The boiler is an integral part of any home, providing a house with hot water for daily use and as a source of warmth throughout the central heating system. As such a key component of your home it needs to be regularly checked and maintained to ensure that it functions as it should when it is called upon – especially in the colder winter months.
You should never attempt to fix your boiler if it is faulty and any work carried out should be completed by a qualified professional, with a Gas Safe accreditation. Despite not being able to do a DIY fix, there are some things that you can do to ensure that your boiler is running as designed and give you clues to any problems that may be starting to surface. Below are 3 ways you can make sure your boiler is ready for action.
You should make sure everything is working by running your boiler at minimum once every 1 to 2 months – yes, that means even during the warmer summer months. This helps to ensure the boiler is running to its maximum efficiency and that it does not rust or rot due to the lack of use. You should also check that the water pressure gauges are displaying the correct pressures, indicating that everything is functioning as it should.
Running your boiler once or twice during the summer also allows you to discover any faults whilst the boiler is not in high demand. This generally means that you are able to get an engineer to fix it quicker and sometimes at a lower cost than in the depths of winter.
Cracks & Leaks
A regular fault that can occur in boilers is the appearance of cracks or leaks. Checking your boiler regularly for these is a good way to make sure your boiler is problem free. The best way to carry out a crack and leak check is to look around the exterior of the boiler for any visible signs, then you temporarily turn the water supply into the heating boiler off. Once the water supply is turned off you monitor the cold pressure of the system, looking to see if the pressure gauge shows a slow drop over the course of a couple of weeks. If there is a drop in pressure this could indicate a leak somewhere in the system.
The above checks are best to be completed in the summer months due to the length of time it can take to do. The boiler is in less demand over the summer due to the natural warmth and turning off your boiler and central heating in the winter could turn out to be quite a chilly experience. The other benefit of doing it in the summer is that it there is then a lower likelihood of leaks and cracks appearing in the winter season where they can cause quite serious damage.
Keeping your boiler up to date
Like a lot of other products, technology has vastly improved over time with boilers now being more efficient than ever. The average lifespan of a boiler is between 10 and 15 years, so if your boiler is older than this, or if it has already had a number of repairs, it may well be time for an upgrade. The new boilers are not only more efficient, they also meet the latest safety standards which regulate their designs to ensure there is limited damage if a fault does develop.
Any professional boiler engineer will be able to talk you through the benefits of upgrading to a new boiler, as well as compliance with the latest health and safety guidelines. Whilst a new boiler can be a substantial expense initially, the greater efficiency and more modern components can save you in the long run.
It is essential to keep a healthy and maintained boiler and carrying out regular checks is one step you can take in order to ensure everything is working as it should. Remember, do not attempt to repair any damage or carry out any maintenance on your boiler, this really is a job for the professionals. If you attempt to fix issues you could end up making it worse and put your family in danger. Following the above steps and installing a Carbon Monoxide alarm should help alert you to any possible issues you may have developing in your boiler. Most of all, consult with a professional if you are in any doubt and they will be able to provide you with the assistance you need.
Article provided by BSW Energy, Sussex-based experts in the supply, installation and maintenance of boilers, renewable energy and central heating systems since 1962.