Let’s face it, everyone fears a boiler breakdown. It’s always a (nasty) surprise when it happens and there’s no such thing as a convenient time for a central heating boiler to fail. Most boilers seem to go wrong in wintertime when you need it most, because that is when demand for heating is high and any problems that may have been building up over the summer finally come to the fore. Then there’s the waiting around for an engineer to turn up, the expense of parts and labour for any repairs…. Enough said.
If you want to look after your boiler to make sure it runs properly, maintenance is key. Treat your boiler well and it will repay you with good, efficient service for many years to come. Dakota Murphey, an independent content writer who draws inspiration from numerous industry resources including British Gas, The Drain Guys and many more, so here’s what you need to do.
Switch it off during the summer
Obviously, you don’t need the heating on when it’s hot outside! Give your boiler a rest and turn it off over the summer months. You’d be surprised at how many people forget to do this, or are just too lazy to adjust the controls.
If you have a combi boiler or system boiler, you can change the controls to ‘hot water only’.
If there’s a prolonged heatwave (unlikely, we know!), it is advisable to switch the boiler on for about 15 minutes once a month just to make sure it’s all working fine.
Check the pressure
The right pressure for a central heating boiler to operate at is between 1 and 1.5 bar – there should be a pressure gauge display for you to see. If your boiler always runs on low pressure, it may not work properly after a while, so this is an important issue. Contact your heating engineer to find out more about the water pressure on your boiler and how to make adjustments.
Lag your pipes
Pipe lagging is an excellent and affordable way to protect your central heating system during times of frost over the winter months and any resulting damage to your boiler, so make sure your pipes are covered.
The best time to fit pipe lagging is just before winter sets in – but anytime will be beneficial to your heating system. Ready-made lagging is easily available from reputable DIY shops and builders’ merchants, costing around £1 per metre of material.
Have it serviced regularly
It’s simple really: look after your boiler and it won’t let you down. Clearly, there is only so much you can do yourself – keeping it clean and looking out for any obvious problems. Under no circumstances should you attempt to open up the boiler and have a go at fixing a problem; this is a job for the professionals.
Find a reliable and Gas Safe accredited central heating engineer and have them service your boiler regularly – and annual maintenance service should do the trick. Many heating companies offer service contracts for your boiler and central heating system, including maintenance and breakdown cover, and you may be able to spread the cost over 12 months.
Power flush it
If your boiler is not running as efficiently as it should, it may be that sludge has built up in the system. A Power Flush may be the answer.
Speak to your heating and plumbing engineer about power flushing your central heating system to clear any dirt or debris that may have got deposited in your radiators or pipes. You may find that your radiators will work better and that your boiler lives longer.