Look after your boiler this Christmas!
With the cold weather now upon us here are some top tips for looking after your gas boiler this Christmas.
5 Easy Ways to Look After your Boiler
1. Maintain a low level of heat in the property throughout the day and night, even if you are vacating the property for a few days over the Christmas period.
2. Make sure you are aware of the location of the stop taps (usually located under the sink) so you can quickly turn off the water supply in an emergency. If the pipe bursts open all sink taps to drain off as much water as possible.
3. Make sure your frost thermostat is working or that the heating is set to come on if the temperature drops below 10 degrees inside your home.
4. Check pipes regularly as they may freeze over and prevent your boiler from working. Feel the pipe to sense if it has frozen.
5. Report any minor leaks or dripping taps and use containers to temporarily prevent flooding.
First Steps to Take if Your Boiler Breaks Down
1. Check the pressure gauge which is typically on the front of your boiler. For most boilers, this should be set around the 1 bar. The position set when the boiler was installed is sometimes shown by a red indicator needle. Each boiler will come with specific instructions about its pressure system. Check your user manual to see if you can re-pressurise your boiler yourself.
2. If the pilot light has switched off, relight it by following your manufacturer’s manual or the instructions on your boiler.
3. Is the boiler gas supply on? If the gas stopcock is on but no gas is coming through, you have a gas supply problem and need to call your gas supplier. If you have an oil boiler check there’s enough oil in the tank by reading the gauge
4. Is the central heating programmer in the ‘on’ position? Try increasing the level of your boiler or central heating thermostat. The boiler will only work when the thermostat is set higher than the room temperature.
5. Check that the timer on your central heating controls works and is set correctly
If your boiler is working but you have cold radiators, you may have air in your system. You can tell when this is happening because your radiators will go cold alternately as the air pockets move around the heating system. Try bleeding the radiators first before getting in professional help.
What Can I do if my Condensate Pipe Freezes?
A condensate pipe carries condensation from your boiler to your outside drain. It’s usually a white or grey plastic pipe that travels from your boiler through the external wall directly outside where your boiler is located. During cold weather the condensation in this pipe may freeze and cause a blockage causing the condensate to back up into the boiler and cause a shutdown.
Locate the blockage
The pipe is probably frozen at its most exposed point. This may be the open end of the pipe, or at a bend or elbow. Running your hands over the pipe until you find a section that feels colder than the rest should help you identify the blockage quickly.
Thaw the pipe
Using a jug or watering can, pour warm water along the length of the pipe, repeating the process until the pipe has thawed (don’t use boiling water as this can crack or damage the pipe). Alternatively, you can use a hot water bottle or a heat pack to slowly defrost the pipe.
Restart your boiler
Once the frozen section has been melted and cleared, check your boiler manual for instructions on how to reset the boiler correctly. Your boiler should now restart correctly. If you boiler doesn’t restart you will need to call out a qualified boiler engineer.