Things happen. Boilers break. Like a car, no matter how well you look after your boiler, things can wear out with regular usage and you don’t always appreciate it until it’s gone.

You are soon reminded how important it is when the house is cold and you have no hot water!

Common Boiler Problems

Even if it’s not a complete breakdown, small problems can soon build into big issues, so what should you be looking out for, and when do you need to call in the professionals?

Water Leaks

Although it can seem like the most dramatic problem, a water leak is usually a minor issue that is easily fixed – if caught early.  Broken seals and superficial holes are simple to repair, but if left too long the water can corrode important things, or damage the electrics, so it is always worth getting your boiler checked out as soon as you notice any water leaks.

Low or High Water Pressure

Boilers heat up water to run around your radiators and warm your home.  This water needs to be kept at just the right pressure to make sure the system runs efficiently.  If it drops too low, the boiler usually stops working and will display an error message. You can check the pressure and adjust it yourself, but if it drops again, or you find yourself having to top it up or reduce it frequently, you need to contact an engineer as it could be the sign of a bigger problem.

Funny Noises

All boilers make noises, that’s normal, but bubbling or whistling (like a kettle), rattling, or banging are not normal and could be the sign of something more sinister.  From trapped air to limescale build-up, there are lots of causes and an engineer will be able to figure out the problem and solve it for you.

Radiator Faults

If your radiators aren’t as warm as they used to be or there are cold patches, don’t rush out to buy new radiators as the problem might be in your boiler.  If you’ve tried removing trapped air by bleeding the radiators the cause may be dirt and sludge build-up in your system.  An engineer can flush the system for you and get your radiators back to working for you again.

Boiler Ignoring your Thermostat

If your boiler is ignoring the timing or temperature choices you so carefully set on your thermostat, it can cause you a headache, but it’s usually a simple fix.  Before you do anything drastic, be sure to check the batteries, and see if the clock is showing the correct time – those are the two most likely culprits!

No Hot Water, or No Heating, or No Nothing!

If your boiler is older, a common fault is the diverter valve failing.  This stops the boiler from being able to switch between delivering hot water, and heating the radiators.  If you have one but not the other, this is likely to be the issue.

Another issue common with older boilers is the pilot light going out.  This could be caused by anything from draughts to carbon deposits, and because it’s so key to the gas supply and keeping you safe, it’s time to call out an engineer.

Modern boilers don’t have pilot lights, and ignite electronically, so if you have a newer boiler and it won’t turn on, then the issue is more likely to be an electrical one.

Remember, only run checks on your boiler that are simple with no risk.  Don’t take the front off your boiler or touch anything inside as it could be extremely dangerous.  If in doubt, call in a professional.