Five common boiler faults you can fix yourself

Over Christmas you don’t want expensive call-out charges for your boiler when there’s a quick fix you can do yourself. Of course, sometimes you’ll have to face the inevitable and call out an engineer, but this should only be after you’ve checked this list of boiler faults and are confident you’re not throwing money away.

No central heating:
If you’re central heating system won’t turn on, it’s probably because the boiler’s pilot light has switched off. To correct this you should follow the instructions on the inside of the boiler door or in the manual.

  • Be aware that if this isn’t the problem you’re thermostat and timer will need to be thoroughly checked over by a Gas Safety registered engineer.

Leaking pipes:
Leaking pipes need to be fixed immediately before your walls, floor and furnishings get damaged. The problem will probably lie with the overflow pipe and a worn float valve or washer will need replacing.

  • To spot leaks, check ceilings for dark patches and floors for damp areas. In a combi boiler the pressure will drop if there’s a leak.
  • To fix loosened joints, simply turn off the central heating system and tighten the pipes with a spanner or wrench.
  • If there are any cracks or holes in the pipework these will need replacing.

Radiator problems:
If one or more of your radiators are cold, but your central heating system appears to be working, make sure the thermostat valve is fitted and open for water to pass through.

  • If this doesn’t seem to change anything, it could be the lockshield valve at the other end of the radiator. Use a spanner to loosen the valve. Be prepared that your central heating system may require a check-up from an engineer if this is the problem.

Banging noises:
If you can hear noises in the central heating system there could be a blockage or a limescale build up. Before calling out an engineer just check there isn’t a lack of water to the boiler.

Frozen pipes:
This is a very common problem during the winter especially if your pipes lead outside. If the pipes freeze, a blockage could cause the boiler to shutdown, which isn’t what you want over Christmas.

  • The pipe will be frozen where it’s most exposed. This could be at the open end of the pipe or at a bend.
  • To thaw the pipe, pour warm water along the length of the pipe. Repeat the process until it has fully thawed. Don’t use boiling water as this could crack or burst the pipe.

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