Following on from our last article on the most common causes of boiler breakdowns, we thought we'd offer a few simple tricks that you can do at home throughout the year to make sure your boiler stays as fit as possible and runs smoothly through the winter.
1. Turn The Heating On In The Summer
Now don't get us wrong, we don't want you to heat your house throughout the summer. That would be a total waste of energy, not to mention, you'd probably be a little warm. No, what we mean is, because your boiler is essentially off for months over the summer, it's possible the pipes could either seize up or there can be a build up of dust and debris that will stop the boiler working as efficiently when you finally do need it. So, just pop the heating on once a month during the summer, just for long enough to check that it's working, and then turn it back off.
2. Get Ready In Autumn
As autumn arrives and the temperatures begin to fall slightly, you should bleed all the radiators in your home. Over the summer, it's very likely that there will have been a build up of air in the system, which has remained mainly unused during these months. Bleeding the radiators now will mean that your heating system will work more efficiently when you need it and will heat your house up when it gets cold.
Bleeding a radiator is simple enough to do. Make sure the heating is turned off, then use a radiator key to turn the radiator's bleed valve anticlockwise until you can hear air escaping. Once water starts coming through, close the valve. If your radiator is still cold at the bottom, then you may have a build up of debris in the system and a powerflush may be required.
3. Be Gentle When Starting To Use Your Boiler Again
Once it gets cold, it may be tempting to just turn the heating way up and sit there all toasty warm, but it's not so great for your boiler. When the cold weather arrives, start by setting your boiler on a lower temperature and heat the house through. You can turn the temperature up later if you need to. This will mean the boiler won't have to work as hard all in one go and all of a sudden, having been off for some time.
4. Make Sure Your Condensate Pipe Is Ready
Condensing boilers have a condensate pipe attached to them, which gets rid of all the waste water from the boiler. These go to the outside, where there is little or no protection for them from the cold. If they do get too cold then these pipes can freeze and burst, ultimately stopping the boiler from working. It's definitely worth investing in some lagging for around the external parts of the pipe to prevent them from getting too cold.
If you do happen to get a frozen condensate pipe and this stops your boiler from working, then try pouring warm (not boiling) water over the pipe to thaw it and then try restarting your boiler. If that doesn't work then don't fiddle with it any more. It's time to call us in.
5. Regular Boiler Servicing
Yes, we know we go on and on about having your boiler serviced regularly, but that's because doing this really does prevent a host of potential problems AND makes everything run more efficiently. And, don't forget, your warranty will require regular servicing for it to remain valid and, if you're a landlord, then you legally have to have your boiler serviced each year and get a certificate from a certified Gas Safe engineer to prove this.
If you're having problems with your boiler or just need to book in your annual service, then call the Leeva Plumbing team on (01773) 749 713 to get booked in.