Heating season is fast approaching, and with it the dreaded boiler breakdowns. In preparation for this, we have put together an expert boiler switch on guide, where we reveal our top five tips for ensuring a smooth boiler switch on and what to look out for to avoid any boiler breakdowns induced by wear and tear. Boiler Switch On Day (18th October) is recognised as the most popular day for switching on well-rested heating systems as the warmer summer months come to a close.
How to prepare for switching the heating on
We have compiled our top five tips to follow when preparing for Boiler Switch On Day so you can be ready to heat your home efficiently and safely to stay warm once the colder months approach.
Service your boiler
Servicing your boiler is an important part of boiler maintenance. A service makes sure your boiler is running efficiently and safely, and will bring any potential problems to the attention of a professional. Your boiler service will take around an hour to complete, which may mean you won’t have access to hot water during this time so be prepared! Without regular services, your warranty will not stand, which means if your boiler does break down as a result of wear and tear, you could be left forking out £1000s on a new boiler that might have otherwise been covered under warranty. We recommend getting your boiler serviced annually, and it’s a good idea to book in another service for a year's time whilst you are getting your current one to make sure it doesn’t slip your mind. Just remember to make a note of it so you don’t forget twelve months down the line!
Gradually switch the heating on
If your heating is usually off for a long period of time, you should plan to switch it on at least once or twice a month. This can prevent the build up of grime, dust and other debris which can cause pipe corrosion and boiler breakdown. Following this tip will also give you the opportunity to detect any problems with your boiler before the time comes when you need to start using it more regularly - after all, it’s better to realise your boiler is faulty or broken in summer than winter!
Don’t turn the heat up too fast
Turn the heat up on your boiler gradually, as having a boiler on too high will waste money and high amounts of energy. Try turning your heating up just one degree at a time until you reach a temperature that feels right for you. Our recommended temperature for most homes is between 18 and 21 degrees.
If you notice the heat isn’t circulating the whole radiator evenly, it probably means it needs bleeding. This is especially important if your heating has been off for a long period of time, as trapped air could have built up. If you don’t bleed your radiators, you will be wasting money and energy as your heating system won’t be running efficiently. We recommend that you bleed your radiators annually, even if they seem to be working just fine. Armed with your trusted radiator key and the knowledge on how to bleed a radiator, you can easily remove any trapped air yourself and avoid those nasty call out fees!
Get a smart thermostat
We highly recommend investing in a smart thermostat so you can control your heating on the go. Our Halo smart thermostat allows you to control your heating from your phone, meaning you can control your heating efficiently. Being able to control your heating even when you are out of the house takes unnecessary strain off your boiler whilst saving money and energy. A smart thermostat drastically limits heat wastage and increases energy efficiency.
Common boiler issues to look out for
Boiler breakdowns are not something we plan for, but unfortunately can happen from time to time. We have compiled a list of common boiler problems that can be easily detected and - if spotted early on - can limit money and energy waste, prevent a boiler breakdown and even save your life!
Low boiler pressure
The pressure should be between 1 - 2 on the pressure gauge, anything below 1 is considered low pressure and can mean the boiler won’t fire up properly. Having low pressure won’t necessarily cause damage to the boiler, but it can cause you to waste money and lowers your boiler’s energy efficiency.
Though a fairly common issue, you may ask what is kettling? If you hear popping, bubbling or whistling - basically sounds which remind you of a kettle - coming from your boiler, this could mean there is a buildup of grime and limescale inside the boiler’s heat exchanger. It’s a good idea to get familiar with the sound of your boiler, especially if it’s tucked away in a cupboard as you could miss easy warning signs!
Gas leaks are a home emergency. If you smell gas - call a professional immediately! Corrosion, wear and tear and damage during installation can be a common cause of a gas leak. Gas leaks can be extremely dangerous and very important to look out for as we prepare to use our boilers more regularly.
Carbon Monoxide Leak
Another deadly gas leak to look out for. This time it’s colourless, odourless and tasteless, so can be very difficult to detect. Common signs that indicate a carbon monoxide leak include your boiler struggling to stay alight, dark staining on gas appliances and condensation on windows. We recommend installing a carbon monoxide detector in every room that contains a fuel-burning appliance. Carbon monoxide in the home can lead to serious long-term health problems and can even be fatal. If you think your boiler is leaking carbon monoxide, switch off the mains, evacuate the premises immediately and call a heating engineer.
Water leaking from a boiler is a common issue that can be caused by a number of problems - the most common being pressure issues, cracks and loose joints. The water inside your boiler is heated to around 70 degrees, so leaking water can be a dangerous burn hazard. Even if the leaking water is cold, this can act as a dangerous slip hazard on laminate flooring. It’s important to look out for water leaks and call out a professional to fix it.