A Guide to Boiler Maintenance from Mr Central Heating.
In a changing world of technology it is more evident that things are becoming too complicated or too cheap to fix. The latter is definitely true with regards to boiler maintenance and there are also regulations to consider.
The boilers of today are highly efficient, technologically advanced and hugely reliable. This does not mean that you can afford to neglect something that you rely on every day for heating and hot water. Another reason to keep your boiler serviced and in working order is to maintain the overall efficiency of the central heating system, which can help with your energy bills.
Mr Central Heating loves boilers and it is our bread and butter. So we find it strange, that after all the effort, time and money that goes into finding and fitting a boiler, why more people do not look at their boiler more often with an annual service.
There is not a lack of great tradesman and Mr Central Heating has a perfect database to search and find the perfect plumber or heating engineer for a boiler service.
So with all this in mind what can we do to make sure that the boiler is maintained with simple, uncomplicated, non-technical procedures to kept it in tip top condition?
When it comes to boiler maintenance tips, the first is simple and should be possible by anyone – GO AND TAKE A LOOK AT IT! Yes that is it just have a good look around at its top, bottom, front and sides. Have a look to see if there are any leaks, any rust or corrosion appearing around the heating system.
Please also make a note of the serial number, model and output, as this is vital for any diagnosis. Also while you are looking, do something that is even easier, LISTEN.
This all may seem a bit condescending but it is amazing how many people never ever look at their boiler. Listening to the boiler when it is on will give you an idea of how quietly it is working. If there are clunking, gurgling and generally seriously unusual sounds coming out of it then you may need to investigate further as this could indicate a faulty boiler and you may need to call out a boiler engineer and make some boiler repairs.
So far the bit of boiler maintenance that you have performed is easy!
For combination (combi-boilers) and system boilers which are ones with instantaneous hot water, pressurised circuits and systems that do not have water storage there is a lot more that you need to do on a regular basis because due to the way they work they are more involved.
This is no reason to not choose one and actually there is less to go wrong with a combination boiler but all the components are pre-assembled and contained with the appliance. System boilers use an expansion vessel within the boiler to allow for a closed system and works in conjunction with an indirect cylinder.
Maintaining boiler pressure with a sealed heating circuit is indicated by the pressure gauge and if you consult any user guide then you will see it needs to be between 1.0bar and 1.5bar depending on what the manufacturers suggests. So if you have not looked at your boiler for a will and see the pressure is below this then find the filler loop and top it up.
Remember water expands so if the system is cold then just be careful on how much you put in.
For conventional boilers all the components are outside of the appliance so you would also need to look, listen and note down anything strange with not only the boiler but the pump, motorized valve or hot water cylinder. By the way the boiler in the airing cupboard is the cylinder as this is often a common mistake.
The UK is quite strange in its terminology and systems because we have had influence from Europe and the US and have over the years adopted bits from each and also adapted what suited us better in the smaller terraced or urbanised society that makes up this glorious country.
If your pump is making a strange noise then you can vent it through the front of the unit where you will see a coin slot. Open it gently and let any air out like you would do with a radiator, this hopefully will stop the noise and make for a better running system.
In any system you have one of the main problems is air and getting this out of the system via the radiators or pump can make the difference between a system lasting for well over 10 years or going wrong constantly.
Check for cold areas
Regularly checking your radiators for cold spots and boilers and pumps for noise is an indicator of air and it is a simple maintenance task that will improve your system. Air causes corrosion and boilers to lock out and debris to build up which again ruins heat exchangers.
One way to reduce the call out cost for a qualified engineer is to pay for heating cover. This is a type of breakdown cover that you pay on-going to ensure that if a faulty boiler occurs then they will be fixed as a part of the policy.
If you are unsure with anything please feel free to give us a call at Mr Central Heating, there is not a lot that we have not heard over the years and are always ready to help with a boiler breakdown.