5 ways to check your boiler before calling an engineer
Got a broken boiler? Your first instinct may be to panic and call out a gas engineer but let us stop you right there. You see, not all boiler problems require the expertise of an engineer.
You’ll be pleased to hear that minor boiler issues are a common occurrence and many can be fixed, or at the very least, identified yourself, saving you from paying an expensive call-out fee.
To help save you money, we’ve shared 5 ways to check your boiler without calling an engineer.
1. Boiler not firing up for central heating? Check boiler thermostat and timer
Have you recently tripped your electrics or experienced a power cut? If so, it may have confused your boiler thermostat and timer, causing them to reset. If this is the case, although your boiler may seem like it's not working properly, it’s probably just turning your heating on and off at the wrong times.
Check the times on any timers and thermostats you use to make sure they’re correct. You may need to reprogram them if they’ve lost your previous settings.
You will also need to check your room thermostat is set correctly so that it tells your boiler to heat your home at the right temperature. Your room thermostat should be set over 21 degrees or you won’t feel the benefit.
Still having trouble? It may be time to replace your thermostat’s batteries. Most thermostats will require 2x AA or 2x AAA batteries.
2. Is your boiler pressure right?
Another reason why you may be experiencing boiler problems is if the pressure is too low. This is a common problem with combi boilers in particular. Luckily, it’s fairly easy to fix yourself, without expert knowledge.
- Access boiler control panel and examine the pressure gauge or dial
- The pressure should be set at one bar (if it’s any lower, your boiler won’t work properly)
- Increase boiler pressure using the filling loop, located at the bottom of the boiler
- Make sure the boiler is turned off
- Check the ends of the hoses are attached to the valves so there aren’t leaks
- Open the valves and you should hear water filling up the system
- Watch pressure gauge and when it reaches 1.5 close the valves
- Switch boiler back on
If the boiler problem was caused by a lack of pressure, this should solve it.
3. Bleed your radiators
If your radiators don’t appear to be heating up properly or you can feel cold spots, your first thought is likely that your boiler has broken down. The good news is that this probably isn’t the case! The fix could be as simple as bleeding your radiators.
Now, don’t panic, this isn’t as gruesome as it sounds and we’ll walk you through it step by step. All you need is a radiator key and a bucket or towel to catch any dribbles of water.
- Turn off your central heating and allow your radiators to cool
- Insert the radiator key into the radiator valve
- Gently turn it anticlockwise, with a cloth or bucket underneath to catch any water
- You should hear a hissing noise, which will be the air escaping
- Once the water starts to emerge, quickly close the valve
Removing the trapped air from your radiators should enable them to heat up fully, next time your central heating is on.
4. Combi boiler no hot water? Check the diverter valve
Got heating but no hot water? If your central heating is working properly but you’ve not got any hot water, it’s likely there’s a problem with the diverter valve. This is the component on combi boilers that allows them to switch between heating and hot water.
If you’re not getting any hot water from your combi boiler, the valve is likely stuck in the central heating position or has experienced a fault. A sign of this will be if you need to turn your central heating up to its maximum setting before you can get any hot water.
Unfortunately, a boiler not firing up for hot water due to a faulty diverter valve is not something you’ll be able to fix yourself. However, at least you will be able to tell your boiler cover provider or gas engineer exactly what the problem is, for a much quicker fix. If you have boiler cover, you will be able to claim for the cost of the replacement valve and labour on your insurance.
5. No power to boiler? Check your electrics
If there’s no power to your boiler, it's likely experienced some sort of electrical fault. The good news is this is usually easy to fix so you won’t have a broken boiler for long.
One reason there might be no power to your boiler is if a fuse has blown. All boilers are fitted with fuses to prevent electrical surges from damaging internal components. Once the fuse has been changed, you should get power back to your boiler.
If it’s not the fuse, it could be a tripped RCD switch, especially if you’ve had a power cut. Head to your fuse box and see if any of the switches have turned off. Flick them back on and it should restore power to your boiler.
Still having trouble? If you’re on a pay-as-you-go electric meter, it’s worth checking to see if it’s run out of credit. If you haven’t, top it up and voila! Problem solved. If your meter does have credit and your boiler still won’t work, there’s a chance there could be a problem with the meter. Rather than ringing a gas engineer, your best bet is to phone your utility company. Most electric meters are digital so they should be able to resolve the issue over the phone.
Can’t fix your broken boiler?
We’ll send out a qualified gas engineer to fix the problem for you. We’re experts in all-things boiler-related with our care plans, and have experience with a wide range of boiler brands including Vaillant and Worcester Bosch. For more info, give the team a call on 0800 368 9881.