6 Boiler Maintenance tips that could save you money
Boiler breakdowns down can be expensive and inconvenient, especially during the winter months! Good boiler maintenance doesn’t have to be expensive and pays off through better efficiency and a longer lifetime. We take a look at some of the most common issues and offer some handy boiler maintenance tips to save you forking out on costly repairs.
Don’t forget to service your boiler regularlyIn addition to your own boiler maintenance, you should still get it serviced by a professional every once in a while. For more information, including how often and how much it costs, see our boiler servicing guide.
1. Keep your boiler pressure topped up
Boilers lose pressure over their lifespan, which can lead to them to running inefficiently.
The easiest way to see if your boiler is operating at correct pressure levels is to check the pressure gauge and refer to the manual to see if its within manufacturer tolerances.
If you find that pressure is low, the most common solution will be to top up your boiler. However, we advise caution when carrying out boiler maintenance yourself, as it’s easy to damage a key component, the release valve that regulates pressure for the boiler.
A Word On Water PressureKeeping an eye on water level every two weeks or so is a good boiler maintenance habit to keep it in tip-top shape. It should generally be around the 1 or 1.5 bar mark. Having said that, boilers now have an auto-fill safety feature to bring more water to balance it out or shut it off if water is not available. This is definitely better than the alternative - your boiler catching on fire!
2. Look for leaks and test your radiators
Serious boiler faults are often caused by leaks, which is why being able to do a quick boiler maintenance check can help you identify the issue before it gets much worse AND much more costly.
- Steam boiler: Find the leak by turning up the thermostat.
- Boiler Overflow pipe: Water leaking out of this external pipe presages boiler issues.
- Temperature valve leak: often caused by a faulty probe letting temperatures increase out of hand.
- Corrosion: the primary culprit when it comes to older boilers. Both pipes and tanks from this suffer and according to the extent of the damage, can completely write off a boiler.
- Don’t forget to check on the floor around the boiler and around the radiators too!
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Radiators can also be a hassle, especially if you live in an older home. Here are three common issues we’ve noticed:
- Radiator is not warming up: Check that the radiator valve is open. If not turn it clockwise to open up the flow of hot water. If it’s still cold, then a valve replacement is in order.
- The valve has been painted on: It might not be easy to adjust because the paint acts like glue. In that case, your best friend is some lubricant spray, like WD40, and a little elbow grease to get the valve unstuck.
- Radiator does not heat up all the way to the bottom: this is caused by debris or sludge that has built up. In such cases, we recommend a Power Flush.
3. Check your flues
The next of our boiler maintenance tips concerns flues. A boiler flue is a sort of chimney that removes waste gases, created by the boiler, such as carbon dioxide.
If flues are not visible, you should contact a Gas Safe registered technician, who can easily put in an access point. This is not only so that your home complies with recently introduced regulations, but more importantly for your safety.
Flues can corrode or develop leaks over time and this increases the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning due to leaks. Households with flues that go through ceiling gaps or other spaces are particularly vulnerable. Primarily, you will find this type of set up in flats or apartment buildings.
For homes with boilers located on external walls or structures, the good news is you are unlikely to have a hidden flue and all the associated issues. However, flue corrosion remains a problem that affects all boilers, no matter where they are located. For this reason, a flue inspection is still necessary to guarantee that your boiler runs smoothly.
Should you turn your boiler off when going on holiday?While turning your boiler off while you’re away can save energy, whether it’s best to actually do so or not depends on the time of the year. If you’re away during the warmer months, switching your boiler off should do no harm. However, if you turn it off during the winter or a cold snap, the pipes could freeze, which could lead to heating issues and costly repairs on your return.
4. Keep it well ventilated
Don’t forget to check for clutter around your boiler. The space around the boiler is not bonus storage space and if you stuff your spare clothes and knick-knacks the consequences could be dire. Bottom line: Don’t suffocate your boiler! Check the manual for minimum clearance advice.
5. Power flush your pipes
Pipes should always be lagged so that they can winter comfortably along with your boiler. The good news is that conveniently-sized lagging is sold by the meter for less than a cup of coffee.
British Gas and 24/7 Home Rescue are massive fans of power flushing. This boiler maintenance process is the only surefire way to blast away all that rust, debris and gunk that builds up over time.
Power flushing - How often? We recommend you get your boiler comprehensively flushed twice a year. A power flush is essential for homes in hard water areas because it will help to maintain boiler parts in good nick and overall energy efficiency.
6. Regular boiler maintenance doesn't mean you shouldn't invest in breakdown cover
Being vigilant when it comes to boiler maintenance is all well and good. However, it does not replace an annual boiler check by a Gas Safe-registered technician. Just like with everything else in life, having the right person check up your home heating and boiler system gives you peace of mind and saves you money.
We all lead busy lives and it’s easy for preventative maintenance to go by the wayside. An easy way to keep up is to sign up for boiler breakdown cover. Speak to an energy expert by calling 020 3936 0059 or get a free callback now to discover the best deals available to you right now.
Boiler cover generally includes an annual boiler check, as well as parts and labour costs if something needs to get fixed. Knowing that you won’t have to bear the brunt of repair costs alone is its own kind of serenity.