What's in this article?
Being one of the most expensive purchases you'll make, it's likely that you'll want to avoid replacing your boiler at all costs. Boiler maintenance is vital to keep your boiler happy, healthy and working efficiently for as long as possible.
Boiler Maintenance Tips:
When your boiler's working fine and dandy, it's unlikely you'll want to call out a plumber. However, getting your boiler serviced once a year can save you a fortune in the long run. During a boiler service, a trained engineer will check your boiler is working properly and investigate any leaks or issues. They'll also clean any parts which have gathered dirt, which will help to avoid broken parts in the future.
Boiler services usually cost around £60-75, but are well worth your money. Most warranty agreements are only valid if the boiler has been serviced every year. Miss one service and you could be responsible for costly repairs further down the line.
Over time, sludge builds up in your radiators, made up of rust and dirt from the water circulating the central heating system. The build-up can cause blockages in the system, and you'll notice that your radiator doesn't completely heat up (often the bottom remains cold).
For the most efficient performance, it's recommended that you get your boiler power flushed every 5 years - especially in hard water areas. It's also good practice to get a flush when a new boiler is installed, to make sure that your new efficient boiler isn't being wasted on sludge-filled radiators.
You should expect to pay around £300-500 for a power flush. However, you should make some of this back as you spend less on your heating.
Problematic pressure gauge
Most modern boilers have a pressure gauge display, and it's there for a reason. It's important to keep an eye on your boiler's pressure, and take action if it's wrong. The correct pressure for your boiler should be displayed by a green area on the dial - usually between one and two bars.
If the needle displays less than 1 bar, the pressure has dropped too low. This can be caused by leaks or recently bled radiators which both allow pressure to escape. You should check the pipework around the system for any leaks. If you do find a leak, you can buy a sealer from most DIY shops.
Once any leaks are sealed, or if you couldn't find anything, you can re-pressurise your system. If the pressure drops again, you'll need to get an engineer out - there could be a leak within the boiler.
On the other hand, your boiler pressure can become too high. If you have recently re-pressurised your boiler, make sure that the filling loop and valve are closed properly. A boiler's high pressure can be released by bleeding your radiators. However, if it continues to be too high, it could be a symptom of other issues, so it's best to let a professional take a look.
Whatever the weather
Most boilers have condensate pipes which carry water away from the boiler. The pipe is usually made of plastic and transports the water outside of the house to drain. Due to the water running outside the property, the pipes sometimes freeze during colder weather. To avoid frozen pipes, you can apply added insulation around the outside of the pipes to keep them warmer.
If you plan to go away during cold weather, leave the boiler to maintain around 10°c to keep the water moving around the system.
During the Summer months, it may be that you only use your boiler for hot water - or perhaps you may go on holiday meaning you won't use it at all.
Leaving your boiler un-used for longer periods of time can lead to parts seizing up and cause a build-up of grime and dirt which may affect your boiler's performance when you come to need it. By running your heating for around 15 minutes every few weeks, you'll keep the parts moving and clean - so it's more likely to work when the colder weather comes.