Summertime probably isn’t the time of year when you think about your boiler a lot, but the truth is, keeping your boiler in good condition during the warmer months will save you running into common boiler issues when the temperatures begin to drop. In fact, boilers that have been poorly maintained throughout the year are usually the ones that will have problems during the winter months when they are suddenly kick-started back into action.
Your boiler is one of the most essential parts of your home, particularly during the winter months when you need it to keep the temperature just right and heat up water when you need it. Proper boiler maintenance carried out throughout the summer and into autumn will not only help you save money over the winter, but it could potentially save your life. Boilers that are not maintained correctly can become faulty, and faulty boilers can quickly become a health hazard or even prove fatal. Here’s what you can do before the winter months to make sure that your boiler is in the best condition.
#1. Get Good Boiler Cover:
First of all, you should make sure that your boiler has a good level of cover. The right boiler cover will ensure that you have peace of mind knowing that if anything does go wrong, all you’ll need to do is make a call and a professional will be with you shortly to repair your boiler, or even provide you with a replacement if one is needed. It’s always worth paying more for boiler cover as you never know when you are going to need it, and it’s better to be covered for the maximum amount, so that you don’t have to worry about the cost of paying towards expensive repairs or replacement. Bear in mind that most boiler cover policies will require you to keep your boiler well-maintained and in good condition in order to remain covered. One company worth looking into who offer a range of affordable plans is Certi – they have Value+ cover which you can get for as little as £4.95 a month as well as premium plans which cover you on a range of home emergencies.
#2. Have an Annual Service:
Getting your boiler serviced annually is one of the best things that you can do for it, and will help it continue running in tip top condition. Having it serviced by a skilled Gas Safe engineer is essential, as they will be able to make sure that it is running both safely and efficiently by making adjustments to how the boiler is running. The engineer will check that all the main components of the boiler are working correctly, in addition to giving any accessible areas a clean. You can find some levels of boiler cover that come with an annual service included; this is ideal as you won’t need to worry about remembering to book and pay for your service each year. September is one of the best months to have your boiler serviced, in preparation for the winter months ahead.
#3. Bleed Your Radiators:
If you’ve just moved into your home or have been away for the property for a while, it’s a good idea to let your boiler run for a bit after you first turn it on. The reason for this is because there is often air in the radiators; an easy way to tell this is if the radiator is hot at the bottom and cold at the top. To resolve this issue, you should bleed your radiators. You will need to have an old cloth and a radiator key to hand. Cover the carpets with a plastic sheet to protect them in the event of leaking, and place the radiator key in the valve before gently turning it clockwise for a quarter of a turn, whilst holding the cloth underneath in order to catch any escaping water. As the air comes out of the radiator, you’ll hear a hissing noise. After a while, the hissing should stop and you will see water beginning to come out of the radiator. Catch any excess water using the cloth and turn the radiator key to close the valve. Your radiator should now be hot all the way up to the top.
#4. Checking the Boiler Pressure:
Boiler pressure can indicate a range of things about your home’s heating system, so it’s a good idea to get into the habit of checking it on a regular basis. Once your boiler is switched on and working correctly, you should check the pressure to ensure that it is running to the manufacturer’s recommended specifications. If the pressure is low, then you will need to top it up. This is something that you can do by yourself or, if you are unsure of this, you can get a Gas Safe engineer or trained plumber to do it for you. If you need to re-pressurise your boiler, you should ensure that you go through all the steps very carefully as it can be easy to damage the pressure release valve; an extremely important part of the boiler. If this part does become damaged, you shouldn’t try to repair it yourself – call a Gas Safe engineer to deal with the problem.
#5. Checking for Leaks and Dripping:
Dripping water and leaks around your boiler can indicate a serious problem with how it is running, and if left unchecked, they can lead to even more dangerous problems. If there is water coming from the overflow pipe, which is located outside of your property, then this could signify a problem with the boiler. Typically, this can indicate that there is a fault with the pressure release valve, which could be a result of overfilling the boiler, or simply due to general wear and tear over time. If you’ve noticed dripping from the overflow pipe, then you’ll need to call a Gas Safe engineer to resolve the problem.
#6. Check the Ventilation:
Finally, boilers need to have adequate space around them in order to be properly ventilated. Clutter building up around your boiler can reduce the ventilation, so it’s important to make sure that wherever your boiler is in your home, it is free from clutter and unnecessary items. Any shoes, bags, coat, kitchen essentials, or towels – depending on where the boiler is in your home – will need to be moved out of the way to ensure that the boiler can ‘breathe’. If your boiler is housed in a box or wooden panels, then it’s important to make sure that it is accessible with a proper access panel, so that it can be properly maintained. There will be strict requirements that you can find more information on in your manufacturer’s handbook.
Last but not least – if you think that there is a problem with your boiler, then it’s a wise idea to avoid trying to repair it yourself, instead leaving it to the experts. This is just one of the reasons why it’s so important to have the right level of boiler cover, so that you are able to access professional help with your boiler whenever necessary. Always ensure that anybody who carries out maintenance, servicing or repair work on your boiler is Gas Safe registered. You can do this by asking the engineer to show their Gas Safe card and check that the dates are correct for the year. For further validation, you can call Gas Safe to check that the number is valid.