Before you realise it, those hot summer days have passed, Autumn leaves have dropped and there is quite a chill in the air. For the first time for several months, you go to switch on your central heating and nothing happens! Don’t get caught out, looking after your boiler before the cold season starts will avoid any chance of you not keeping warm, or having that nice warm bath or shower after a hard days’ work.
Be ‘boiler smart’. There are several ways that will help maintain your boiler in good condition and prevent mishaps before and during the cold weather. Our main recommendation is to ensure you have an annual boiler service which will help to mitigate surprises and ensure the overall health of your boiler is maintained. We provide an annual boiler service as well as boiler repairs and installations, you can find out about all of our boiler services here.
Here are some easy tips to follow to check out the condition of your boiler.
It goes without saying that any important homecare facility should be regularly checked for both safety and working order. A faulty boiler can also be dangerous due to carbon dioxide emissions. To put it bluntly, installing a carbon monoxide detector (those with alarms), can save lives. Try to have it installed next to your boiler (if possible) and frequently check that it is working. You cannot smell, see or taste carbon monoxide, so this is a great safety mechanism. Certified gas engineers can advise and help with such an installation.
Annual Boiler Service Service
An overhaul of your boiler once a year is highly recommended. Late summer to early autumn is probably the best time of the year to have a boiler service carried out, but it can be executed whenever you wish. Gas engineers will check the boiler efficiency, ensure that all parts are working and give it a thorough clean. They may also recommend other work such as bleeding radiators. If radiators are cooler at the bottom than at the top, they will probably need bleeding for both efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
Lag your pipes
Lagging your pipes is both cost-effective and a safety precaution. When the cold weather really hits us, the outside pipes can often freeze, and the boiler will automatically shut down for safety reasons. Insulating your pipes will help prevent this, and in particularly freezing weather, keep your heating on a low level for as much of the day as you can. This may sound a little expensive, but it could well be cost-effective in the long run. If you are going to be away for a period of time during the winter months, get a neighbour to pop in and turn on the heating if you have forgotten to put a timer on.
Give your boiler space!
Quite often, boilers are housed in cupboards, particularly in small flats or houses where space can be very limited. Make sure you give your boiler a chance to work efficiently by keeping the cupboard clear of any other items such as clothes, school bags, shoes etc! Keep the boiler cupboard as clear as possible for access, as adequate ventilation is essential for an efficient boiler. Once again, your gas engineer can advise you on this.
There are some easy things to check regarding your boiler, some of which are warning signs that your boiler is not working correctly or efficiently. You can check out these points yourself:
- Check the pressure gauge – if you don’t have an instruction manual, your gas engineer can do this for you. Boilers can and will lose pressure over a period of time, which will be non-efficient and potentially give you increased bills.
- During the summer months, turn the heating on from time to time to check that it is working. Boilers, like any other appliance, may not work efficiently if not in regular use.
- Check the ‘flame’ on your boiler through the ‘spy hole’. It should be a clear and reasonably bright blue, not yellow or any other colour. If the flame is not blue, do call an engineer.
- Look for any other warning signs, such as more noise than usual or marks that are black, resembling soot.
Clear out any external vents that may have become blocked.
Have a safe, happy and heated winter!