A problematic boiler can be troublesome at the very least and create family chaos at worst. There’s a range of issues which can affect one and whilst it’s always wise to reach out to a professional if you aren’t sure what to do or if it includes work such as electrics, there can be occasions where a little DIY knowledge will solve the problem.
Boiler issues DIY guide
Boiler pressure too low
On the front of the boiler you’ll find a water pressure indicator display dial. If the reading is less than 1, you have low pressure. Turn off your boiler and locate the filling loop underneath it. Open the boiler valve and listen – you will hear the system filling with water. At the same time, watch the dial and when it reaches 1.5, close the valve and turn the boiler back on.
Cold radiators may mean trapped air in the system rather than a boiler problem. Use a radiator key on the valve and very slowly turn anti-clockwise. There’ll be a hissing noise which is the air leaving the system – as soon as this stops, tighten the valve with the key.
System reset or pilot light relight
Have a look in the boiler manual for where the reset button is located and press as guided – often for 10 seconds. Boilers before 2004 usually have a pilot light so if it’s gone out, follow your user manual instructions to try to relight it.
Problems where you need to call a qualified engineer
If the quick fixes don’t work, you’re not confident enough to do the job yourself or it’s another issue, speak to a qualified boiler engineer. It’s certainly time to speak to a professional if you are experiencing any of these nasty niggles.
Boiler leaks or is dripping
There’s a number of reasons this can happen; pressure issues, damage to the water seals or maybe cracks due to age and use. If this is happening, only a qualified engineer can help and you should call for assistance.
Pilot light repeatedly goes out
If a pilot light doesn’t stay lit after following the instructions in the manual, it could be because there’s dirt in the line, a damaged thermocouple or an ignition part which needs replacing. These are all jobs for a qualified professional as they will need to run tests and inspect the parts inside.
No heating or hot water
Perhaps one of the first reasons you’ll know there’s a problem; a cold bath and the radiators refuse to warm even if you’ve bled them. A complete loss of both heating and hot water could be due to a variety of issues such as a broken airlock or perhaps a valve which has failed. Whilst perhaps it may turn out to be something simple, only an engineer should do the work.
Knocking or banging
A noisy boiler can sound scary but with the help of an engineer it can quickly be sorted. You’ll probably think that the boiler sounds like a kettle boiling and the term used is ‘kettling’. The issues include air in the system, sludge and limescale which has formed over time and a knocking sound could indicate a failing pump.
Even if you have your boiler serviced regularly, a break down can happen at any time. With winter approaching, nobody wants to feel the chill so keep your user manual somewhere handy and know who to contact if trouble strikes.