As a new homeowner, it can be difficult to know if you're doing everything you can to keep the inner workings of your property running smoothly. In this article, Paul Ritchie, Managing Director of All England Gas, shares his top boiler maintenance tips for keeping your home warm and safe.
It's never too early in the year to start thinking about boiler maintenance. Prevention and nipping small issues in the bud early on means that your boiler will be prepared for the chilly weather ahead, and you'll be less likely to suffer from breakdowns or fork out for costly repairs during the coldest months.
With that in mind, you're probably wondering where to start when it comes to boiler maintenance, so, below are my tips for looking after your boiler and fixing some common issues.
Annual boiler service
The best and most important thing you can do for your boiler is to keep up with your annual services. This involves getting a plumber or engineer to come out and look over your boiler, who will test it and address any problems so it's safe to use and unlikely to need any emergency repairs. Failing to organise these checks usually voids the warranty of your boiler as well as any insurance policies you may have taken out, so you'll have to pay for the service, the repairs, and a whole new boiler if things go wrong.
Switch on your heating regularly
There's nothing worse than switching on the heating when the weather turns cold, only to discover that there's a problem. To avoid this, turn on your heating for at least fifteen minutes per month all year round. This will make sure everything runs smoothly, and you can address any issues that arise when they happen instead of getting a nasty surprise when you really need your heating.
Insulate your pipes
You should also insulate your boiler's pipes. Not only will this save you money by conserving heat (and thus energy), but it will also reduce the risk of them freezing and bursting when the temperature plummets in winter. You can buy easy-to-fit thermal wraps or lagging from most hardware retailers and pop them onto your pipes yourself.
Check for warning signs
As well as organising an annual service, you should regularly check your boiler for signs of damage or wear. If you have any concerns or spot any of the issues below, contact a plumber, an engineer, or your boiler care provider as soon as possible as they could be dangerous:
- Leaking or dripping
- Whistling or banging noises
- Pilot light going out
- Boiler switching itself off
- No heat or hot water at all
If you have a gas boiler, you must contact an emergency number immediately if you notice any of the following:
- The smell of gas
- Headaches or nausea when you use your boiler
- Black scorch marks or soot on or around your boiler
- The pilot light is a yellow flame
Bleed your radiators
If you're having issues with your heating or hot water that don't seem immediately dangerous, such as one or more of your radiators failing to warm up properly, it's worth trying a few simple tricks before you call out an engineer. One popular cure-all that could help is to bleed your radiators, which releases trapped air that can affect the pressure of your boiler and its efficiency.
You'll need towels or some shallow containers, as bleeding your radiators involves opening a valve and water could spray or leak from it. Using a radiator key, slowly open the valve enough for air to hiss out. If you don't have your original key, they're readily available in most hardware shops.
Keep the valve open until water starts squirting out, then close it tightly. If this doesn't fix the problems that you're having, contact a plumber or engineer to get them sorted safely.
Why these boiler maintenance tips are important to remember
The tips in this guide can help you feel confident when it comes to maintaining the boiler in your new property. By keeping on top of regular checks and knowing a few tricks to keep your boiler running smoothly, you can keep your family warm and cosy in your new home.