Eco Happy (Solar Expert)

Published February 28, 2024

Boiler issues can be a real headache and, if you don’t know much about them, it can be hard to tell what’s wrong. The worst part is that these issues can lead to higher energy bills, costly repairs, and even safety risks.

That’s why we, at Eco Happy, have created this list of 8 simple boiler maintenance tips to help prevent these issues and identify them if they do arise.

1. Regularly Bleed Your Radiators

Top of our list of boiler maintenance tips is bleeding your radiators at least once a year. This removes trapped air within your heating system and allows the radiators to heat up quickly and evenly.

If you don’t bleed your radiators, your boiler has to work harder to heat them up. This puts extra strain on the system and can result in boiler breakdown and reduced longevity. Bleeding them helps your boiler last longer and could reduce your energy bills.

To learn how to bleed a radiator, check out our expert guide.

2. Arrange A Service Every Year

Most people know it’s important, but how often should a boiler be serviced?

Well, you need to arrange a boiler service with a Gas Safe engineer once a year. During your annual boiler service, the Gas Safe registered engineer will check there are no gas or water leaks, and that the boiler is running efficiently and safely.

This means they can fix any minor problems before they get worse, which, when left unattended, can result in costly repairs and replacements.

Your boiler’s warranty is also usually dependent on an annual boiler service. So, make sure you get your boiler serviced every 12 months.

3. Keep An Eye On Boiler Pressure

You must regularly check your boiler’s pressure to ensure it’s running efficiently. If it’s too low, then your boiler system won’t be working at its full capacity. If it’s too high, then leaks may start to develop.

Here’s how to check the pressure:

  • Find your boiler’s pressure gauge. It’s usually underneath the unit, behind the control flap, or near the red (or grey) expansion vessel.
  • If your heating is off, the pressure gauge should be between 1 and 1.5 bars. If it’s on, then it could be as high as 2 bars.
  • If the pressure is below 1 bar, you’ll need to re-pressurise the boiler with a filling loop (or get a Gas Safe engineer to do it for you).
  • If it’s above 2 bars, then you’ll need to bleed your radiators to relieve the pressure.

You may not feel comfortable addressing pressure issues yourself, and that’s perfectly normal. In this case, contact a Gas Safe registered engineer to take a look for you.

4. Feel Your Radiators

One of the easiest but most effective boiler maintenance tips is to feel the tops and bottoms of your radiators with your hands. You might notice that they’re quite cool at the bottom but hot at the top.

This issue is usually caused by an accumulation of magnetic sludge in the bottom of the radiators. The buildup means your boiler can’t circulate hot water around your radiators properly, which can strain it and cause problems further down the line.

The most effective way to resolve this is with a power flush which can be performed by a Gas Safe engineer.

5. Insulate External Pipes

During the winter months, your home’s external pipes are at risk of freezing. When this happens, it causes blockages which can damage your boiler. If your external pipes freeze, it may also cause your boiler system to shut down which is not what you want during the colder months!

To prevent this, you should insulate your pipes using pipe-lagging materials such as:

  • Polyolefin foams
  • Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) rubber
  • Acrylonitrile Butadiene Rubber (NBR)
  • Armaflex Class O Nitrile foam insulation with a self-seal plastic coating

Lagging your external pipes should give them the protection they need to stop them from freezing during cold weather, which is good news for your boiler (and yourself).

6. Balance Your Radiators

To make sure heat is evenly distributed throughout your home you need to check that your radiators are balanced. So, how do you check this?

Well, it’s very simple.

When your heating is on, feel each radiator in your home. If you notice that some are warmer than others, then it probably means your radiators aren’t balanced.

If they’re not balanced, you might be overcompensating by cranking your heating up which can lead to higher energy bills.

But how do you balance radiators?

To rebalance your radiators, you can adjust the radiator valves so there’s an even flow of hot water to each one. However, this can be a relatively complicated process that’s quite hard to get right.

So, it might be best to get a heating engineer to do it for you. If your boiler is due a service, then you can ask the engineer to include this as part of your boiler servicing.

7. Examine The Boiler Flame

Every now and then, you should check the colour of your boiler’s flame. If it’s clear blue, then your boiler is running safely and efficiently. If it’s orange or yellow, your boiler may have some performance issues. It might even mean there’s a safety issue.

If the flame is orange or yellow, arrange for an engineer to inspect it as soon as possible.

8. Check The Overflow Pipe For Dripping

The overflow pipe extends from your boiler to the outside of your home. It removes excess water from your boiling system. If it leaks, it could indicate that the pressure inside the boiler is too high or that the pressure release valve is faulty.

This is why it’s important you regularly check the overflow pipe for dripping. If it is dripping, contact an engineer.

Why Boiler Maintenance Is Important

Here are some of the primary reasons why regular boiler maintenance is so important.

Cost efficiency

By maintaining your boiler, you can help to avoid the need for expensive repairs and replacements. Plus, maintenance ensures the boiler is operating at its best which can reduce energy costs. Read our guide on How to save money on an electric bill for more ways to cut costs.

Safety

Consistently inspecting your boiler helps you identify any issues before they develop into serious problems. This reduces the chance of your boiler posing any safety risks within your home.

Extended lifespan & warranty compliance

Regular maintenance helps to alleviate any unnecessary strain on your boiler which can extend its lifespan. Additionally, most manufacturers require frequent maintenance and services for their warranties to be valid.

FAQs

How much does a boiler service typically cost?

The cost of getting your boiler serviced annually can vary depending on the type of boiler and the service provider. Generally, it costs around £80 to £150.

What are the signs that my boiler needs servicing?

As mentioned, your boiler should be serviced annually. Still, there are some signs to look out for that indicate it needs a service as soon as possible. The most obvious signs are leaks and strange noises coming from the boiler.

Should I leave my heating on low all winter to prevent the boiler from seizing up?

No, modern boilers don’t seize up if you leave them turned off for a prolonged period of time. If you leave your heating on all the time, your energy bills are likely to significantly increase.

Final Thoughts

Boiler maintenance mostly involves inspecting your boiler and radiators to see if there are any issues and then contacting a Gas Safe registered engineer if there are.

However, some issues are fairly easy to resolve yourself such as bleeding your radiators to relieve boiler pressure.

By following the boiler maintenance tips in this guide, you can rest easy knowing your boiler works efficiently and safely for a long time to come. If you’re unsure about any of these tips, contact Eco Happy. We’ll help you ensure your boiler remains in tip-top condition.

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