A boiler breakdown can be incredibly stressful, so it can be important to keep your cool and navigate the situation with the safety of your family and home in mind. The best thing to do is call out a Gas Safe registered engineer immediately (in fact, it is illegal for you to remove the cover of your boiler yourself), but there are ways to troubleshoot to give them an idea of the issue and how best to approach callout.
What to look out for initially
The most common malfunctions can often be spotted easily, so when issues arise, look for:
- A functional pilot light
- Cold radiators
- Strange noises
- Reduced system pressure
- Issues with the gas supply
Let’s take a closer look.
A functional pilot light
Issues with the pilot light can be one of the first things to look for when a boiler is breaking down. You may find that you have to reignite it manually quite often, but if it is dim, flickering, or presents as orange or pale yellow instead of blue, you should turn your boiler off and call out a professional to identify and repair the fault.
If you find that your radiators are not warming up properly, if at all, there could be a problem with build-up known as sludge. They may also need bleeding. Luckily, both instances are easy to resolve and won’t be too expensive. The process shouldn’t take any longer than 30-60 seconds per radiator to bleed, and sludge-clearing no more than an hour and a half.
While most boilers aren’t necessarily quiet, strange or loud noises can be indicative of a wider issue. If you notice anything unusual, the unit should be turned off immediately and an engineer called.
Reduced system pressure
If your boiler pressure is too high or too low (it should be between 1.5 and 2.5 and easily readable on your unit), you may be experiencing issues with your radiators heating properly, or even overheating. This can be a simple fix for an engineer but could be costing you money, so be sure to get it rectified as soon as possible.
Issues with gas supply
When a boiler begins breaking down, the gas supply is often the last thing homeowners think to look at. If you are noticing issues with your water heating up, maybe it’s taking longer or not coming out hot at all, or if the pilot light goes out, check other gas appliances around your home to see if the general supply has been affected. You could also check if your neighbours are experiencing similar problems. It may be worth contacting your gas supplier to advise you on what to do and to see if they are functioning correctly for the general area.
In all of the above instances, it’s best to call a professional, but you may be tempted to replace your boiler altogether. If this is the case, you may be wondering about new boiler price or even about the general processes involved with boiler installation. Just remember that there will be a whole host of professionals in your area that can assist with both of these, as well as government grants and incentives that can help to lower the costs, so don’t hesitate to reach out.