christmas boiler problems and boiler repair
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Christmas nightmares! How to avoid boiler problems. Dec 2022

How To Avoid Boiler Problems At Christmas

Christmas Day, 07:00 AM. The past few months have all been leading up to this, the main event of the winter period. You’ve got your corn-fed, organic turkey taking up most of the space in the fridge, your kids have opened their presents from Father Christmas on your bed over an hour ago, and it’s time to head downstairs to get a festive morning coffee on. And that’s when it hits you. Your house is stone cold. Bewildered, you place your hand on the nearest radiator and…it’s freezing! If this sounds like your idea of a nightmare, read on to learn how you can avoid boiler problems at Christmas!

Breaking down a breakdown

A faulty boiler is at the very least a nuisance, and at worst, a game changing cause of stress and worry. During the Christmas period, where nerves and tensions can already be running high (how have the kids only been on holiday for 2 days?!) a sudden loss of hot water can be the cherry on a very cold cake.

So, to avoid boiler problems and make your life easier, it’s best to carry out some precautionary inspections as well as preventative measures. Let’s get into it.

avoid boiler problems at christmas

Pre-use checks

The best time to check that your central heating and hot water systems are working properly is actually just before you actually need them to be functioning in earnest, as it gives you some time to fix any problems before you start to freeze! With that in mind, it’s a good idea to start the process sometime around November/early December.

The first thing to do is to take a look at your boiler water pressure gauge. It should read, when cold, somewhere around 1 bar, or at the bottom of the green area of the dial. If it is at zero, you’ve most likely got a leak somewhere in your system; this could be

·         in the boiler itself, (look for evidence of leaks such as wet patches or stains under the boiler, mould on the walls, etc),

·         in the radiators, (again, look for wet patches around radiators, mould growth, or rust on the radiator),

·         or within the pipework infrastructure of the central heating system (look for wet patches or listen for hissing).

In some cases, the source of the leak isn’t apparent, and you have no choice but to refill the boiler tank and wait. When refilling, make sure the pressure gauge doesn’t go much higher than 1 bar or the lower area of the green portion of the dial - over-filling it could lead to problems as the water expands when it gets hot, and has nowhere to go.

Once the boiler is pressurised, turn it on. Make sure it hasn’t been deactivated too, which can happen in the event of the gas or electricity supply being interrupted. Switch on all your radiators and turn your thermostat to the maximum temperature.

After about 15 minutes, once it’s warmed up, monitor your radiators and check/listen for leaks, as well as feel for cold spots which could indicate airlocks or build ups of sludge which will need clearing (see our PowerFlush service). Clearing any blockages and debris will also benefit your boiler and the rest of the central heating system - so it’s a good action to take in order to generally avoid boiler problems long term.

Avoid boiler problems through prevention

Naturally, there are steps that you can take to avoid boiler problems over the Christmas period.

For example, if you’re going to be away from home for a while, it’s actually a very good idea to keep your central heating on, on a low setting - just to keep the boiler and radiators ticking over. This will prevent the pipes from freezing over, helping you to avoid boiler problems such as burst pipes - and any associated damage to your property as a result of the exposure to water.

Wrapping your pipes in thermal insulation such as foam or lagging will also prevent them from freezing over. Insulation materials are available from most DIY shops and are easy to install and so represent a very practical way to avoid boiler problems in your home.

Another sensible thing to do is check your water pressure every few weeks, or monthly. As we mentioned earlier, a pressure drop can mean you have a leak somewhere in your central heating system. The sooner you know about it, the sooner it can be rectified - and at a time that is more convenient than during the bathroom rush on Christmas Day!

Similarly, it’s a good idea to inspect your radiators throughout the colder months while your central heating is on, in order to identify any new leaks that may have developed, or airlocks that have made their way around your central heating system. Leaks can occur around bleed valves, connecting dead ends, thermostatic radiator valves, and any associated connections. A tell-tale sign of a leak, beside a damp patch on the floor, is a rusty drip pattern down the side of the radiator, or metalwork that has turned green.

Professional servicing, for peace at Christmas

Finally we come to the most sure-fire way to avoid boiler problems and that is getting your boiler and central heating system professionally serviced - particularly if your boiler is getting on in years where its internal components may be getting worn and degraded.

Here’s what you can expect from our boiler servicing:

●     Full system function check

●     Boiler inspection - we check the key components and ensure the inside of your boiler is cleaned, maximising efficiency

●     Critical components such as the spark probe, burner and flue are inspected

●     Gas pressure is verified

●     Crucial testing to ensure your boiler is operating safely

Once the service is complete, we’ll give you a report evidencing that your boiler has been serviced and tested. We’ll talk you through any pressing information or work that needs to be carried out, giving you peace of mind that your boiler is in safe hands, and working at its’ best.

Silent Night

Christmas comes but once a year- but the build-up seems to last for months, and the hype and preparations soon take over your mind and diary - so preparing your central heating and boiler is often the last thing on anyone’s mind.

Don’t let cold radiators keep you awake at night.  Do the prep work and look after your central heating system, and you can avoid boiler problems easily. Then one thing’s for sure- it’ll only be the bad taste Christmas jumper that’s letting you down at Christmas, not your boiler.

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Adam Dilger
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We offer ground braking reliable heating solutions across the Northwest. With 20 years experience our engineers install, service and maintain your central heating systems. Connect with Adam on LinkedIn >>
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