How to Keep Your Boiler Healthy/Working Efficiently

By now, thousands of homeowners up and down the UK have already had to make emergency calls to Gas Safe companies like ourselves, to get their home heating and hot water back up and running. Before the end of winter, thousands more will have had to do the same. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

It’s not easy to estimate how much various types of homes cost to heat, the variables such as home insulation, number of occupants, temperature settings, efficiency, age of boiler etc., all have a bearing. What we do know, however, is that a modern boiler is more efficient than an older one, and a well maintained heating system is cheaper to run than one which has been ignored. So, to help you get the best value for money from your heating system, we’ve put together this article on how to keep your boiler working efficiently, and what you can do to keep your central heating operating as economically as possible.

An annual boiler service

Think of your pride and joy. If your car isn’t regularly serviced, it begins to use more fuel, becomes less reliable, and will eventually break-down. Leading to recovery and repair bills far in excess of what that regular maintenance and service would have cost.

Just like your car’s service, gas boiler maintenance should be viewed as an investment, not an unwanted annual expense. Especially so, if your boiler is over ten years old. An investment in improved reliability, more efficient operation, lower energy bills, and minimum call-out costs.

As a long established plumbing, heating, and electrical company, all our gas-safe engineers are trained to be 100% transparent with our customers. During your boiler’s service, it will receive a comprehensive check and clean of all relevant parts, be checked for gas and carbon-monoxide leaks, and you will be shown any suspect parts, told what they do, and why the engineer is concerned. Once the service is satisfactorily completed, the engineer will sign it off, and provide you a certificate of service.

Keeping your heating system running efficiently

Having a regularly serviced boiler goes a long way to ensuring you have a trouble free, warm winter. But there are a number of things you can carry out yourself should the need arise, rather than calling out a heating engineer. If you’ve mislaid your boiler’s maintenance manual, make a note of the make and model of the boiler, do a Google search, and download and print off the manual. If your boiler has a digital read-out, the manual will tell you what all the symbols, error codes, and numbers mean, and how to rectify a number of faults. For certain DIY tasks, it will also tell you how to undertake them, and what settings or pressures you will need.

Boiler operating pressure

The engineer fitting a new boiler or servicing an older boiler will check the operating pressure and adjust as necessary. There are however situations where the pressure may drop for no apparent reason. This can often be caused by a system leak (radiators, pipework, or thermostats), or by the water company shutting down supply to work on the mains. Your boiler manual will tell you how to re-pressure the system and what the settings are.

Checking your heating system

There’s little point in knowing how to keep your boiler working efficiently (regular servicing), if the rest of the system, radiators and thermostats, is neglected. Although we at P. Blackhall are more than happy to undertake a full system inspection when servicing your boiler; with a little DIY savvy, it is a job you can easily do yourself.

With the system up and running, check the radiators in every room. If they are cold at the bottom and warm at the top, the chances are they have an airlock. Each radiator has a bleed valve fitted. Loosen the valve and the air will escape. As soon as water begins to dribble out of the valve tighten it back up. Repeat with all radiators upstairs and down.

Water leaks from radiators, thermostats, or connections are usually quickly noticed. If it’s a radiator or thermostat it probably needs replacing. If it’s a pipework connection, a little extra tightness, with the emphasis on the little, will often remedy the problem.

Finally, if your home heating system is a little antiquated, just upgrading radiator thermostats or adding digital room thermostats, can make a big difference to its efficiency and economical operation.

If you feel it’s time your poor neglected boiler had a little TLC, or indeed if you have any other queries or concerns regarding any aspect of your heating system, please contact P Blackhall today.

Call us at 0131 378 6168. We look forward to hearing from you!

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