With winter nearly here and the temperatures dropping, a lot of people will be firing up their central heating for the first time since the spring.
The colder months can be very hard on your boiler, with a variety of problems that can leave you out in the cold if not addressed.
Luckily, there are some boiler maintenance tips you can follow to prevent your boiler packing up this winter.
Your boiler’s manufacturer provides a manual with maintenance instructions. Every boiler is different in subtle ways, so following the manufacturer’s instructions is a must.
If you don’t have the manual, many are available online and most modern models are covered.
Before the temperatures really start to plummet, you should run your central heating for around 15 minutes at least once a month.
Doing this year round is generally best practice, as it keeps your boiler ticking over and helps you to identify any problems while central heating isn’t necessary. There are separate set of tips for what to do with your boiler when you go on holiday.
Insulating your pipes and hot water tank helps to keep heat inside the system and prevents pipe bursts caused by ice in the system.
This is one of the cheapest efficiency measures you can take, as insulation and insulating tape is relatively cheap compared to the money you’ll save on heating – not to mention costly repairs!
This pipe runs outdoors and carries condensation from the boiler. During the winter months, this pipe can freeze and cause your boiler to shut down.
Insulating the condensate pipe is boiler maintenance 101, though a frozen condensate pipe can usually be thawed by pouring warm water over it.
Of course, planning ahead is always better. While most condensate pipes are at ground level, some may need a stepladder to access – which can be a pain when you need the boiler working.
Cold spots on your radiators can be caused by trapped air, which is one of the most common problems.
This lowers energy efficiency and can cause your home to be unbearably cold.
This can easily be solved by bleeding your radiators – just remember to check your water pressure afterwards as you may need to adjust it.
If something does go wrong with your boiler, you should be prepared. Some problems can cause your boiler to leak carbon monoxide in to your home.
Carbon monoxide is known as “the silent killer” as it is deadly, invisible and odourless.
Carbon monoxide alarms are cheap and readily available. In the unlikely event that something does go wrong and this gas leaks in to your home, it may just save your life.
Boilers are complex appliances and they require professional maintenance. While it may cost more in the short term to get a gas-safe engineer to come out for a service, it is the best way to avoid a boiler breakdown in the middle of winter. If you’re unsure, read through our boiler service guide.
Problems are also usually quicker and cheaper to fix if caught early.
If you rent, your landlord should be ensuring you have an annual boiler service free of charge.