Your boiler is responsible for providing necessities, such as hot water and heating, that help you to create a comfortable living environment.  Central heating systems themselves and installation costs can be expensive. Maintaining the “health” of your existing system is vital for keeping utility bills at a low cost. Emergency plumbing repairs are also costly as well as inconvenient, especially in the colder months of the year when you rely on your central heating system the most. There are ways to maintain your system to minimise emergency plumbing issues, boiler repairs, and breakdowns.

Here at Origin, we understand the stress that can come with home maintenance. We’ve compiled a list of the best boiler maintenance tips to help you take good care of your system and avoid breakdowns

Boiler Maintenance Tips

1. Annual Boiler Service

Annual boiler services are extremely important for helping to maintain the health and efficiency of your boiler. Even if your boiler appears to be working fine, boiler services can help you identify any future potential problems. During a service, your heating engineer will check all parts and operations of your boiler system to ensure they are running safely and efficiently. Getting your boiler serviced annually will help detect issues before they become a bigger problem further down the line. The small cost of a boiler service could save you a significant amount of money compared to emergency plumbing costs from a boiler breakdown. If you require an annual boiler service, contact Origin today.

2. Turn Your Heating on Regularly

A great boiler maintenance tip is to turn your heating on regularly. Professionals advise turning it on at least once a month, even in the summer. This will help to clear the boiler pump of any grit that may gather whilst it’s not in use. Turning your central heating on for 10 – 15 minutes every so often (even during spring and summer) can help to keep all the parts moving correctly and minimise the chances of a breakdown.

3. Check the Boiler Pressure

It is important to regularly check your boiler’s pressure gauge to see if it needs topping up. Ideally, you want to see a reading of between one and two bars; anything below one bar is too low and you’ll need to repressurise your boiler. You should find instructions on where to find and how to top up your pressure gauge in your systems accompanying manual.

Boiler pressure that is too low will affect the efficiency of your boiler. The recommended pressure reading for a boiler to operate at maximum efficiency is between 1-1.5. There will be a gauge on your boiler which will give you a pressure reading. Your engineer should point this out to you upon or should be pointed out in your system manual. If the reading is too low, you’ll need to use the taps to raise the pressure. It’s advised to aim for the lower end of the scale, as boiler pressure will rise slightly as your system heats itself up. This process should also be explained in your system manual, however, if you’re unsure it’s best to contact a heating engineer.

4. Bleed the Radiators

If air has become trapped in your radiators, it will prevent water from being circulated around your system effectively. If your radiators are warm at the bottom but cold at the top, this is usually a good indication that this has happened. A great way to resolve this issue is to bleed your radiators. You will need a radiator key and a clean cloth or towel to do this.

  1. Turn off your heating. If left on, you may get hot water spraying out of your radiators.
  2. Use the radiator key to turn the valve on the top of your radiator. Attach the key to the groove in the center of the valve and turn anti-clockwise. You should hear a hissing sound as any trapped air escapes from the radiator. Use your cloth to clean any excess water that leaks out.
  3. When the hissing stops and there is only water leaking out, retighten the valve by turning clockwise.
  4. Once these steps are completed and the valves have been tightened, turn your central heating back on.
  5. Check the pressure of your radiators by checking the reading from the gauge on your boiler. Bleeding your radiators can cause the pressure to drop. If the pressure has become too low, you’ll need to top it up. To do this use the lever tap on your boiler.
  6. Check your radiators to make sure they are heating up properly.

5. Balance the Radiators

If the radiators that are furthest away from your boiler are colder than those which are nearer, you may need to balance the radiators in your home. This isn’t as straightforward as bleeding radiators and you may need to call out a Gas Safe Registered engineer for this particular task.

The process involves adjusting your radiators, ensuring there’s an even distribution of heated water to each radiator in your home.

6. Avoid Blockages

Boilers need to be ventilated properly, so make sure there isn’t any clutter surrounding them. Don’t ever cover your gas boiler or block the air vents, and ensure the outside flues aren’t blocked. If your boiler is placed in an airing cupboard that is also used as storage, make sure your system has enough ‘breathing’ space.

7. Look for a Blue Flame

If your boiler flame is visible, check to see if it’s a strong blue colour. An orange or yellow flame indicates that there’s something wrong and you should call a Gas Safe registered engineer as soon as possible.

8. Insulate System Pipes

Water left standing in pipes over the winter months can freeze, causing blockages leading to pipes bursting. Pouring tepid water over the frozen areas can be used to unfreeze and unblock the pipes. However, this can be risky as using water that is too hot can lead to further damage.

A great way to prevent frozen pipes is to insulate them. There is a range of materials and methods that can be used to insulate your system pipes.  Pipes becoming faulty could result in a complete system repiping, which can be costly and time-consuming and not an ideal situation to be in over the winter.

9. Install a Carbon Monoxide Alarm

Protecting your home against carbon monoxide is extremely important. This can easily be monitored by installing an audible carbon monoxide alarm. If the alarm detects carbon monoxide, it will alert you straight away. Alarms cost approximately £15 – £30 and can be found at most DIY stores. Install your carbon monoxide alarm at least one meter away from your boiler (ideally within the same room) and you’ll be alerted if your boiler starts to produce carbon monoxide.

10. Leave it to the professionals

If you encounter a serious problem with your boiler, don’t try and fix it yourself – always call a Gas Safe registered engineer who knows how to maintain a boiler system.

Here at Origin, our engineers are highly qualified and expertly trained. If you’re looking for a boiler installation, service, or emergency plumber in Giffnock, Shawlands, Hamilton, or surrounding Glasgow areas, contact Origin today. We also offer a range of Boiler Cover Plans through our Comfort Club, which will provide you with peace of mind and constant protection should your boiler break down.