10 Common Boiler Problems
Fixes for common Boiler Problems
When the Heat’s NOT On
Your boiler’s job is to provide your home with central heating and hot water from the taps. When either or both of these things aren’t happening, you have a problem…
- Hot Water Works but No Central Heating
Most commonly this issue is down to a faulty thermostat or a big drop in boiler pressure. There are other causes too, such as a broken diaphragm, airlock or valve failure.
- Radiators Hot, but No Hot Water
If your boiler is obviously working, with the radiators heating up, but there’s no hot water coming from the taps then the cause is probably a broken diverter valve. This is the valve that opens and closes to regulate the flow of hot water to either radiators, taps or both. It can sometimes get stuck or malfunction.
- Failure of both Heating & Hot Water
When your boiler is effectively not working at all, first check that the power to the boiler is switched on (it’s amazing how often this simple resolution is overlooked!). If the power’s on the problem could be one of a number of things. In a new boiler, an error code may help with the diagnosis. Generally, the problem will be a gas supply stoppage for some reason, a failed or incorrectly set thermostat or low boiler pressure.
Leaking or Noisy Boiler
A leaking boiler or one that is making unusual noises is potentially serious, so don’t ignore it.
- Boiler Leaking from Pipes or Below
There are many reasons why a boiler may start leaking. Most commonly it is down to excessive boiler pressure – which can ultimately cause boiler parts to malfunction. Corrosion is another cause, particularly if the pipes are leaking, or if the boiler is new it could be down to poor installation. Other causes could be a faulty heat exchanger or degraded or damaged seals.
- Blaring Boiler
All boilers make a certain amount of noise while firing up and in operation, but if your boiler starts making unusual sounds – anything from banging and buzzing to clanking, humming or gurgling – it needs to be investigated. Banging for instance could indicate a failing pump; clanging could be an obstructed fan; buzzing or humming might be a problem with the electrical components.
If your boiler starts bubbling and rumbling like the sound of a boiling kettle it is down to a build-up of debris and sludge in the heat exchanger. It’s advisable to call a Gas Safe engineer to flush out the system before it results in component damage.
The Big Freeze
In the dead of winter, you need your boiler to keep your home warm. If it lets you down there could be a simple solution.
- Frozen Condensate Pipe
This common problem can wreak havoc with your heating system. Condenser boilers have a pipe, sometimes fitted outside, that carries waste acidic water away down a drain. In winter the water in external condensate pipes can freeze, causing a blockage which can cause the boiler to shut down. You can usually fix yourself by pouring warm water over the plastic condensate pipe. Lagging the pipe (covering it) with insulation should prevent a re-occurrence.
- Radiator Cold Spots
It’s frustrating when you’re waiting for a room to get warm and cosy but the radiators stay persistently cold or have cold patches. The reason they are not working properly is not usually the fault of your boiler, but rather down-to-air pockets or a build-up of sludge in the radiator or its pipes, preventing hot water from circulating properly. The system can be cleared with a radiator flush by an expert, and bleeding the radiators. Also, check that the valves are open on the radiator. If the problem persists you need a gas-safe engineer to check the system and fix your cold radiators.
Heating Thermostats & Timers
Your boiler and heating system is probably fitted with one of a large range of different temperature control devices and/or thermostats to manage your heating and hot water demands, from simple analogue timers to smart controls.
- The boiler not Responding to the Thermostat/Timer
If you find you can’t control your boiler using the installed thermostatic control device it’s not only inconvenient but also a chilly problem. The first thing to do is to check that everything’s connected to the power, Wi-Fi, batteries or whatever is required to make it work. Next, make sure the temperature you have set is above the ambient temperature in the room – the boiler won’t kick in if the room is warmer than the set temperature. If you’re still getting no response, call a professional heating expert for help.
- Boiler Timer Faults
An efficient timer on your boiler can save you money in energy bills, making sure your heating system only comes on when you need it the most. Most of the faults that occur with boiler timers are easy to fix. For instance, it could be you haven’t set it properly (refer to your user manual or get some expert advice). You may have forgotten that the clocks changed and if you have an older model boiler you’ll find it a bit chilly in the morning without adjusting the timer. There may have been a power cut that throws time settings out of whack or a boiler fuse may have tripped or blown. If in doubt, call for professional help.
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Be it a straightforward boiler replacement or a bespoke underfloor heating system, Boost Plumbers Bristol would be happy to offer free advice and a free quotation. Boost Plumbing, Local Plumbers Bristol & Bath.