We rely on our boilers for heating and for hot water, and if your boiler breaks down it can leave your house in chaos. A problem with your hot water pump can occur at any time, but most boiler problems are seen in the winter, when the heating has been switched on after the summer. Some boiler problems are easily fixed by the homeowner; others require the services of a trained heating engineer. Here are six of the most common problems encountered by households from the experts at Anchor Pumps but if you’re still not sure what the problem is, the best route to take is to call in the professionals.
1: Strange Noises
It can be quite alarming to hear hissing, banging or gurgling coming from your system, let alone whistling noises! Again, there can be several reasons behind the strange noises you hear. It’s possible that there is air in your system or that the water pressure is low. It might also mean that your heating pump is going to fail. It may be “kettling” – a build-up of limescale in the heat exchanger which restricts the flow of water and so causes the water to overheat and sound like a kettle boiling over.
2: Leaking and Dripping
Firstly, you should never try to mend a leaking boiler by yourself. This is one time that you should always call in a specialist. There are several issues which can cause a boiler to leak. The most common is a broken seal or pressure valve. Leaks around the pipes or tanks may be caused by corrosion or a poor initial installation.
3: No Heat or Hot Water
There are quite a few reasons why your system stops providing you with the heat or hot water. This could be from valve failure, a faulty thermostat, a broken diaphragm or airlock or low water levels. The first thing to check is that your thermostat is working. An old or faulty thermostat can be inaccurate or can switch the heating on or off at the most inconvenient times. If you think you may need a part repairing or replacing, you should always call out a Gas Safe registered engineer to do the work safely. If some radiators are not heating up properly, your system may need balancing or bleeding. You can bleed radiators yourself if you feel confident in doing so, but a trained engineer will be happy to do the job for you if you’re not to ensure your hot water pumps are working properly.
4: The Pilot Light Has Gone Out
If your pilot light goes out, you should first of all check that there are no issues with your gas supply. If your other appliances are fine, then you should try to relight the pilot light by following the instructions in your owner’s manual. Often this will do the trick. If it doesn’t, however, or the pilot light keeps on going out, you may have a build-up of deposit, a broken thermo couple or a really inconvenient draught. Again, it’s now best if you call in a professional.
5: Your Boiler Loses Pressure
Your boiler will have a pressure gauge which is easily readable. If the pressure gauge reads below one, you may very well have a problem with the pressure in your system. This could be a water leak, a faulty pressure valve or the result of bleeding your radiators. Check for a leak in your system, and if you find one, you should call in an engineer. If you don’t find one, you can de-pressurise your system, following the instructions in the owner’s manual – but only if you feel confident you can do this. Otherwise, it’s time for the Gas Safe registered engineer.
6: Frozen Condensate Drainage Pipe
Condensing boilers have a pipe which takes waste water away and which is often situated outside. If this freezes, it will need thawing. There are tutorials available online for thawing a frozen condensate pipe, but you do have the option to call a Gas Safe registered engineer if you don’t feel happy doing it yourself.