Preparing your boiler for winter
When winter time rolls around, your boiler will be hard at work to keep your home warm and comfortable. Summer is the perfect opportunity to start preparing your boiler for those cold months ahead. Some checks and TLC could be the difference between a boiler breakdown in the middle of winter and a fully functioning boiler. In this article, we will advise you on some steps you could take before winter arrives.
Check your radiators
To begin, you should switch on your heating as normal. Once your home is fully heated, you can start to check each of your radiators for cold spots, which is normally caused by trapped air. If you feel that your radiator is cold towards the bottom, you may have to bleed them to remove this trapped air. We have provided a guide on how to bleed your radiators here.
Cold spots may be just the beginning of a wider range of issues. If your heating system isn’t properly maintained, you could be faced with a build-up of sludge, which can cause poor performance and damage pipes in the process. The build-up of sludge is associated with cold spots on radiators and can inevitably lead to a boiler breakdown. Therefore, it is important to fix these issues as soon as possible by power flushing your heating system. You can find out more on the benefits of a power flush and how it works here.
Service your boiler
An annual boiler service conducted by a Gas Safe engineer is crucial to ensure your boiler is in full working order. The engineer will start by checking the components of your boiler for any faults or wear. They will also look at your heating system to see if there are any obvious signs of damaged radiators and pipework. You are usually required to book an annual boiler service to keep your manufacturer’s warranty valid. At Hometree, all of our engineers are Gas Safe registered and will not only service your boiler, but we also remind you when you need your annual service to stay within your warranty.
Insulate your pipes
The increasingly low temperatures in the winter months could cause any standing water in your pipework to freeze. It’s important to use the months before winter to ensure all your pipework is insulated. The last thing you want is any unwanted frost to form on your pipework! You do have the option to keep your heating on a constant low temperature but this does raise your energy costs. If you are aware of frozen water in your pipework, a short-term solution is to defrost them with a hairdryer or with hot water poured onto the pipes directly.
Fit a carbon monoxide alarm
This is more safety related but incredibly important. Carbon monoxide is best known as the “silent killer” due to its tasteless and odourless nature. If carbon monoxide was to leak without an alarm, you could experience hangover-like symptoms and potentially lose consciousness. Even in small amounts over an extended time-period carbon monoxide can be a danger to your health. In the winter months ahead, you’ll be using your boiler more than any other time of year so we would recommend you buy one immediately. Please be aware that your standard smoke detector will not detect a carbon monoxide leak.
If you’d like to learn more about the symptoms and dangers of carbon monoxide leaks, you can find more information here. You can purchase a carbon monoxide detector from as low as £15 - £25.
Check your boiler pressure
If your boiler pressure drops, you could suffer from a loss of hot water in your home. Your boiler’s pressure should always stay within the green zone on its pressure gauge once your system is switched on. To avoid a pressure drop, it’s recommended that you check and use the filling link/loop, and bleed your radiators if the pressure is too high. You may experience lower efficiency levels if your pressure is too low.
If your boiler pressure is constantly dropping or increasing, you can seek advice from one of our Gas Safe registered heating engineers. More information on boiler pressure can be found here.