Keeping you're heating thermostat on zero during a cold snap could end up damaging you're heating system by making it work harder to warm up. So you might want to check you're heating regularly. Checking that you're heating system works properly will mean your boiler will be less likely to freeze up and break down saving you on the cost of repairs if you don’t already have boiler care.
Check your boiler is on
It might sound obvious, but if your boiler doesn’t seem to be working check to see if it’s been switched off or if your gas and electricity supply has stopped working. First check to see if your supply is up and running and if it is check to see if your boiler’s pilot light is on (that is, if you have a boiler with a pilot light not all models do so don’t worry if you can’t find one). If the pilot light is out, you can always relight or reset your boiler system manually instead of calling out an engineer.
Look at your boiler instructions, just in case
You should have the users instruction book for your boiler somewhere at hand, but don't worry if you have mislaid it, because you can google it and look for your boiler manual online. All boiler makers have these available to you for free of charge, beware some websites try to make you pay for these instructions. Like I said The boiler makers offer these free.
Check your system pressure
Combi and system boilers can sometimes stop working because of a drop in pressure. If your boiler stops working check the pressure dial and inspect all of your radiators and pipes for leaks. If you can’t find a leak you should be able to increase the pressure in your system manually by using your system’s fill up loop. But you should always switch your boiler off and consult your instructions before tinkering with your boiler’s pressure, as adding too much pressure into a system can be dangerous and costly.
Bleed your radiators
If you can feel cold patches on your radiators it may be because there’s air trapped inside that’s blocking the system form heating up. It’s easy to bleed a radiator especially if you follow our handy guide here. But if you bleed your radiators and still have a problem with cold patches, your system might be blocked with sludge and might need a chemical flush by a professional gas safe registered engineer, but remember if you bleed the radiators you will need to put pressure back into the system.
Insulate your condensate pipe if you have a condensing boiler
One of the most common reasons for a condensing boiler breaking down in winter is that the condensate pipes the pipes that carry away condensation run outside the house and can freeze and become blocked when temperatures drop. Preventing this is really simple though all you need to do is insulate your pipes using a type of material called lagging which you can pick up from most DIY stores.
If you’ve had problems with your condensate pipe freezing before you might want to relocate the pipe internally or have it replaced with a wider pipe. This is admittedly a bigger job that just insulating your pipe but should help prevent it from freezing or blocking again.
If it’s below freezing and you're condensing boiler isn’t working or is displaying an error message or flashing light, your condensate pipe will have probably frozen over, meaning you’ll need to thaw it out. The best way to do this is to put a hot water bottle on the pipe or pour hot water over it, give it a blow with a hair dryer or wrap a towel soaked in warm water around it and then reset your boiler.
Think about boiler care, especially if you have an older boiler
The average lifespan of a boiler is thought to be just 8 - 10 years. It’s estimated that around six million boilers in the UK could be near the end of their life span and that around half of Britain’s boilers are already five years old or more. That’s a lot of older boilers out there that have seen better days. If your boiler is one of them, it’s especially worth thinking about taking out boiler and heating care that will cover the cost of repairing or replacing your boiler if something goes wrong. MoneySupermarket.com has put the average cost of a boiler breakdown at £235.37 more if your boiler has two or more problem parts. Just think could you afford that to fix your boiler if it broke?
Get your boiler serviced
It’s always a good idea to service your boiler especially if it’s a bit older. Gas boiler manufacturers generally recommend getting your boiler serviced once every year to make sure everything is in tip-top condition and safe working order. So if you’ve not already had yours serviced, put it at the top of your to do list. Go on don’t wait until your boiler breaks down before you give it a thought, or it could end up costing you more in the long run.
You really need to call in the experts if your boiler does not work as it should, or you think something is wrong or if your boiler flame is burning yellow rather than blue; there is excess condensation or discolouring around your boiler; or if you continually need to restart your system.
Have you found our boiler tips helpful? Is there anything you think we’ve missed? Please leave us a comment and let us know.