Your boiler is at the heart of your home, working hard to keep you warm and provide you with hot water all year round. That’s why regular boiler maintenance is essential if you want to stay cosy during the cold winter months.
Although you should always employ a professional to service your gas boiler, there are a few simple things you can do yourself to help make sure it stays in top condition.
Here are 10 boiler maintenance tips to keep your boiler running smoothly:
1. Get an annual boiler service
It’s important to arrange an annual boiler service, even if your boiler appears to be working fine. During a service, the Gas Safe registered engineer will identify any faults and ultimately ensure the boiler is running safely and efficiently.
Getting your boiler serviced regularly will help detect issues early, before they become a bigger problem further down the line. The small cost of a service may help to save from a significant cost during a boiler breakdown.
2. Turn your heating on regularly
A great boiler maintenance tip is to turn on your heating at least once a month, even in summer, to keep it running efficiently. This will help to clear the boiler pump of any grit that may gather when it’s not in use.
Turning your central heating on for 10 – 15 minutes every so often (even during spring and summer) can help to keep all the parts moving correctly and minimise the chances of a breakdown.
3. Check the boiler pressure
It’s worth checking your boiler’s pressure gauge to see if it needs topping up. Ideally, you want to see a reading of between one and two bars; anything below one bar is too low and you’ll need to repressurise your boiler.
4. Bleed the radiators
It’s important to check that your radiators are working properly. If they have any cold spots, then it’s likely that there’s air trapped inside. We recommend bleeding your radiators before the cold weather arrives, ensuring your heating system is running efficiently when you need it most.
5. Balance the radiators
Are the radiators which are furthest away from your boiler colder than those which are nearer? If this is the case, you may need to balance the radiators in your home. This isn’t as straightforward as bleeding radiators and you may need to call out a Gas Safe Registered engineer for this particular task.
The process involves adjusting your radiators, ensuring there’s an even distribution of heated water to each radiator in your home.
6. Avoid blockages
Boilers need to be ventilated properly, so make sure there isn’t any clutter surrounding it. Don’t ever cover your gas boiler or block the air vents, and ensure the outside flues aren’t blocked.
7. Look for a blue flame
If your boiler flame is visible, check to see if it’s a strong blue colour. An orange or yellow flame indicates that there’s something wrong and you should call a Gas Safe registered engineer as soon as possible.
8. Prevent your condensate pipe from freezing
When the temperature drops below zero, the external condensate pipe may freeze. This could lead to a blockage, causing your boiler to shut down. However, there are a few ways to prevent this from happening.
If the condensate pipe isn’t already insulated, you can wrap it in some old towels or some foam pipe insulation. It’s also useful to turn up the heating on your boiler thermostat to prevent the production of condensation.
9. Install a carbon monoxide alarm
One way to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning is to install an audible carbon monoxide alarm in your home. If the alarm detects carbon monoxide, it will alert you straight away. Alarms cost approximately £15 – £30 and can be found at most DIY stores.
Install your carbon monoxide alarm at least one meter away from your boiler (ideally within the same room) and you’ll be alerted if your boiler starts to produce carbon monoxide.
Tip: Remember to test your alarm at regular intervals.
10. Leave it to the professionals
If you encounter a serious problem with your boiler, don’t try and fix it yourself – always call a Gas Safe registered engineer who knows how to maintain a boiler system. If you’re worried about gas leaks, take a look at our gas safety tips and contact the National Gas Emergency Service immediately on 0800 111 999.
HomeServe helps life keep moving for over 1.8 million customers throughout the UK. Choose from a range of boiler and heating cover, so you can rely on us to keep your home cosy.