As we all know the weather in the UK generally consists of cold winds, rainy days and low temperatures, which is why central heating boiler maintenance is key to being comfortable at home. If you think you are overdue a boiler service or you can’t access your boiler due to it being buried under mounds of clutter, then the following tips are just what you need.
All you need to know about central heating boiler maintenance
Keeping your central heating boiler in prime condition may seem like a difficult task, but these simple steps require minimal effort and will ensure your boiler keeps working to the best of its ability.
One of the biggest threats caused by boilers which have been incorrectly fitted, badly repaired or poorly maintained, is the production of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is colourless, odourless and tasteless which is makes it very difficult to detect. Moreover, this toxic gas is extremely harmful, so it is important you monitor your boiler regularly to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Gas safety inspection Milton Keynes and carbon monoxide detectors are the best way to ensure your boiler does not cause a threat to you and your family.
As well as the dangers of carbon monoxide, a gas leak from your central heating boiler could cause a fatal explosion or fire. Regular maintenance is key to detecting problems with your boiler that could lead to a gas leak so should be a priority at all times.
Even if you think your boiler is in working order, it should be serviced at least once a year by a Gas Safe registered engineer. During the summer months, you are less likely to use your heating, so it increases the chances of your boiler breaking down. For this reason, many people arrange to have their boiler serviced at the end of summer. This is a good idea as it means your boiler should function effectively during the winter months where you will utilise heating the most. When servicing your boiler, some of the features the engineer will check are:
- Seals are intact
- Electrodes are in good condition
- Gas pressure and flow is correct
- Electrical connections are clean
- Fans and other components are working efficiently
- Condenstate trap and pipe is not blocked
If you think your boiler is due to be serviced, do not hesitate to contact Plumbers Milton Keynes who will ensure your central heating boiler system is safe and performing to the best of its ability.
Turn the heating on
When not used regularly, boilers have a tendency to seize up and not work effectively. In the winter, this is not a huge concern because it is likely you will be using your heating to keep your home at an optimum temperature. However, there is less need for heating your home in the summer months, so it is crucial you have a plan in place to keep your boiler working all year round. Of course, having your heating on during the hot summer days would be unbearable, so instead, you should have all your windows open and turn your heat on to the lowest setting. You do not have to keep the heating on all day, so don’t panic! However, having it on for around 15-20 minutes each day on the lowest setting will keep your boiler intact and ready to be used when winter comes back around.
Bleed the radiators
If you find your central heating isn’t warming your home properly, there could be air bubbles trapped in the system. A way of confirming this is to feel your radiators and see if there are any cold areas. If this is the case, you need to release the trapped air by ‘bleeding’ the radiators. If you do not do this, there will be extra strain placed on your boiler, it will take longer to warm your home, and you could potentially be wasting your money. It is recommended that you check your radiators for cold areas every couple of months. If you do not know how to bleed your radiators, follow these simple steps:
- Turn your central heating onto full and wait for your radiators to reach their maximum heat
- Feel along the top of all your radiators, being cautious not to burn your hands and identify any cold areas. If you find a cold area, this indicates the air is trapped, and it will need to be bled. If no cold areas are found, you do not need to take any further action
- Turn your heating off and wait for all radiators to be completely cool before you bleed them
- Modern radiators can sometimes be bled using a screwdriver, but the majority of radiators will need a radiator key, so ensure you have one in your possession before you begin the bleeding process
- Place a cloth below the radiator valve to catch water
- With another cloth, hold the radiator key and slowly turn it anti-clockwise to open the valve. While doing this, air will escape and create a hissing sound
- When the hissing sound stops and water begins to leak out, turn the key clockwise to close the valve
- Once you have bled all of the necessary radiators, you should then check the pressure of your boiler gauge. If you find the pressure is too low, it will need rebalancing. If it is normal, turn your heating back on and check there are no more cold areas
Do not ignore warning signs
Detecting a fault with your boiler as early as possible is the best way to ensure a successful repair. Cracks, clunking noises, leaks and black, sooty marks coming from your boiler suggest there may be a problem and this should be dealt with as soon as possible.
If there is a lot of sound coming from your boiler, it could be an indication that the tank’s cooling device has become clogged up with limescale and can no longer cool down the water inside. If this is the case, you should consult a professional who will be able to repair the problem and keep your boiler functioning.
As previously mentioned, the production of carbon monoxide from your boiler is a great cause for concern, but there are warning signs you should be aware of which could help you detect this issue. The flame in your boiler should be strong, clear and blue. If the flame appears to yellow or smokey, this suggests you are at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and you should call a reliable plumber immediately.
The pilot light is a key feature of your boiler, and if it keeps going out, the thermocouple most likely needs to be replaced. If you do not know, the thermocouple is a small probe that extends into the flame of the pilot light which has a small diameter metal wire that runs back to the gas valve. Replacing the thermocouple should always be a task undertaken by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
Keep it tidy
This may seem like a simple tip, but many people forget boilers need ventilation to work correctly. If your boiler is currently in a cupboard, buried behind layers of coats, shoes and other clutter then now is the time to have a clear out. It is important that your boiler is always easily accessible for your own regular maintenance checks and also for engineers to perform a service.
If you are unsure if your boiler has enough ventilation, ask your plumber or engineer, and they will be able to advise you.
Seek help from a professional
Any household electrical, heating and plumbing appliances should always be handled by a professional to ensure any issues are not worsened and you do not injure yourself.
The services provided by Bishop Plumbing are highly accredited, so professional service is guaranteed. Boasting over 30 years of experience, Gas Safe registered and approved installers for leading manufacturers, all of your central heating needs are in capable hands with Bishop Plumbing.
Replace your boiler
Although replacing your boiler can be quite costly, sometimes it is necessary, especially if it is outdated and beyond repair. In fact, if you find your boiler is continuously having problems and breaking down, it will probably cost you less money to replace it than to keep paying out for repairs. Boiler fitting Whittlebury will install your system from leading manufacturers so you know the product is high quality and long lasting. Furthermore, all Bishop heating technicians are experienced and fully qualified so you can have peace of mind that your boiler will be fitted correctly and to the highest standard.
You may need a boiler replacement if you experience any of the following signs:
- Frequent breakdowns
- Unexplained increase in bills
- Noisy radiotors or boiler
- There is a yellow flame instead of a blue one
- Your boiler emmits an odd smell
- Your boiler leaks
For more information about when it is time to replace your boiler, please refer to this useful article published by British Gas.
The benefits of maintaining your central heating boiler
Regularly checking your central heating system will help save you money, reduce the risk of gas leaks and increase the longevity of your boiler. If you have any concerns regarding your boiler it is always best to contact a professional in the first instance, so the issue does not become progressively worse or harmful.