A nightmare for homeowners is discovering that their boiler is not functioning properly or, worse still, completely stopped working. Even if this happens during the summer, having no hot water can make running a household extremely difficult. This is increased further if there are elderly or very young residents.
Most people’s first instinct would be to call an engineer and get the boiler repair done as quickly as possible. In some instances, this may be the right thing to do. There are, however, many occasions where carrying out some essential checks before making a callout could save you time, money and quite a few cold showers.
Before jumping to the conclusion that your boiler is in need of repair or replacement, make sure you have consider these three essential checks – Power, Pilot light and Pressure.
Conducting Your Essential Checks
Checking the Power to Your Boiler
If you find that your heating isn’t turning on, it may simply be that there is no power going to the boiler. This could be due to either someone inadvertently flipping a switch or a tripped fuse that needs replacing or resetting. Check your main circuit breaker as a first step to make sure that everything is as it should be. If your fuses are all in order, and you have a central heating timer, it is also worth checking that it is set correctly.
Is Your Pilot Light Out?
Older boilers have a small flame that is visible through an opening or window in the front of the appliance. This is called the pilot light; it is this flame that ignites the gas to light up the main furnace within the boiler. To keep the pilot light burning, a very small amount of gas is supplied continuously, meaning that there could be a gas leak if the flame goes out for any reason. Because this could have very serious consequences, boilers with pilot lights also feature a sensor that cuts off the gas supply if the light gets extinguished. If your boiler doesn’t appear to be working but is receiving electric power, you should then check the pilot light. If it isn’t on, check the instructions and reignite the pilot light according to the directions.
Checking Your Boiler’s Pressure
For your boiler to operate properly, there needs to be constant water pressure to the system. In most newer combination boiler models, water pressure is maintained by the mains cold water supply through a filling loop. Water pressure within the system can become to low in some circumstances. This will cause the boiler to stop working properly. Low pressure could be due to a leak in the system or even from bleeding your radiators. However, before you contact a boiler repair engineer, check the pressure gauge shows between 1 and 1.5 bar and re-pressurise the system if necessary.