an independent content writer in the property industry – working alongside a selection of companies including App Eng, who were consulted over the information contained in this piece.