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Finding your heater not working and realizing that your boiler has broken down is a horrible feeling, not least because it almost always happens in the middle of winter.
Not all boiler problems are as obvious as a heating failure, however, so how can you tell your boiler needs the care and attention of an engineer?
Here are our top tips for spotting boiler problems that mean it’s time to call in the pros.
5 signs of boiler problems
You have no heating or hot water
This type of boiler problem is hard to miss. If your boiler isn’t working at all, that doesn’t necessarily mean there is a really big problem – in some cases it can be fixed with a simple phone call.
The flame of your boiler is not blue
If you have a gas boiler, look out the window at the pilot or gas flame (if there is one). The flames should be blue. If they look yellow or orange, it is time to have your boiler repaired by a Certified Gas Safe Engineer.
Boiler pressure continues to drop (or increase)
If you find that the pressure in your boiler is dropping regularly (or that you have to “top up” it a lot) or that the pressure is often too high, your boiler may be having problems and you should have it checked.
You can hear strange boiler noises
If your boiler is making strange noises – clicking, knocking, clicking, ticking, etc. – this may indicate a problem.
Your boiler uses more gas than it should
If your boiler uses more gas, but you haven’t heated more or used more hot water than usual, this could be a sign that you are having boiler problems.
Stop problems before they happen
They say prevention is better than cure, and that’s certainly the case with boilers where a little maintenance along the way can save you a huge amount of money on boiler repair bills down the road.
In addition, the maintenance of a boiler is simple. If you subscribe to a boiler coverage plan, you can ensure that your boiler is inspected at least once a year by a licensed Gas Safe engineer.
The most common problems are caused by frozen pipes, especially on condenser boilers. If so, there are things you can do to resolve the issue.
The simplest solution might not be the cheapest, but it sure works. When the weather turns around, or even drops below zero, you can leave your boiler on all the time.
This does not necessarily mean that the heating is on full blast, but instead of turning your boiler on and off, you can set your schedule to reduce the temperature to a minimum level.
A good timer system will allow you to set up different program setups, so you can set it up ahead of time and activate it only when the mercury drops.
If you don’t like this solution, you can also just focus on the pipes themselves. Any pipe located outdoors, such as the condensate pipe of a condensing boiler, can freeze in cold weather.
If so, you can simply boil water in a kettle and pour it over the pipes for a quick fix, although you may have to do it a few times.
A slightly better solution might be to insulate the pipes or, if possible, move more of the pipe inside.
Electric blanket – what to look for
There are many levels of boiler coverage ranging from your boiler coverage to the entire central heating system. Boiler coverage is also capped at different levels, with coverage typically ranging from £ 1,000 to £ 1,500.
You can only get boiler coverage if you own the home, so don’t try to remove it if you are a renter, although you can ask your landlord to purchase coverage if there are any lingering issues. .
You will also have limited options if you are trying to get boiler coverage on a boiler over 15 years old, as some insurers do not cover older models.
Save energy on heating
While your priority is to keep the heat on during the winter months, the bill that awaits you in the spring is a bad way to usher in the New Year. Fortunately, there are plenty of tips and tricks that can help you save a small fortune on your heating.
The easiest way to save money is insulation and protection from drafts. Insulation begins with the boiler itself, as well as any pipes. A well-insulated boiler cylinder will retain heat, saving you a fortune on reheating costs, but you can also insulate your pipes to minimize any heat loss at the source.
Insulating the attic is the next obvious step. Installing insulation in your loft is inexpensive as the materials can be scavenged from most DIY stores and you should be able to install it yourself.
While wall insulation is a more expensive proposition, you can also save on heating by protecting your property from drafts. Watch out for cracks or cracks around doors and windows, as well as mailboxes and chimneys. These are just as easy to fix problems, and draft-proofing materials like putty and window tape are inexpensive to buy.