Look after your boiler and your boiler will look after you!
Whether you’ve had your boiler a while or just installed a new one you want it to do its’ job. You want it to keep your house warm and supply you with constant hot water. Ideally you want it to do this in the most efficient, reliable and cost effect way. Yes?
The good news is that it will do all those things but how well it does them is down to you. The better you look after your boiler, the better the performance it will give you.
First and foremost, your boiler needs an annual service to keep it working safely and efficiently. It’s easy to think that if all is working well you can put this off but taking the time to get it checked every 12 months is the best way to keep your boiler working at peak performance. It is also the best way to prevent future problems and breakdowns. As well as servicing the boiler, your engineer will also check for wear, tear and any potential problems, giving you the chance to get them dealt with before they turn into a more expensive emergency repair later.
As part of the annual service your boiler expert will clean the inside of your boiler, clearing the dust and debris that might otherwise cause problems and impair performance. So, whilst you do your bit of keeping the outside of the boiler clean and dust-free your engineer will do the same vital work on the live parts inside!
Another important thing you can do is to check the boiler pressure regularly. If the pressure gauge is reading between 1 and 2, you can be confident that the boiler has the best chance to work efficiently. Below 1 means the pressure is too low so efficiency will be decreased. It is often possible to top up the pressure in your boiler yourself; check the instructions in the manual, or, if you’re not confident of doing it, give your boiler expert a call and they will either talk you through it or come out and do it for you.
At the other end of the scale; a pressure gauge reading above 2.5 is too high and your boiler could develop a leak, risking damage not only to the boiler but also your precious fixtures and fittings so call your boiler expert to come and deal with any excess pressure problems as soon as possible.
Just as important as looking after the boiler itself, is looking after the radiators it feeds as problems that develop in the radiators can influence your boiler’s performance and, in some cases, even risk damaging it. Over time air can get into your heating system and stop your radiators from filling causing cold spots at the top of the radiators. This is simple to fix, you just need to bleed the radiators by opening the valve at the top to let the trapped air escape so hot water can fill all parts of the radiator. This is something you can do yourself but if you’re not confident you can always ask your boiler expert to do it for you.
If rather than at the top, your radiators develop cold spots at the bottom, (or if you notice your boiler is getting noisier) this is most likely to be due to sludge accumulating in your radiators and causing blockages that make it hard for your boiler to run and heat your home efficiently. This is a problem that can only really be dealt with by getting your boiler expert to perform a Powerflush; a deep clean of your entire system using chemicals pumped through it at high speed to break down and flush out the accumulated rust, limescale and other debris. A Powerflush every five years will keep your boiler happy and your system working efficiently.
A poorly maintained boiler and central heating system will be inefficient, cost you more to run, risk expensive repair bills and, in extreme cases, may also lead to carbon monoxide leaks putting your family at risk (good practice would be to have a carbon monoxide detector installed close to the radiator and make sure you test it regularly!).
Regardless of the age of your boiler, regular care and maintenance is the key to keeping it working efficiently, safely and doing what you want it to.