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My boiler isn't working, what should I do?

There’s never really a good time to find out your boiler is on the blink, especially when it’s cold outside. In this guide we’ll explain what your next steps should be when your boiler is acting up and let you know quick fixes you can do until a professional can come out and fix it.

Leaking & dripping


If your boiler is leaking water, we recommend you call an engineer as the most common cause for a leak (or dripping) is a broken internal component.

This may be due to the pressure being too high inside your boiler causing a valve or pump seal to be worn out – unfortunately this means a part will need replacing.

Pilot light has gone out


Your pilot light is a small gas flame that will ignite a more powerful gas burner, to help your boiler heat up quicker - If your pilot light is out then it’s likely stopping the gas supply.

It’s very important that you check there aren’t any issues with the gas supply. If your gas stopcock is turned on but your boiler and gas appliances aren’t working, then you should immediately contact your gas supplier.

If this isn’t the case, you can always try relighting the pilot light yourself by following the instructions inside your boiler manual.

If you’re not handy with relighting pilot lights, then you can always call a Gas Safe engineer to help you out.

No heat or hot water


Check to see if your boiler isn’t working because of an issue with the boiler pressure or thermostat.

Potential causes can be internal components inside the boiler failing. If that’s the case and you can’t get the boiler working, we’d suggest getting a Gas Safe engineer to thoroughly identify the problem & fix it.

Kettling

If your boiler is making a strange bubbling noise (like a boiling kettle) you could have a build-up of sludge in your boiler’s heat exchange – this causes a restriction of water which begins to overheat and steam.

Kettling is a common occurrence in areas with hard water and it causes your boiler to work harder which will often shorten its lifespan unless your boiler is cleaned professionally.

This isn’t a major issue, but we would recommend getting a Gas Safe engineer to flush out the system which will clear out the build-up of sludge and ensure the boiler is working a lot more efficiently.

Low boiler pressure


A quick pressure check is simple to do – just go to your boiler and look at the gauge meter. If your needle is below 1, then you likely have low boiler pressure which is usually caused by a water leak somewhere in your system.

If you can’t find any visible leaks you may be lucky, and it just needs to be repressured – you can do this in about 2 minutes depending on your boiler.

To do this go to your boiler manufacturers website and they’ll have a section on how to repressure your exact boiler.

If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, you can always call a Gas Safe engineer to sort it out.

Frozen condensate pipe


All condensing boilers have a pipe which transports acidic water (caused by waste gas) away from the boiler.

The condensate pipe is usually a 2 cm wide white pipe that leads outside the property into a drain – this pipe is well known for freezing in the winter months.

We’ve created a handy step by step guide to fix your frozen condensate problem.

Our guide is simple to understand, and you shouldn’t need to get a professional involved, this is absolutely something you can do in 5 minutes with immediate results.

Thermostat issues


If your thermostat is either turning your heating on or off when it’s not supposed to – it may be time to invest in a new one.

If you’ve already checked your thermostat is correctly set up and you’ve not recently changed any settings, then your thermostat could think your home is warmer than it is.

To rule out this possibility, try increasing the temperature slightly, if the heating comes on and but says it’s a lot hotter than it actually is, you’ll know the thermostat is experiencing a heating error and a Gas Safe engineer or electrician can sort this out for you.

If that didn’t work, then your thermostat has likely malfunctioned and it’s definitely time to consider a replacement.

Radiators not heating

If only the bottom of the radiator is getting hot you may need to bleed it - bleeding a radiator is a fairly simple process you can do yourself.

If certain radiators aren’t getting hot in your home, then your radiators could need a re-balance. This can be done by yourself as the process involves a simple adjustment of valves on all the radiators - this should help to ensure each radiator is getting enough hot water to work effectively.

If your radiators aren’t heating up at all you may have a build-up of sludge in your system that is preventing the flow of hot water to the radiators.

You’ll need to get in touch with a Gas Safe Engineer to remove the build-up by chemically cleaning your system.

Boiler keeps turning itself off


A boiler that keeps turning itself off could be doing so for many different reasons. For example, it could have low water pressure, a technical issue with your thermostat, lack of water flowing due to a closed valve or the pump not circulating water in the system properly.

We’ve already covered each of these issues above, but if you’re still having issues then you should definitely leave it to a professional and get a Gas Safe Engineer to take a look.

Conclusion

Hopefully this guide will have helped you out, but if you’re experiencing any issues that we’ve not mentioned above, please do get in contact and we will be happy to help. We love this stuff.